When You Think of a Task, Do It
When you think of a task, do it as it occurs to you.
Here’s the logic behind this thought. There are going to be more things that you are going to need to do per day by a factor of a number with more zeroes than I know how to pronounce, and I can last until about a kajillion. (Or was that bazillion?) Anyway, lots. And lots. And a lot of them are just bits of things that you need to do to keep momentum towards making your wild idea come to life.
Your piles of ‘to do’ stuff are just going to keep getting higher, and you’re going to reach a moment when you’re not going to remember everything that is swirling. Even if you’re a compulsive note taker and list maker.
So, if you look at something and think, “I’ll get back to this later,” one of two things are going to happen. You’re going to forget it, and have to scramble to catch up. Or you’re going to come back to it later and then expend twice the energy on it because you’ve now had to touch it twice. It’s now taken twice the brain cells than it should have, twice the lift. You could have spent that time/energy on something else. Maybe the next step to getting towards your wild idea. Or napping.
Obviously, for bigger tasks, this doesn’t always work. But if it’s small and it’s quick and it’s doable, just get it done. Get it out of your way, don’t think about it too hard, and then you’ve only had to touch it once.
Beyond the Prosaic and Pragmatic
Beyond that, though, there is a bigger question of flow and energy. There’s a kind of empowerment that happens when you can plow through your big list. So much in creating a new venture is enormous and amorphous. YYou’ll spend a lot of your time dancing between hope, despair, certainty, and intimate relationships with your own failings.
It’s a funny thing, that dance, because it can take over and become the only dance we’re doing, instead of the one with actually going after our wild ideas. Clever beasts, doubts and fears…
I discovered this particular dynamic when I was writing my dissertation. Rolling out of bed as the sun was rising, before I was even fully awake, I would climb into the words and into the intellectual argument. Writing would start before my conscious mind had a chance to remind me that I didn’t have a clue as to what I was doing and convince me that there was no way I could ever put together thoughts that were worthy of a doctorate. I wrote most of my dissertation in this place.
As I moved into creating Spillian, that same early morning momentum carried me through most days – anything that I can unfold and check off that magic list early in the day, I do it. Especially pedestrian things like emails, other flotsam. I live in a fair amount of clutter much of the time. (I am suspicious of those who live in pristinely neat universes… I’m not sure they’re often actually doing much other than making sure their universe is pristinely neat. This is, of course, another version of the wrong dance taking over.) But the clutter of Gottado’s can keep me weighted down and unable to soar.
A Rare Case for Delayed Gratification
I am also, in many ways, not a good little delayed gratification person. The earnest weight of the oh-so-righteous holding the best until last doesn’t sit particularly well in my psyche. I’m inclined to eat the ice cream, if not first, early enough in the game that I still want it.
But getting the little Gottado’s vanquished in the day allows me to revel in the ideas and work that really feed me and the project. I can savor the ice cream of the ideas AND have a glow of self-righteousness. I think that cancels any calories… When you think of a task, just do it.