Hi Film Folk!
The Film Doctor Team welcomes another excitingly busy, aka, productive week. What’s in store for you these next few days?
We all know that constantly creating/developing/refining is exhausting, if not impossible. Every now and again we all have our ‘brain dead’ moments. Unfortunately, quite often these moments come right when they are least acceptable – on the eve of a big deadline/while preparing for an important presentation/in the middle of a film shoot, etc.
Well, The Film Doctor says almost every ‘shutdown’ is recoverable. Here are just 5 simple tips to help you fight procrastination, “writer’s block” and missed deadlines.
1. “Change of Scenery” – Sometimes all it takes to unleash those “creative juices” is finding the right working environment. If you’re a freelancer, there’s nothing easier than picking up your laptop and moving about – co-working spaces, libraries, public halls… the world’s your oyster. And what better excuse to visit that favourite cafe of yours? A recent research by US scientists suggests that coffee shops provide something more in addition to the stimulating caffeine – the right level of background noise to, apparently, “trigger the brain to think abstractly, and thus generate creative ideas.” The Film Doctor Team may also suggest that cafes can be inspirational places due to the collective energy levels of the visitors and the conversations/stories you could sometimes overhear (great for writers!)
If you’re working from an office (with a designated desk and all), try refreshing your immediate surroundings every so often. As recommended by Araceli Camargo of The Cube London (“a neurochemically primed coworking space”), few simple things like, e.g. adding a particular dash of colour / amount of light, can do wonders for ‘unlocking’ just the right parts of your brain. At conception stage and need to come up with loads of ideas? Try simulating a sunny environment – brighter lights, something yellow – it’s supposed to release the “Pleasure Hormone” Dopamine, which boosts motivation and divergent thinking (i.e creativity). Time to focus and edit everything down? It’s the domain of serotonin then – try looking at pictures of green forests or get a desk plant.
2. “Keep me post-it” – Ideas suddenly came through? Or have multiple tasks to handle? In other words, a scenario in which you’ve got too many things popping up in your mind and you need to remember all of them. Well, don’t let those thoughts slip away – stick a good old post-it note on your computer’s monitor. That way you can a). keep on top of things without interrupting your workflow (just scribble down and carry on) and b). have the constant visual reminder.
3. “Get your priorities right” – Often, our productivity levels suffer because we simply have too much on our plates and don’t know how to prioritise. Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and First Things First had developed something extremely useful, called Time Management Matrix:
As illustrated above, you divide your list of tasks in 4 categories – Important Urgent, Important Not Urgent, Not Important Urgent, Not Important Not Urgent. The quadrant of Important Urgent is for tasks that need to be dealt with immediately. The quadrant of Important Not Urgent is for items that do not require your immediate attention and need to be planned for. This quadrant is highlighted because Covey emphasizes this is the quadrant that we should focus on for long-term achievement of goals. Then, in the third quadrant are the Not Important Urgent items – which are usually consistent of things like “just catching up” phone calls or “cigarette break invites” from colleagues. Acting upon anything in this quadrant should be reduced to minimum. Lastly quadrant four is reserved for anything that doesn’t have to be done anytime soon, perhaps adds little-to-no value and also should be minimised or eliminated. These are often trivial time wasters (playing online poker, watching YouTube videos, perusing Pinterest – you name it), which prolong our procrastination spells.
Writing it all out like that gives you an ‘at-a-glance’ perspective on the things filling up your time, which helps then sift through and act on only what’s really necessary.
4. “Get physical” – As scientifically established, exercise bolsters the process of neurogenesis, or birth of new neurons – and neurons is what gets us to maintain healthy brains. More neurons generated and put to good use, more thinking power so to speak. So alternate mental work with physical activities, to boost that idea generation and development. Whether it’s an hour at the gym, a walk in the park or intense high street shopping spree, getting limbs stretched activates and ‘exercises’ countless neurons, as well as sparks better blood circulation (which then transports oxygen more evenly, feeding the brain cells as well). So don’t force yourself to spend hours on end glued to the laptop.
5. “Disconnect” – Simply turn off every mobile device and log out from every online media account you’ve got. The biggest distraction we’ve created for ourselves is the immediate access to information, in all shapes and sizes. Keeping an eye of people’s Twitter feeds or clicking to ‘Read More’ on news links may help you stay up to date with rest, but it takes away at least 30% of the attention you should be paying to your work. So when you really need those solid few hours of productivity, disconnect from the Net and turn off your phone. Now, once you’ve left the world of others, you can start creating some exciting worlds of your own.
‘Monday Prescription’ No. 27 – You can achieve a lot in 24 hours (including sleep). Just organise your workflow properly and learn to maintain healthy ‘brain activity’ levels.Join us on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and sign up to our emails on the right hand side for articles straight to your inbox. Any questions/thoughts/experiences of your own??? Leave a comment below! Have a great week! The Film Doctor Team Check out our previous MONDAY PRESCRIPTIONS
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