Paint your project: Avoid the black-hole

Problem: Creative’s Black Hole

Often times Creatives (artists, designers, writers, speakers, and entrepreneurs) get stuck in what I’d like to call The Creative’s Black Hole. Similar to a blackhole, the Creative’s attention and focus is trapped in one small area of a project. So much that the rest of the project’s completion is threatened. I’ve witnessed this in amateurs and professionals.

Designing a website
You’re given a day to design the first draft of a client’s homepage. You invested six hrs on the header area (top 20% of the design), leaving two hrs to finish with the remaining 80%.

Writing a story / public speaking
You have a limited amount of time/words, and you decide to emphasize a particular point. You invest most of your time on that one point, taking up 60% of the allotted space. Now you’re only left another 40% to tell your other three or four points.

Cleaning your home
You have 30 mins until your guests arrive, and you find yourself scrubbing one area of your home for the last 20 mins while the rest of your apartment is a cluster-fuck.

Solution: Paint your project

painting your project in layers

In almost all cases, you can paint your project in layers. Get to the end as soon as possible. It’s okay if it’s crappy, so as long as it is completed. The faster you get to completion, the more time is left to tweak, optimize, enhance, and adjust. This method is also refered to as the iterative process.

“An iterative process is a process for calculating a desired result by means of a repeated cycle of operations. An iterative process should be convergent, i.e., it should come closer to the desired result as the number of iterations increases.”

Designing your website
Lay out your homepage as fast as possible, filling it with necessary items which would be based on pre-set objectives. If you can get everything on their in 2 hours, you’d have 6 hours to move, adjust, take a break and reflect, and make better. At my agency, we’ll have one designer paint the first layer, getting everything on in a short period of time, then have another designer invest time to make it better. This has proven to work great, as the new designer will come into the design with a clean slate, and a fresh perspective. We’ll bounce different variations from one designer to another, maybe four or five times within a day, continuously itterating and making better.

Writing a story / preparing a talk
Start at the end. What do you want your audience to take away. Then fill in the rest in no particular order. Get a first draft ASAP
Read Do The Work, by Steven Pressfield.

clean toiletCleaning your home
Clean and organize based on greatest impact with lease amount of work. Feel free to stuff everything that doesn’t belong in your guest area of your home, into a room to be organized later. Only get to the nitty-gritty stuff when time permits. Always ask – what makes the biggest impact? Personal advice: Make sure your toilets are clean. Especially if your expecting a lady guest. 😉

Sources: Oil painting in 18 mins