Why "Daily" Works Better than "Weekly" for Creative Work
I was recently reading an article Gretchen Rubin, the author of the Happiness Project, who makes a distinction between Moderators and Abstainers. A Moderator is a someone that needs the occasional cheat to make something feel is worthwhile. They work well on the 80/20 rule.
An Abstainer is someone who finds life simpler just going cold turkey and doesn’t really have an issue once they’ve given something up. Life is too complicated under the 80/20 rule.
In a similar way, I have the same issue with “daily" versus “weekly" work habits. There are those that are good at scheduling their time. I am not. The best I can usually do is schedule on a daily basis. If something needs to happen, I have far more luck getting it done if it needs to happen before bedtime than by next Tuesday.
When I work to schedule something to happen “weekly", I get caught up. Should I work on it today, or will Tuesday be better? Actually, I have that project due on Tuesday. Wednesday? Will I have time on Wednesday? But, if not Wednesday, then it’ll have to wait till the weekend.
The weekend always seems like it will be a good time to work on those projects that I don’t have a specific schedule time. I envision a free Saturday morning, happily working away at a coffee shop with unicorns walking by (which gives you an idea of how realistic that scenario ever is). Weekends are nearly always a giant wheel-barrel of laundry, housecleaning, kid events, and grocery shopping. So, if it doesn’t get done on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday or during the weekend, when would it ever get done? Unfortunately, usually the answer for me is never.
For me, daily is simpler and, frankly, easier. If I know I have to do something daily, then I know that I have to figure out how it will get done before I go to sleep. That is nearly always easier for me than to try to figure out if my Friday morning is actually going to be free to work on something.
So, I’m having a very productive period in my life during that last couple months. The reason for this is that I’m forcing myself to write and film daily, as opposed to weekly. The goal is to always post something new each day to my blog. Sometimes it is a big idea or relatively complex article. Other times, it is a short check-in.
What I notice though is that the process of producing content every day removes any creative block. When I try to post weekly, aside from scheduling, I think a lot about what should I post. It usually goes something like this:
- It’s been a couple days/weeks since I posted, it should be something worthwhile.
- Well, what should it be?
- I don’t know, but it should be impressive. Something profound.
- I don’t have any “profound ideas”, do you?
- No, not yet, but maybe we should wait and “get inspired”
That final part is the killer for me. “Getting inspired” is at the heart of so much of my creative procrastination. The reality, I’m usually only “inspired” once I’ve started creating something, not before. So, if I make myself create something everyday, my likelihood of getting inspired may happen 2 - 3 times a week. Otherwise, it doesn’t really happen at all. Part of it, too, is that by posting a short video or blog post every day, it keeps me accountable, at least to myself.
So, it isn’t profound, but this is a process that works for me: "Create every day”. And if you really want to jump start your work, “create and finish something every day”.