How to Organize a Day, How to Organize a Year

Happy New Year from Black Irish!

What do you want out of a year? Shawn, Jeff and I sat down for an hour and discussed a handful of the many great questions you all sent us.

I hope the following podcast brings a little insight into how you can structure a day or year for a more productive 2014.


Q1 [0:00] Brian Geraghty

How do you determine what is urgent and what is important? After you decipher which is which how do you schedule it out?

Recommended listening: Ken Glickman's Time Management

Q2 [5:59] John Thomas

How in the world do you keep focused to do the work consistently with outside pressures of family (spouse and four kids who I want to spend time with) and financial pressures? How do you carve out an habitual practice of doing your work?

Q3 [8:59] Joel D Canfield

How do you decide how long to allow for writing a book? Do you set a time goal like one year, or do you let it take as long as it takes and trust the daily writing ritual to keep you on track?

Recommended reading: Henry Miller's Rules of Writing

Q4 [17:31] Stelios Perdios

I'm half-tempted to apply the Foolscap method to 2014 to help plan my goals. It sounds silly, but there's already a built-in protagonist (me) and a villain (Resistance). Also, I'd rather chose my own theme for the upcoming year rather than ponder it in retrospect. Furthermore, if I divide the year into three acts, then I know what scenes I need to be in to achieve my overall goals as a writer. Most importantly, the storyline for the year is on a single sheet of paper. I've tried other goal setting methods with mixed results. But this seems to provide some flexibility to handle day-to-day or week-to-week challenges while keeping the overall goals in sight. What do you think? Would this work? Have you done it (or something like it) yourself?

Q5 [20:28] Lynn Barrett

How do you know when you need a break?

Q6 [27:30] Sheri Kleintop

In your book, The War of Art, the focus is recognizing and facing Resistance head on. Throughout the ages, women such as Gorgo, Jackie Kennedy and women in every household across the globe have (had) an obligation to nurture, serve and protect their children and spouses. While in the midst of our life of details, how can one go about honoring our obligations while also fighting to maintain our own identity and long term dreams? As a divorced mother, teacher and advocate for our military, service above self has always been my creed.

Q7 [32:38] Cindy Lou

How do you get your friends to understand you don't work for free. Especially during the Holiday's, friends seem to forget I work for a living.

Recommended reading: I Will Not Read Your Fucking Screenplay

Q8 [41:07] Elizabeth Lada

What to do when you have a number of medium-sized talents, and the ones that make you money aren't quite as fun to do (that would be painting/illustrating) and the ones that are more fun to do are not (yet? ever?) remunerative (that would be screenwriting and playing music). How to focus? Reward so many hours of doing the money-maker with a half-hour of the fun stuff? Focus exclusively on the money-maker until some (arbitrary?) goal is met? Do the fun stuff first and wait till the deadline for the money-maker is looming and work like crazy?

Q9 [43:10] Scott Culley

Not related to this week's question, but this is on my mind a lot lately. What do you do when you're not "having fun" anymore? What do you do when a project has just become so overwhelmingly frustrating that showing up everyday becomes more of an exercise in frustration where the work isn't moving forward? What then?

Recommended reading: Do The Work

Q10 [52:46] Cate Emond

I recently quit my boring office job in order to pursue my writing and other creative projects full-time. I've been reading a lot of blogs and articles in preparation and one piece of advice that seems pretty universal to all people who work from home is the importance of having a morning routine. I would love to know what your morning routine consists of (if you have one).

We're working on transcribing this podcast. We'll post it here as soon as it's ready.