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One Thing at a Time

So it’s been a few weeks since I sat down to write. I’ve been in rehearsals for Sherlock and multi-tasking my way through my life and my projects. In the light of all of the ‘important stuff’ I had to do blogging seemed to continually get pushed to the ‘do-it-tomorrow’ list. This not only makes me feel like a bit of a failure in that I can’t seem to commit to a weekly writing practice, but it also creates guilt which seems to compound the ‘not writing’ problem.

Have you ever not realised that you have a lot going on because of the fact that you have a lot going on? This seems to be my reality at the moment. A new work colleague asked me in a text the other day what I was up to and as I hit send and saw my lengthy reply to his query I somewhat overwhelmed myself. In seeing my message there was initially a sense of pride in being a freelance director involved with lots of exciting projects. However, that quickly shifted to a feeling of guilt and fear that I might be inadvertently dropping metaphorical balls and ‘half-assing’ things because of the demands on my time. These feelings, I have come to learn, are reminders to me that it’s time to stop and take stock so that I can ensure that those 'balls' remain successfully in the air…and that is exactly what I did.

So yesterday was a long overdue admin day. Catching up on emails, organising receipts, updating my whiteboard with the current demands/actions that each of my projects requires very quickly brought me a sense of ease. This also seemed to break the inertia that was setting in, jumpstarting me in the process. What it also did was get me to consider the productivity of multi-tasking vs. single-tasking.

My instinct is to have all of my projects in the air /on the go/ open at once and to be dipping in and out of them as and when they call to me. What I’ve learned about me is this is a sure fire recipe for increasing my stress and fuelling the fires of a negative outlook on my work and the world. It’s been a slow process but I have been gently easing my way into ‘single-tasking’; offering my time to my projects on a one-to-one basis thus removing the distraction of my other projects (i.e.: I’m not responding to emails about Shakespeare VR, or checking texts etc. whilst I’m ensconced in writing this blog post). Giving my work and creative endeavours specific, distraction free time means that I can properly invest and get lost in an individual project which always makes me feel better and (almost without exception) makes my results stronger.

And to this end I’m also trying to single task with friends, colleagues and even strangers. I have made a point over the last year of keeping my phone out of sight during meetings and have largely been successful in this effort. If I’ve agreed to meet with you I owe you my presence and my attention. I’ve found that this has actually meant that those that I meet with keep their phones at bay as well and this has been hugely beneficial to both my work and personal life.

So this is a long-winded way of say that I’m structuring my days now with single-tasking in mind and this should mean that blogging consistency is maintained. It will also mean that my efforts will contribute to a positive feedback loop, and I’ll hopefully be able to stay reasonably clear of guilt and negativity. These two interlopers never serve any of us well. Blogging task complete… now onto script work for Re-orientation… More on that next week.

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