measured approach

I am in the midst of several commissions at the moment and one of them has a fairly tight deadline. In the past, I would have freaked out and said to myself “do as much work every day as possible!” and probably felt crunched for time every single day and disappointed at my lack of progress for which I set my expectations too high.

That gets tiring.

You’d think after this many years I could come up with a different approach. Well, I have! A friend recently reminded me of a technique I have used off and on: using music to measure time. In other words, I will commit to working for the duration of an album or two. The other tactic I am employing is to list all of the steps I need to perform in order to finish the piece. As a chronic list-maker, I’ve done this before. But this time, I scheduled the steps for each of the days I have remaining. Now, each day has a goal, and I work for an album at a time (40-60 minutes). Between albums, I take a break, which ensures that I give my eyes, shoulders, and hands a little time out. The daily milestone means I can go to bed knowing I accomplished what I was supposed to for the day and that I am right on schedule to meet my deadline.

Today was day two of the schedule and I even managed to work ahead a little. So far I am enjoying the measured approach. I need to keep this up and complete the project by the 18th. Oh, and here was today’s playlist, if you’re interested:

XTC – Apple Venus, Vol. 1
Steve Winwood – Back in the Highlife
Radiohead – The Bends
Frank Zappa & The Mothers of Invention – One Size Fits All