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110: Starter List and a 90-Minute Timer.
People have said, the hardest part about creative work, is just starting.
Once we do get started, most of us can do about 90 minutes of focused work before quality starts to drop.
Sometimes you can spend a lot of time in front of a screen, canvas, whatever and not ever get into that focused work mode.
The legitimate reason it might take a while to get to the focus work is there are any number of tiny things that need to get done first.
Then there are illegitimate reasons that we all probably want to cut down, like scrolling instagram or checking our email, AGAIN.
Here’s how I get started and get my 90 minutes of focused work.
1. Write a “Starter List”
I just made it up, here’s what it is.
A starter list is a chain sequence of simple activities that energise you and put you in the best state to do your creative work. Here’s my list from today:
Clean the studio
Clean the bathroom
Workout (7-Minute HIIT)
Write (top of mind bullets)
Read (2-30 minutes)
I write a time stamp next to each item on the list as I complete it as a way to be accountable to myself and keep moving. The coffee at the end is the nice reward for working through the list, and an accompaniment to the next period.
2. Set 90 minute Timer
Use your phone as a timer, and set the display so it’s always on.
Put your phone on a stand so you can keep glancing at it.
The timer stops you from getting distracted by your phone and motivates you to keep working through the 90 minutes.
If I finish the task before 90 minutes, I just keep working on it.
It’s a great day if you can do 90 minutes of focused work, some days you might even do two or three.
Less important busy work gets pushed later in the day. Maybe it should go on something called an “ender list”.