Monday, January 1, 2018

Sorry, I'm Working! (Prioritizing art and combating distractions)

Happy New Year and welcome to 2018 my fellow AllOnederers.

As the symbolic significance of year's transitions entice us into hopeful changes of habit and pursuits of our ideals, this post I've been thinking about seems prime time to share.
One of the things I value more than anything is my writing and musical creation craft.  However, our priorities are really expressed through how we spend our time.  As Kristoff Krane expresses with beautiful brevity on his new 2017 release, "Kairos part 1":
"There's nothing more true than "You Are What You Do" "

I often find myself having a difficulty carving out time to simply sit down and work on a recording project or a writing endeavor.  A mix of my own ADHD and codependency (Note: Self-observed and described) implores me to say "YES" to every plan and event offer or request that a friend or family member asks of me.  The trouble is, often I'm thinking in the back of my head "Well... I have so much to do..." and yet I will confirm and commit to recreational plans.  Because it's just fun, right?  Life is passing me by and I'm lucky to have friends.  It's more exciting to go romping about with a slew of pals or catch some new stimulating media than it is to shut in privately and do creative work or -worse- dry independent-artist business work.  But pulling aside the impulsive answer to the intrusive-though-complimentary social opportunities, I'm very plainly neglecting my highest calling by not aligning the short-term-decisions with the long-term-goals.

Which calls back to the idea When saying "NO" to others, we're able to say "YES" to ourselves.

Often, if I bring up my own creative goals (admittedly meekly) as a refusal to proposed plans, people don't take that answer seriously.  Don't get me wrong, I love my friends and I'm grateful to have companions and family members who wish to spend time with me, but it can also be fairly distracting.  Frequently, non-creatives immediately figure that as an artist with a nebulous goal, you have a shifting timeline or a floating schedule and no real deadlines.  Yes, I should be more adamant about staying disciplined about my own goals.  However, I needed to do something to combat other's convincing prejudice against taking creative work seriously as well as to safeguard against my own tendency to jump impulsively into plans. 
(Remember: "People pleasers" are people too...)

Here's where another observation came into play.  Nobody questions when you say "Oh I have to work".  Not even for birthday parties and more formal or special events!  It's just accepted in this "us vs. them" sort of mentality that "yeah work sucks and external forces are controlling you and taking you away".  Yet I don't actually care about my own 9-5 work or my day-job, but it is a rarely-if-ever suggested thing to try to abandon or get out of work obligations.  Fusing these situations brought on a strategy that would take care of everyone that wasn't entirely lying, or was at worst lying-by-omission.

Recently, I've been identifying all my creative-time vaguely as "work" and nobody challenges me, and I can go about what I need to get done in a serious, uninterrupted and guiltless way. 

If I have creative work or artistic goals that would make me uncomfortably opt out of plans with friends or family, I just tell people "Oh I'm working until X time" to buy myself time to get what I need to accomplished.  When I am getting out of my day job at 6 and then planned on writing/editing or what-have-you at the library until 9, I just tell people "I'm working until 9".  Nobody asks questions, nobody tries convincing me to "wait until tomorrow to do that", nobody says "well, can't you do that when you get home later?", nobody makes any implication that the work isn't serious or a top priority

Really, all of this is a simple semantic way for me to trick myself and my friends into creating an environment that I can take my music and writing career more seriously.  If you have codependency issues or if you frequently find yourself distracted by the fun of other's plans and suggestions this might be a viable way for you to reclaim some of your prioritizing confidence.  For friends who I've done this to who are reading this... sorry, I can't talk right now, I'm working.

I hope we're all able to prioritize our goals and preferred disciplines while managing our time in a way that is best suited to becoming who we feel most represents us and accomplishes what we need to in this world!

What are your thoughts on this?  How do you keep on top of your goals and creative schedule?
Please contribute comments and suggestions below!
Always be loving, always love being!
-Bruce "AllOne" Pandolfo