Do you experience various flavors and shades of bullsh*t on a daily basis? If I were a betting man, I’d lay down a benjamin or two right about now.
The nonsense of the world, however you want to define it, will knock us off of our creative path if we let it. F that.
At one point in my late twenties I decided that pursuing my teen rock star dreams was an idiot mission.
Thirty was around the corner and I was getting tired of eating ramen for dinner. (For breakfast I’d go for all-you-can-eat hash browns and coffee at Seattle’s legendary Beth’s Cafe and shoot the shit with my buddy until early afternoon.)
Nudged by fear, I put down the guitar and pointed my efforts towards other substantially less creative career paths. Soon my heart began to hurt. So I picked the guitar back up and invested in some studio gear. Shortly after, I won a big music award and got my tunes on Mtv. Win!
How did I go from hash browns and coffee to getting some serious shit done? I remembered something my dad taught me in high school. (It was one of the few things I remember from high school.)
My dad had a theory of lists and piles.
To organize any project, the first step was simply to put it in a list or move it into the correct pile. Smart man.
If you get your tasks onto your list, you’re looking good. Next step, prioritize. What needs to happen first? Sometimes this is pretty obvious, sometimes it’s not.
Think about cooking. Maybe it’ll take you fifteen minutes to prepare the recipe, then you need to get it into the pre-heated oven. If you don’t consider the timeline, you might prepare the food first, then turn on the oven. Bad move. It’s gonna take awhile to get that oven up to speed. It’ll take longer to make dinner. Obviously. But it’s easy to forget this kind of thing when you’re not cooking.
If your list is properly prioritized, at the very least you’ll know what needs to be done. And, of course, if you don’t know what needs to be done, there ain’t much chance of doing it.
I’d bet on that, too.
Make sure you’re on the mailing list so you can check out Part 2 of this blog post — where you’ll find out my dad’s two rules to greatly increase your chances of success in life, art and beyond.
How do you prioritize?
Favorite online to-do list? Why?
What did you dad teach you?