I wrote an email to friend today updating him on what I’m working on. I counted 12 different film or TV projects at different stages of development. Some of these will come off, some of them will undoubtedly fail or fall by the wayside. But, sometimes feeling like I’m taking on too much, I like to stay occupied and I like to stay stimulated.
It’s not just me as well. If you check out some of the film industry’s most successful people’s IMDB Pro accounts (Spielberg, del Toro, Chegwin), it’s amazing to see how many things they have going at once. But so much of the film industry is a waiting game so the only solution is to keep spinning plates. I’m sure it’s the same with successful businessmen. Of course, starting projects can become a compulsion. It’s the poisoned apple of being self-employed.
However, one thing that’s essential to success is focus. Having lots of things on the go is fine as long as you focus your time and energy on them each individually. If you neglect them then pretty soon the spinning plates will smash to the floor. Focus is much more important than just having good ideas. What is it they say… 99% perspiration, 1% inspiration? Are you one of the 99%?
I’ve read a couple of articles recently on the growing trends of our generation to label themselves as “busy”. This NY Times one raised some interesting points, and questioned how much of this “busyness” is actually an illusion.
I see a lot of truth in that. With the internet and so many distractions at our finger tips, our brains operate at a level of constant arousal, which can cause us to feel mentally stressed and then relate this to considering ourselves as busy. I know that if I analysed how much of my time I spend in front of a computer I’m actually working productively vs. how much time I spent on distractions such as checking email, then I’d probably be pretty embarrassed. I know I create “work” for myself by opening sites without even thinking sometimes.
In contrast to that, in the recent Woody Allen documentary the great man reveals he’s written all of his scripts on one typewriter. No facebook for him. No breaks to check if anyone’s “liked” his latest witty status about death. He has also had an amazingly productive career producing over 40 films in close to as many years.
Sometimes I wonder if Shakespeare had been on Twitter, would he have written so many plays? One things for sure, they would have probably been pretty different. I mean Romeo probably would have just poked and then proceeded to facebook message Juliet and avoid any mix-up. Macbeth might have been called Macbook. Othello would probably have realised Iago wasn’t that trustworthy by his lack of Linked In recommendations.
There’d also certainly be a lot less mystery surrounding old Shakey’s identity, and his plays would lose something of their charm,
“Yeah Othello is great and everything. But did you read therealbard69’s tweet? He likes ‘Greensleaves’!”
I often wonder why I feel the need to share my photos, thoughts and projects with the world before they are finished. I keep busy by talking about my own busyness. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. And yet I still do it. Even writing this, I’m thinking, how can I share this with my facebook friends? If I post it tonight, the UK will be in bed and I won’t get as many hits. Are my twitter and facebook accounts linked? And meanwhile, while I’m writing all this, the 12 projects remain untouched.
However, the desire to share our thoughts and ideas with the world has always been there. When we post things to facebook or blog about them, this is motivated by a desire for connection and a desire for acceptance. It is also, ironically, that same desire that stimulates creative projects. In fact, expressing ourselves through a status update or a tweet is just another form of creativity. So it is no wonder that we find ourselves drawn to that medium. We get instant feedback, and some form of gratification.
So where do you draw the line? How do you remain productive and also embrace modern ways of expressing ourselves?
I think the answer comes back to focus. The times that I feel most stressed and tell people I’m “busy” is when I’m unmindfully checking sites and refreshing pages, knowing deep down that I’m not being productive. But if my actions come from a place of conscious creation then it surely can’t be a bad thing? Can it? Let me just write a status about it and then get back to you on that…