Friday, April 15, 2011


These days, I'm barely hanging on.

My friends and family tell me that it's because I've taken too much upon myself. I'm overcommitted. I have too much on my plate (isn't that a strikingly overused metaphor?) 

But that's not it. The real problem is that I keep forgetting that freedom is only possible through obedience and discipline. Consider the following: budgeting facilitates savings and financial peace of mind; obeying the law prevents fines, jail time, and all sorts of other unsavory things; time management prevents those who effectively do it from losing their time. 

It's that last that's hardest.

We really need to enslave ourselves. I mean each of us, individually. Are you in control of what you do with your time? I haven't been, lately. In an effort to initiate some accountability for myself, here's an outline of what works for me when I'm disciplined enough to do it:
  • I have two Moleskine notebooks
    • The big one is for a daily log of events (no touchy-feely journaling for me)
    • The little one is for whatever. Ideas, tasks, recipes, directions, doodling
  • I'm a recent initiate into the club of Macbook Pro owners, and now I'd be lost without it:
    • I use Gmail's "Tasks," which can be organized by due-date and synced with
    • Google Calendar, which I also use
  • In the morning: 
    • I record the previous day's events (bulleted) in the big Moleskine
    • I review any goals I've set
    • I go through my master task list and pick out the ones I want/need to get done that day
  • On Sundays:
    • I review what I did and failed to do the previous week
    • I make goals for the upcoming week
    • I populate my master task list as thoroughly as I can

None of this is particularly difficult. It requires setting a reasonable sleep schedule, so that I have enough time in the morning to do this stuff justice. But it is personal enslavement, or, my effort to force myself to work for me in the manner and time I dictate. 

Why do so many artists starve? Is it because the world doesn't appreciate them? Is it because God sees fit to abuse them? Is it because they enjoy the torment of failure?
Of course not. It's because this whole planning, goal setting, task list making stuff is anathema to most artistic personalities. Discipline is hard, and many artists (myself included) are naturally lazy. We're dreamers, not doers. We get caught up in trivial things because we find beauty in them, or because deep down we're terrified of what true success demands. 

Success in any field requires a certain level of self-starting, and this is abundantly true with filmmaking. Rarely will anyone be telling you what to do and when to do it. You have to go out and do stuff on your own. You have to be your own boss, which is awesome, and intensely difficult. 

What do you do to enslave yourself? What do you wish you did? What can you commit, today, to do to better use your time and achieve some of the things you've been dreaming about? Please, share your thoughts in the comments below.

1 comment:

  1. Naturally I'm curious about where you found that word, 自律 or じりつ、which means, as you know, "autonomy" in English. You never pay any attention when I try to share 日本語with you and then you post a word I have to look up!

    Anyway, tip for the day which I learned years ago as a waitress: never go anywhere w/o carrying something with you that needs to be moved. Saves an amazing amount of time and keeps things at home, office, or wherever, much tidier.


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