In this debut episode of Getting Work To Work, I talk about Richard Branson’s motto for business, how too much planning can lead to procrastination and perfectionism, and five ways to move your creative projects forward and overcome Analysis Paralysis!
How You Can Move Your Projects Forward:
- Know what you want to do. Define your project with enough detail so you can act.
- Have goals you are working to accomplish.
- Define the minimum viable product for your project.
- Ask for help.
- Find your own way.
Greetings internet and welcome to the first episode of Getting Work to Work, a weekly podcast for creative professionals looking to break down those internal and external barriers that are preventing you from getting your work to work for you.
My name is Chris Martin. I’ve been a filmmaker, a teacher, a web designer, a web developer, a graphic designer, pretty much anything related to design and creative media in some form or another for going on 16 years now. And I’ve always struggled with comparing myself to other artists. I’ve self-sabotaged my own success and I’ve even lacked confidence when I shouldn’t. And so I started this podcast just to share my own struggles, my own strategies, my own tactics for overcoming those barriers that I have because I imagine that I’m not the only one that has these struggles. Oftentimes when I’m sharing in the classroom, other students feel the same way and so I thought why not do a podcast and I can share those ideas with people.
The topic that I want to share today is about something I heard on CreativeLive’s, 30 Days of Genius with Chase Jarvis. In this particular video, Chase was interviewing Richard Branson, a business mogul who owns his own island, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Records. Look him up on the internet—he does some really cool things for his employees and for the world in general.
But in this video with Chase, he shared his motto which was simply, “Screw It, Do It.” Kind of like Nike’s “Just Do It,” but there’s an element of edge to this. There’s this idea of: you know what, I can’t wait any longer, I just need to do it. Screw It, Do It. Sometimes in creativity and in life in general, you just need to act before you have all of the answers answered. If you’re anything like me, you want to wait ’til you have every question asked, every answered in reply, but planning is a form of perfectionism. If I plan enough, I’m going to have all the answers. If I plan enough, my work is going to be perfect. If I plan enough—see, see what I’m doing here? I’m trying to make everything perfect. Even while recording this podcast, Episode 1, I’ve wanted to plan everything in order for it to be perfect, but I had to follow Richard Branson’s motto: Screw It, Chris, Do It. It doesn’t have to be perfect—you’ve never done this before. You’ll find your way. You’re not going to be perfect unless you hit record many times.
Interestingly enough, the opposite happens though. Planning can be a form of procrastination. It’s so easy to hit record, but then you have to talk. Planning could also prevent me from hitting record. I can research all of the great ways to make a podcast—that’s a form of procrastination. Anything preventing me from hitting record is taking me away from doing what needs to be done.
Now, there are positive benefits to planning, but usually when you’re getting started, you have an idea. You know exactly what you want to do, you know exactly what needs to be done. But we think that, well, maybe I should just plan a little bit more and when that happens, the seeds of doubt are sown into our lives and we stop acting. We need to act—creative professionals need to act as quickly and efficiently as possible.
So how do we act? Let me ask you this question right now. What steps can you take at this very moment that can move your project forward? I’m going to ask that again. What can you do right now to move your project forward? Do you know what it is that you want to do? Have you defined what it is that what you want to do? Have you defined what your goals for this project are?
Now for this podcast, I’ve defined just enough to know what my goals were and who my audience was. My audience for this podcast are other creative professionals that maybe struggle with some of things that I do. I wanted to come up with a good title so that I wouldn’t have to worry about that again. And I just wanted to start writing down topics and ideas that I think could be interesting. That’s all I defined. Now I didn’t really define too many goals because oftentimes goals can prevent us from getting started as well. But for this purpose, there is a soft skill in being able to take your thoughts and intelligently communicate them in a way that’s interesting, entertaining, and valuable to the listener and so that is a goal that I have. I want to be able to continue to refine my thinking process out loud so that other people can benefit from what goes on up in my brain.
Another concept to think about as it relates to Screw It, Do It is something that Fizzle, an online business community, talks about is this idea of the minimum viable product. What is the very basic simplest form of your idea that you can create and put out in the world so that people can start interacting with it? With this podcast, what is the minimum viable product that I need in order to do it? I have an online documentary video series called Innovators of Vancouver and the minimum viable product for that is a video and so I had to figure out, okay, who am I going to interview, how am I going to make their story interesting, and how can I get this done as soon as possible? Screw It, Do It.
Another area of taking steps right now to move your project forward is asking for help. I have a friend that’s done 177 episodes of a podcast and I knew that he had a great microphone and so I just asked him if I could borrow it. Can I borrow your microphone? Do you have any advice for this podcast? Do you have any advice for what it is that I want to do? Asking for help is a great way to move a project forward because depending upon who you ask, they might have great advice for not only moving forward, but ways to overcome barriers to success. While recording this podcast, I was texting my friend who recorded all the podcasts, and he’s like: you’re trying to make it perfect—just talk. Screw It, Do It. Just talk and it’s so hard to do that because our brain says it has to be perfect. Chris, it doesn’t have to be perfect, you can edit out your mistakes. You’re going to edit out your mistakes, but more importantly, you’re going to meet your goal of learning how to communicate out loud.
Finally, the most important take away that I would like you to have from this podcast, is that it is okay for you to find your own way through whatever it is you want to do. You want to make a film? Find your own way. You want to record a podcast? Find your own way. Do you want to be a prolific blogger? Find your own way. There are a million blog posts, there are a million podcasts, there are a million how-to videos that will tell you exactly what it is that you need to do in order to make it, but the reality is you have to find your own way. You can’t follow someone else’s recipe for success. There is value to blog posts about what it is that you want to do, but oftentimes they are a form of procrastination—they’re a way to prevent you from getting your work to work. And so I encourage you to find your own way to want you want to do.
So what steps can you take right now to move your project forward? Define what it is that you want to do. What are your goals? What is a minimum viable product for your idea? Ask for help and find your own way.