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Have you taken the 2016 Artistic/Creative Project Survey? Have you share it with your friends? Please and thank you :)
If you do anything as intensely as Will Smith does everything, you're in good shape. 
Focus. 

Many people who took the Highwater Creative Project Survey said that finding time to focus, deciding what to focus on, and getting into a focused state is one of their main challenges.

I was reluctant to write about this one because I may be the most easily distracted person alive. I maintain that if Twitter had been around when I was in college, I would have never finished. 

Having said that, I have found some tricks that help me focus, and if they work for me, they should work for anyone.

1) Play video game music while you work

You can find scores for video games on YouTube. The logic behind this is that video game music is designed to keep the player in a state of alert focus. I find that it also helps me enter the state of flow (Csikszentmihalyi), that place where challenge and ability are perfectly met, and time flies. 

2) Start with the most tangible result

When launching a product or project, there are many components that require attention. Emails to send, calls to make, research to do. All of these kinds of tasks are necessary, but without a task that yields a tangible result, you won't feel accomplished and you won't stay focused. 

For example, if you are trying to write a book, you may be tempted to stop writing to look up a quote. Maybe you want to look up self-publishing articles or start finding book cover designers. Having the actual book, even a draft that you find embarrassing, will do more for your project than having all the other pieces in place. You want to write a book, so the most tangible result to start with is a rough draft of your book.

3) Track the time you spend on everything, including your projects

I use Toggl for this because it has both an app and web interface, and it has a reporting feature. When I say track everything, I mean it: The time you spend driving, eating, 9-to-5 work, and even procrastinating. Also track the time you spend on your creative projects.

A shot from one of my time tracking reports: 



Whenever you think you don't have time, looking at the time you spend on everything but your project will make it real. When I don't track my time and I see massive empty spaces in my time tracking report, it becomes even more real. 

4) Schedule time to faff around

Faff= Waste time. Some people call it "productive procrastination" but if it does not contribute directly to the completion of your project (not how you're going to market or distribute it either, but getting it DONE) it is a waste of time. And that's fine. Just like you are hopefully scheduling time for project work, schedule time to fritter, faff or whatever you want to call it. Limit this time to 30 minutes though. 

How do you stay focus? Reply back or hit me on Twitter with the hashtag #HWFocus. 

Wishing you a mind like water, 
Chakka AKA Pookie Howser, M.D. 
Highwater Weekly Picks 

Toolbox
 
  • Anyone who needs to make a break for themselves: Katherine Emmer is an actress. She wasn't getting any roles, so she made a movie. She didn't want to be a director or writer but she did want she had to do. Her story is inspiring and her tips are practical. (Huffington Post)
  • Filmmakers: The UK’s National Film and Television School (NFTS) has partnered with the British Film Institute (BFI) to lift the lid on how to make great films, with a FREE six- week course that started this week. Check it out
Playlist
  • BJ the Chicago Kid put out his first LP this week, In My Mind. Check out the album, but also check out the extended tribute he made to commemorate the anniversary of D'Angelo's Untitled. It's also pretty NSFW. (SoundCloud)
  • Azealia Banks took a break from beefing with (insert popular artist here) and put out a single this week. It is soooo good. I need her to keep making dope shit and leave Twitter alone. (SoundCloud)
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