Productivity tip of the week

Eighteen months of work, hours of advice from many people, oodles of detail and my current project was just all so big that I was regularly derailed by it. I can’t tell you exactly what it is yet but at this stage the job was just to apply for Arts Council funding to get a project done.

The good thing is that I started the process bewildered and now I know we’ve got a strong application, I know that I did it as well as we could. One bad thing is that you obviously never know whether the bid will be successful. But even if it fails, the process taught me a gigantic amount. So that’s good. What’s really bad is that at this crucial point, I was derailed again. Knocked off the productivity train of mixed metaphors. And once you’re off, it is stunningly hard to get back on.

Yesterday at 10am, though, I set a timer on my iPhone for one hour. No way to finish the job in an hour, not even a chance of making a good enough dent. But at least I’d be doing something, I’d be inching along instead of panicking about it all the time like it was a dental appointment.

Do this for me. Do an hour. Whatever it is that is pressing on you, just take the next hour and work on it. Even if that is all you do, you are better off doing that than worrying about it. You are certain to feel better for being even an hour further along with it. And, not to scare you here, but I didn’t stop at the end of my hour. Five hours later, I’d done the application completely. I actually had finished the job. Well, it’s now with my partners on the project, it’s not submitted to Arts Council England yet, but I feel pretty fantastic.

One hour turned me from wanting to run away from this thing into wanting to do more. So try it. Just an hour. Okay?

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