I hate to admit it, but I’ve been trying to follow a pretty detailed calendar for years. I’m kind of successful at it, at times, but I have some thinking patterns that affect it. And circumstances of my line of work affect it. I’ll organize my questions in 2 areas of things I’m trying to work out.
1. How much I put on each time-frame (it looks realistic at the time, but it turns out it’s not). I struggle with that. I’ve broken projects down (some breakdowns are very detailed to enable “doable” times), but more times than not, I just can’t keep up with the pace I’ve set. I am frustrated – I tried putting less in, but then I waste time and feel NO motivation because the stories I tell myself say it’s so little, I can just put it with the next tiny thing tomorrow. Yet, when I put what seems realistic, it’s not. I try to be efficient, but I also want to be thorough in the task. I get the B- idea – and buy into it a lot. But my fear is doing C- or lower. How do I reconcile these issues?
2. What to do when major roadblocks happen (for example, I work at home and our internet is sketchy at best (the spinning ball is normal) and it’s the best offered, I’ve had to go to town with my big iMac to download things (ridiculous, right?) I’m having technical difficulties (I have a studio) in which I have to wait for responses in order to move forward with a project (so what was planned cannot be done), we got hacked and I need to change all our passwords, which means logging on to each site and changing it (spinning ball all all) and the list goes on)
I have a deep belief that these are not “excuses”, but actual circumstances that are not blood or bones emergencies, but rather actual roadblocks to my calendar and to spending my time on the core of my work. I’m solution oriented – but researching & fixing also eat up the project time I already set aside. I don’t have an assistant, a tech person, or anyone but myself, so it’s these things that throw my calendar — and progress, into chaos. Then anxiety steps in. Because I want to honor it. But I’m failing. But far more importantly, I just want to know how to plan for it, and not constantly shift things forward in my calendar. What do I do in that planned moment when a roadblock happens to my ability to DO the thing I planned?? I am trying to jump all in. My question is, how do I plan for those in my calendar? 30 min a day for overflow doesn’t touch the tip of the iceberg. I work long days now (12 h 6 days/week). That’s how I’m compensating for all this.
My BIGGEST question for the calendar, is that since I’m a film composer, it’s like I have dual schedules that I’d need to be able to plan for. I set up a schedule and love the sense that it is all in place (when there’s not roadblocks) and I’m working to trust myself in not listening to those excuses and distractions. “SCHEDULE A” I’ll call it. During those times, I’m networking, skill-building, updating technology, working on my website, marketing, and all those other things that are important for a business to function.
BUT, if I schedule out very far at all, it’s precarious because I can predict (like Tyler said) that an “unexpected project” will come up. Thing is, the film industry expects a composer to deliver BIG, HIGHLY PROFESSIONAL and to deliver it FAST. I’ll call this “SCHEDULE B.” Most composers do not even sleep much during the rigors of scoring a film – which may take from weeks to a few months. Producers usually cannot bend, since releases, etc. are already set. I’m not complaining – I love my work! And frankly, composing is the core of it – the only way I even get paid. And there are 10 composers in line behind me willing to do it the filmmaker’s way. Sometimes I may have a few weeks beforehand to plan, but more often it’s far less than that, as a lot of work happens even before I can begin scoring.
My frustration isn’t that it happens. It’s that I find myself spending MANY HOURS after that recreating all the calendar times for the things that I originally planned in SCHEDULE A before the Film Project took over. I’m terrified that I’ll miss something or be confused about where I am in various projects. I also painfully realize that having this duality of 2 different types of total schedule changes, and really the repeated abandonment of a set schedule, sets me back big time in being able to exercise that muscle of habitually NOT changing the calendar and following through with it. I need a way to be able to go between these dual schedules with nimbleness and confidence, and feeling like it IS actually what I planned.
I love both ‘sides’ of my job. Rebuilding entire weeks or months that I’ve already built seems backwards and has a snowball effect. I’ve researched for calendars that can shift entire days/time periods without any luck, so I have to do it literally an appointment at a time. I’m considering just not putting the details in, and making them repeating blocks of time and going by a written checklist, or referring the the written project plan each day. Then I can jump back into SCHEDULE A by following the recurring event times, but going straight to my project plans to pick up where I left off. Is this a reasonable, healthy idea for this situation?
How do I deal with these issue in my calendar so that I move forward with clarity, confidence and a wise plan that fits my type of work?
Thank you for all you do! 🙂