Being the appreciator of all things artsy, I’ve recently been thinking about certain artists whose music I follow extensively. One of the traits of certain hip hop artists in particular is the rate at which they release new material. Whether in the form of albums or mixtapes, there are certain artists who seem to always be on the move, so to speak, in a creative sense. I do not suggest that this is limited to only those within the sphere of hip hop, but from my experience artists within this space seem to create new material at the most rapid pace on average.
Looking at my own creative pursuits, I’ve always had a bit of a problem when it comes to creating new things.
I find that I’d always generate ideas at a fast rate, oftentimes many different ideas burst in a flurry at any given moment. And while I used to try and note all those ideas down to execute on at a later point, the simple truth is 99% of the time I never action any of the ideas if I write them down. It’s as if I write them down to willingly forget them.
So I thought I’d explore ways in which I’ve attempted to rectify this issue over the past few years of my life, to try and bring the proportion of ideas-generated-to-ideas-executed into a more balanced equilibrium.
The problem as I see it lies entirely within the execution phase. Ideas are generated all the time by everyone. I’ve heard countless accounts from people who talk about the many ideas that they have for what they may want to create one day. And they all are always great ideas which, if were executed fully, would be an amazing addition to the world. But, most of the time, it never happens.
I italicized the word ‘may’ as therein lies both the problem at the solution (as I see it from my experience – who am I to say that this is the true solution?).
Why the word ‘may’ is the issue is that the word puts a faraway, detached framing around the idea and potential creation. It’s always something that lies embedded within the ether of our thoughts, and we always push it away telling ourselves that it will always be there to be actioned one day.
But we all know that that day never comes.
The key is to pluck this creation out of the ether and bring it into the realm of a tangible reality and thereby converting it into an attainable creation. How is this done?
You write out a solid plan and timeline from where you are right now at this very moment, to the point at which your idea has attained full & complete manifestation.
The act of putting the steps to creation down on paper (or on an excel spreadsheet, whichever floats your boat) makes it a tangible reality for you to action. The creation itself on the face of it may seem like such a massive goal to achieve that it could overwhelm the individual that generated the idea, but through the act of breaking that overall goal into smaller phases, and assimilating steps within each phase, you thereby place benchmarks and tangible goals to achieve which are within your reach of achievement. Then the overall goal no longer is a big arbitrary thing you want to achieve, it’s a series of easy steps that you can very well execute on.
The other arm to the above, and is quite crucial, is placing temporal constraints on the plan. In this act you turn your plan from being a static series of steps into a project with an end goal and a timeframe within which you want to achieve it.
The very act of saying to yourself: “I want to get X done by X o clock” is a very powerful auto-suggestive tool that quite simply can work wonders for productivity on all levels.
Lastly, and most important of all, you must now execute.
Not for a second am I egotistical enough to assume that you, handsome reader, are entirely convinced of my above method. The more astute of you will have already started questioning the method, and inevitably the question of actually getting down and doing the stuff will still be floating around your heads (I can see the question floating above your head right now as you read).
For everything that I’ve mentioned above serves only the purpose of laying the blueprint for what you are about to do – it is one big plan, and that’s all. Just a plan. If you are anything like me, planning is just another way to trick yourself into thinking you’re being productive while deep down you know you’re not actually getting jack shit done. Net output still equals zero.
I’m not saying that planning is useless, far from it, but the lazy amongst us use planning to procrastinate from doing the actual work. It’s a fine balance that must be continually monitored and fine-tuned depending on context and task at hand.
I don’t have a complex answer to how to actually get shit done. But I do have a simple answer. It may not work for everyone, but it has certainly worked for me. And like I’ve mentioned plenty of times in previous posts, all I can really do is share my experience in the hope that one of you readers finds something that brings light to an issue that you’re currently facing.
My hack to getting shit done? In the poetic words of the great Shia LeBeouf: just do it.
Don’t think about it. Don’t contemplate the pros and cons of the action you’re about to take. Don’t worry about whether that individual will say ‘yes’ or harshly reject your romantic advance. Don’t give into that wish to stay in bed just that second longer. Don’t think about whether or not the bar you’re squatting will be so heavy that it snaps your body clean in half. Don’t think about what other people may think of you as a result of you performing this action.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, that is ok. But summon the courage to push yourself off the edge so that you force yourself into a situation where you either have to rapidly learn how to do it through sheer survival instinct, or fail. And within the grand scheme of things, what is the harm in failing? Failure is and has always been the wisest teacher; relied on on countless occasions throughout the ages.
Just do it.
The second you give into those ancillary thoughts is the second that you’ve lost your opportunity to get ahead.
And it only takes a second. When you start to entertain those thoughts – within that split second you’ve already lost the game.
In that instant you’ve committed yourself to always having too many ideas and not getting anything done.
I wish you all the best and hope that some part of my egotistical rambling has helped you in some way, shape or form to do what it is you want to achieve in this weird & wonderful life.
P.S: No part of the above article is in any way associated with Nike or intended to be.
P.S.S: This happened to me once:
Me at an ice cream parlour: “yes can I also have more sprinkles on my cone please”
Team member: “you already have a lot of sprinkles on-“
Me: “just do it, thanks”
Team member, grinning: “can’t argue with a man that knows what he wants”
…and that’s how you get extra sprinkles on your ice cream. #gettingshitdonearoundhere