While waiting for my car to be worked on, I recorded a video talking about trying to stay productive doing creative work. I go over various things to avoid and ways to split up work to get it done. Let’s talk about being an effective creative!
1. TRY TO AVOID WHAT YOU KNOW YOU ARE WEAK AGAINST (EASIER SAID THAN DONE…)
It’s easy to burn through hours on things you enjoy that are more consumer focused, but are not especially helpful to being a creator. In my case I watch a lot of YouTube content. It’s definitely easy to spend too much time doing that. The same for video games. At least in my case I’ve been good about removing most of that. Figure out consumer focused time is taking a lot of your day and work on limiting it.
2. SPLIT PROJECTS INTO DAYS BASED ON TYPE OF WORK
I’ve found it helpful to break up video projects into pieces. One day I might write up production notes on a few videos. Another day I might do the filming for one or two videos. Then I’d split up the editing into one or more days. You don’t need to to one project from start to finish in one go.
3. SWITCH OFF TO SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT TO STAY SANE
Doing one task over and over again can get old fast. Most videos I produce have a similar workflow that consists of pre-production, writing, filming, and editing. Breaking away from that for a while is a good way to come back fresh. Besides videos, I like writing and doing computer related stuff. Sometimes it still works with my general goals like writing a book about photography. I’m talking about staying in the creative mindset but not specifically doing your usual work.
4. EXERCISE (SOMETHING… ANYTHING… AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER)
Physical movement is a good thing. With video and photo editing you can spend hours and hours on a computer. Stepping away can help your time on the computer be more efficient. An added benefit is when I go out to film a photography video because that allows me to get exercise and produce content.
5. CREATING WITH A PURPOSE IS CYCLICAL
Getting out there to create in turn helps form purpose. Wanting to create forms a reason to get out there. Figure out how to balance and work off of both sides.
6. HAVING LIMITED RESOURCES CAN BE A GOOD CREATIVE EXERCISE (HA, AT LEAST THAT’S WHAT I TELL MYSELF)
A lot of my content focuses in some way on the technical. People like gear videos and I’m generally okay making that type of content. The challenge comes with getting access to devices that people might find interesting. Without a large following, it’s difficult to gain access to a lot besides buying it or renting, both of which don’t add up from a cost standpoint. Working with limitations is a good exercise to make unique content. It helps you think “outside the box”. Take a step back to come up with ideas that will be fun to produce and entertain your viewers. It doesn’t have to be the same video formula on the latest hyped gadget.
7. TRY TO AVOID THINGS THAT CAN DAMAGE YOUR MOTIVATION AND EMBRACE THINGS THAT HELP
Looking at the numbers tends to damage my motivation rather than help it. The same is true for bad comments. There isn’t much to be gained from the negativity. I respond to a lot of my comments. By default, the YouTube admin interface shows the latest comments without responses. Because of how frequently I respond to comments I often see the bad comments that I don’t respond to. It gets old seeing that negative stuff over and over again. The issue is that I want to respond to people that deserve it, so I have to wade through the negativity time and time again. If my channel grows, this will become less of an issue due to sheer volume (well… there would be more negative comments, but more positive ones I can focus on as well).
8. TRY TO PUT CREATING AHEAD OF FEEDBACK (LET ME REFRESH THE STATS A FEW MORE TIMES…)
Looking at performance statistics can be fun, but it doesn’t help much in the long run. Like any human, I enjoy positive feedback. So I end up checking thing too often. It’s a habit I need to work on.
9. SOMETIMES DRASTIC CHANGE CAN BE GOOD TO CHANGE PERSPECTIVE AND FIND BALANCE
With the virus outbreak, I needed to change the way I dealt with lunchtime. I’ve been managing to come up with simple meals that don’t take a lot of time to prepare. Before the outbreak, I had fast food a lot. Nearly everyday. I will admit that it’s not a great idea from a health and cost perspective, but there is the added benefit of getting out while getting food. I was able to take a break, get out, and eat at the same time. Looking forward, I’m going to try to balance this better so I don’t take one method to the extreme.
10. FIND EQUIPMENT THAT FACILITATES YOUR CREATIVITY AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE
Tools are important, to a point. When you learn more you start to understand what features and functions best help to achieve your goals. In my case having something small and convenient is a big benefit to getting out there to do recording. With a photography video I usually need two cameras. One for the photo taking and one for the filming of myself taking photos. Lately I’ve been experimenting with a DJI Osmo Action camera that is used as the camera to film myself. It’s isn’t perfectly ideal because I end up bring an external recorder plus lapel microphone instead of the second camera, bit I still can save on space and I get the benefit of very stable hand-held footage when I want it. Anyways, the point is to look for tools that can make what you are trying to do a smooth a process as possible. The goal is to find tools that get out of your way.
11. BREAK WORK INTO SMALL PIECES AND START ON ONE
Starting is the most difficult part. I think it’s a property of our reality. We need to build monument. Shifting your mindset into starting is a huge benefit. Take some type of action even if it’s as small as writing a single sentence in a production document. Keep adding to it. Every little action builds up on the work and the motivation to complete it. With that, capitalize on any motivation you have in the moment. That one spark of motivation can be enough to get out there to record footage or start the edit.