Self-Discipline— Eek!

Are you skilled in the self-discipline department, or do you lack the motivation to manage yourself? Procrastination: Friend or foe?

Today’s Dialogue is all about the glorious aspects of task management—find out how Kelly Lynn Jones, Faythe Levine and Lisa Solomon manage their time and how they reward themselves when they complete a project!

How about you? How are you in the art of procrastination? Any tips for time/task management? Comment below to start your own dialogue!

Link:  Dialogue on Design for Mankind

  • he he, sounds like there’s some conflicting opinions on reward systems. i have to say that for me, completing the task is the reward. as i just hobby along for myself, my deadlines are just for me. to give myself a kick-start, i’ve started sharing unfinished (or unstarted!) projects on my blog, so that i now have to answer to my readers. my fear of disappointing anyone should take over now!

  • This is the first time I’ve been to your blog…and I LOVE IT! I’m going to watch the other dialogue episodes now! What a great find!

  • lists! i have them for all aspects of life, in notebooks, sketchbooks, on my computer, in my head. i want to meet an artists who actually doesn’t like lists.

  • hey Erin! thank you so much for these lovely dialogues, they are whats keeping me ALIVE these days! i just love hearing how all other artist out there feel, it makes me feel so much less lonely [and less crazy!] and the tips are also great.

    I am crazy about lists. They are what makes my life work, with out lists i go crazy and completely loose control. When i have so much things to do my brain hurts and and writing it down make it all clear. I just love ticking them off.


    I’m going Turkey with my family this April and had so much shopping to do [finally finished the main shopping this weekend, yay!]. I made huge lists for everything i have to do before i leave:

    list for things i need to buy,
    for things i need to take,
    for things i need to wash before i leave [i have so much laundry to do!],
    for things i need to iron and pack,
    for things i need to clean before i leave [my jewellery table is one HUGE mess, ugh!],
    for things i need to take on the plane,
    presents i need to buy, etc.

    I also label my lists, for example:

    lists for things that are-urgent. get labeled “URGENT”

    lists for things that i-can-leave-till-the-last-week. “GET DONE”

    lists for things that would-be-good-if-i-done-before-i-leave-but-o.k-if-it-doesn’t-happen-till-i-come-back. “HAVE TO DO”

    lists for things that i-need-to-do-on-the-day-i-leave. “IMPORTANT!”

    i make list for every thing and anything even if i have to talk too or e-mail someone i make lists.

    But having to many lists can make you go crazy too, so too many list are not good.

    My reward is to watch a film I’ve been dying to watch or sleep!

  • Loved this video- I think most of us have the tendency to procrastinate, especially creative types. For me, I get distracted by new ideas that I come up with or things I see online, which I also like to call “research” (Thanks, Lisa!)
    I’ve become a bigger fan of lists as a way to manage my tasks and thoughts. I also just wrote a post today about feeling overwhelmed and the idea of writing a “Did Do” list instead of a “To Do” list. I guess that could be its own reward- seeing your accomplishments on paper. Here is the blog post-–the-creation-of-a-thousand-forests-is-in-one-acorn—-ralph-waldo-emerson.html

  • I love Dialogue by the way.

    But how ironic. I just pulled an all-nighter due to my procrastination of homework through spring break. And what do I do before my work is done? Check out the new Dialogue :) I feel a little better now.

  • Hi Erin! I love all of the dialogue videos so far and look forward to more. Procrastination is my biggest foe. I am definitely better at getting things done when there is a time crunch, but I really dislike the stress it puts on me. Lately, I have had more time on my hands then usual, I’m free to plan my days as I like and I am procrastinating like crazy. I too make lots and lots of lists which helps me to organize ideas and goals. I like to do “research” as well, my husband laughs at me when I tell him I’m doing research. But there’s so much great information and ideas out there it’s hard to stop doing “research”.

  • Great video series. How come no dudes this week? lol anyway. Its always interesting to find out how you work the best.

    I work way better when i’m crazy busy with big lists that i created. If I only have one thing to do i’ll never get it done but if i have 10 things to do i’ll do them all… I’m weird what can i say.

  • Hi Erin!
    I leave this comment to see if you could let me know/email me about me collaborating in your online zine?
    You have posted some bits about my art before and id love to be a part of the zine!
    Hope i hear back from you soon
    Much love

  • So great! I love hearing how everyone else handles what they need to get done! I am a list maker myself…otherwise, I will just plain forget! Thanks ladies, one and all, for this episode! I love it!

  • I love the idea that procrastination can be retermed “research”… I firmly believe that. Or at least that’s how I justify it!

  • Oh… how I relate here….
    Erin, I must tell you that I love the way you are putting faces and voices to people that I follow. You are “humanazing” blogland.

  • the only thing i’ve procrastinated on so far with Muntedkowhai is doing my taxes…
    i’m thinking everyone does!
    also for chores like that, i did reward myself with a massage.

  • AMAZING!!! It’s so nice to se that artists I look up to procrastinate sometimes, too, and don’t always get everything done when it needs to get done. Phew! We’re all just human!!

  • Erin, thank you thank you for doing this and putting these up on Mondays :) I love starting my week with these videos ( more smiles :) ) I also think procrastination can actually be discovering inspiration just depends on how we look at it and inspiration is vital. To bad there wasn’t a healthy way to view procrastination when it comes to fiances and paperwork. Oh well….

  • I work better when I am really busy and when a deadline approaches I tend to do something else right before the first thing is due. That might not make sense to other people, but it pushes me to work faster :) Otherwise if I have only one thing to do I might as well do it alll day looooong…

  • Ha— your comments are always so spectacular, guys.

    Ryan– Dudes to come next week. Promise. ;)
    Cicada— I lOVE this idea of a make-something jar! Genius!

    You guys are way too smart!!! :)

  • Deadlines are probably the ONLY thing that jolts me out of my procrastinating ways! I have a lovely long day all to myself today, with a huge wanna/gotta/outta do list and here I am futzing around on the computer.

    Funny thing is that I can’t “fool” myself with phony deadlines – that only makes me worse.

    At least I’m not alone :)

  • Ha– I tried the phone deadline thing once, too— totally didn’t work. ;) It’s like setting your clock back an hour so you think you’re late… please. I know I’m not late! ;)

  • Yay! New dialogue! Seriously, it’s my new favorite thing to look forward to on the internets.

    Lists and rewards. These are my kind of gals! However, the hard part is finding the time for those little rewards once I actually get through the list. Go figure…

    Erin, I’m with you on rewarding the little things (i.e. washed the socks). Celebrating any kind of completion is key for me. Keeps things exciting!

  • Awww, procrastination! I think we creative business owner/freelancers put so much on our shoulders. I was talking about this last week to a friend who works in a cube-environment; we were saying how we thought we hadn’t been doing much that day work-wise, but after comparing task, I realized I did waaaaaaay more than she did!

    My way to self-discipline? It’s a combo of a lot of small things:

    – having a project manager software like basecamp helps a ton when I have multiples project/deadlines to manage.

    – Downsizing all my internet subscriptions, blog reading. It’s Spring, it’s my time to do a cleanup there!

    – Having a reward budget.

    – Giving myself a slack! I need breaks in my day, and break are not part of the reward budget! They are a necessity!

    – Having a decent schedule. I work from 9h30am to 4h30pm. Having a smaller work schedule forces me to concentrate since I don’t have a lot of time. Also, it keeps me sane and forces me to have a social life!

    Thanks Erin for these fantastic dialogues! Inspires me to write a blog post about them!

  • What a great topic. I wish I could say i never procrastinate hah — that would be a lie. I absolutely love making lists. There’s nothing more satisfying than crossing something out when you’ve completed the task.

  • I’m TERRIBLE at procrastinating! The only thing that seems to help is a daily planner and lots of lists!!!

  • I love love love these video’s! It’s easy for me to be motivated with my own work because my main income is still coming from working for someone else. So when I get home I am bursting with energy and ideas.

    I use to be a huge list person, still am, but I decided I needed to start actually USING the lists instead of just MAKING them. Not too long ago I realized I was spending more time planning everything out than actually doing it. So now I have one planner that goes everywhere with me and I put check boxes next to each task and get to check it off when I finish it (always a reward :) ).

  • Hmmmm….exactly what I need. Procastiation is my middle name and I need all the help I can get. Thanks so much!

  • these videos are my favorite! i love seeing women and how they think. organize. focus. create. get inspired.

    i want to see one on running your own business: how to get started. the dos and the dont’s. what they don’t teach you in school…

  • Another amazing encouragement. Thanks so much to you and all of the other contributors who take time out of their busy lives to share a piece of what they’ve along the way!

  • That was a great episode. Very calming and yet very insightful. It is so hard to focus sometimes especially with all the distraction the internet and technology can bring. I definitely love the part about the reward system, it worked when I was kid and still works now. An oldie but most certainly a goodie.

  • Oooh! Good one!

    I’m a list writer – I love it when I get EVERYTHING ticked off my list, though it doesn’t happen quite often enough. The worst thing? I’m not so bad with procrastination, I’m just really poor at estimating how long things will take, so I end up writing a list that is completely unachievable before I even start it!

    The best thing I’ve found with the whole reward system thing: Don’t just aim for something you want, go for something you really NEED as well, and you’ll have more drive to complete your tasks so you can get it.

    Eg: I desperately want AND need a new printer, but I’ve told myself that I can’t buy it until I’ve finished 5 of my 8×10″ artworks. So far it’s working! 2 down, 3 to go. I need that printer!!

  • Haha! I can totally relate to this episode.

    I always have good intentions with lists however I never seem to use them. I’ll write out everything I need to do and then…that’s it.

    And being a design student, procrastination and myself seem to go hand in hand. I think in some weird way the pressure of knowing I HAVE to finish a project makes me produce better work. Plus, I like working at night when the world’s asleep.

    Great videos and topics Erin

  • well when i work, i put procrastinating also as a part of the list of things to do,
    and after i do that ,
    i do the rest also :)

  • whee this is awesome. good advice here. i certainly do need to get over this whole procrastination thing, especially when, yeah, i’m feeling too old to pull all-nighters. lovely episode erin. thanks! :)

  • That was great—I definitely identify with all of that–especially the list making. My fiance makes fun of me because I’m always making lists–they’re everywhere!

  • after pulling an all-nighter, i sat down with a cup of coffee and watched the video. i quickly felt a bit guilty and made a list :)
    i feel compelled to be a bit more organised, thanks erin and the girls!

  • This was a good one!! Thanks again Erin! And as I type this I should actually be on my bike off to the studio..ha.

    Also to the comment above about starting a business, erin- I would be interested in giving some of my input on that.

    Ok off to make some work happen.

  • sounds like lists are the consensus!
    and thanks, kelly— i’ll be in touch. definitely a future topic… ;)

  • My rule has always been 45 minutes of work, 15 minutes of answering emails, watering plants, getting a snack, reading blogs, and so on. My mom asks me how in the world I can do this during the day, but the deal is, if my work day is 8:30 am until 10ish pm minus meals, it’s a lot easier to take these sorts of breaks sometimes rather than go through all of my work at once….and it gives me something to look forward to.

    The other thing that I do is plan both my meals and my week (in a general sense) so I know I have something to look forward to at the end of it (as in, date night with my boyfriend on Saturday night, or an orchestra concert on Sunday afternoon with friends).

    A topic idea: how to involve yourself in the community and education…I mentioned something on my blog once about how the unconventional teachers can be the most motivating, and an artist friend wrote back saying she felt she had gone too far in fine arts to go back and affect kids in a meaningful way. I think bringing that topic up — how you can do something and make it matter as an artist — would be really cool.

  • Lists, lists, lists!!!! Lots of work helps too, or at least a routine, and some time constraints. If I have lots of time to do something, it´ll take “lots of time+1hour”; if I have just a short window of time to do it, it certainly gets done before the next assingment/project/class. Weird how our mind works, right?

    Thanks for the video, Erin! It´s soo good to see other people discuss the problems we face in our everyday work life.

  • ok – I am fighting the urge to watch this as I am proscratinating BIG TIME for studying for a test I have tomorrow. perhaps I should watch it to motivate it me??? ahhh who am I kidding, I know i’m going to watch it now. here I go!

  • *procrastinating. is that right? I don’t know.
    see? I’m doing it again. argh!

  • I graduated last May and have been trying to be my own creative boss aside from my crappy pay-the-bills job. I suck as a self-employee/student. So while the economy is so bad, I’m trying to get into grad school so that I can have some sort of routine and someone else to help put pressure on me to get things done while also getting an advanced degree.

    Thank you so much for the videos. They’re very helpful!

  • im such a procrastinator! its really really bad -even if i sometimes get important things done while procrastinating. My newest weapon is The Power Hour! for an hour, preferably as the very first thing you do when you wake up, turn off all distractions and work on the one thing weighing you down the most. It has to be the most important thing on your list and you have to do something meaningful, but only for an hour. no coffee, no internet. After that i find myself much more relaxed and can work more with the flow for the rest of the day -taking time to check emails and blogs when i want.

  • I love this. Seriously, it’s so how I feel right now trying to run my blog and my design business and do all the other real life crap I have to do.
    I’ve never worked harder in my life…

  • I love Dialogue so much! I was lucky enough to catch the first one a while back and I have been checking in for new posts since then!

    Everything that gets talked about is so true to how I live my life and im sure its the same for so many artists!!
    Huge fan!! :)

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