Getting Stuff Done in 2017

The new year typically begins with a loudly proclaimed set of goals for the year: lose weight, eat better, make more money, create more, etc.

However, these goals often lack the well known SMART qualities, as well as a system to achieve them. We find ourselves, months later, frustrated and ashamed that we failed at our goals.

There’s a better way.

Here is the main thing you can do to get more done in 2017:

DEEP WORK

One of my favorite books from last year was Cal Newport’s DEEP WORKan awesome follow up to So Good They Can’t Ignore You. Cal talks about the importance of blocking out large chunks of time for deep work, rather than trying to accomplish things 15 mins at a time.

If it’s a priority, you need to carve out some time during your day and protect it against things like interruptions from coworkers, notifications from the internet, and the Resistance.

I’ve found that it’s a) super hard, but also b) super worth it. I can normally go about 90 minutes before I need to get up and stretch, eat something, or shake off the focus for a bit before jumping into the other tasks for the day, but here are some things I do to get in some deep work every day.

  • Schedule it.

If it isn’t on the calendar, it won’t happen. I have a very strict morning routine that has started to creep into the first hours of work.

I block out two hours because it usually takes 10-15 mins to get settled and ready, and it typically ends right when my business partner is ready to go eat food.

  • Turn Off The World

I use two great options to turn off the world. For my computer, an app called Freedom which blocks the internet and even access to apps if you want it to.

On my iPhone, I just set it to “Do Not Disturb” mode and that takes care of most of the issue. Once I’m working I tend to not have tons of desire to peruse apps or be on my phone, but if you have that problem when working then the Freedom app can help with that as well.

Just swipe up from the bottom of the screen to access DND mode

 

Hopefully this helps as we start the year out on our best collective feet. What other systems do you have in place?

Today I Turn 33

Today, I turn 33 years old. I don’t know why, but this birthday is hitting me harder than any in recent memory. I didn’t feel “old” when I turned 30. Last year was harder than previous as well, but this one *cough* takes the cake.

Rather than sit and feel bad for myself, I turned, rather, to my moleskin that has all of my notes and thoughts from the last year or so. I opened Evernote, and my voice notes, and my notes app, to search for things that I wanted to remember at a later date.

That said, here are 33 or so of those things that I wrote down, in the case some day in the future I needed them. Turns out today is that day: Continue reading Today I Turn 33

CREATE EVERY DAY: REDUX

A while back I wrote a post called CREATE EVERY DAY, where I outlined how important it is for creators to be putting time and effort into their craft and their business on a daily basis.

For the last few months, I haven’t been listening to my own advice. I’ve been spending WAY more time on the business aspect and not on the creative aspect. Rather than the 10+ hours a week I was doing before (and the ~40 hours per week when I was working on the screenplay for Hidden World: The Swordsman), I don’t know that I’ve spent even 2 hours a week on creating.

It sucks. I find myself a little depressed, massively unfulfilled, and in a rut.

So it’s time to get out of that rut. Time to create, time to recommit. Continue reading CREATE EVERY DAY: REDUX

A Few Thoughts On Slated.com


I joined Slated in 2014 after attending a producer breakout session at the American Film Market in early November. The speaker was the co-founder and CEO of slated.com, Steph Paternot.

He was compelling, confident, and it felt like I was hearing the answer to my prayers! They had created a site who’s sole intention was to connect independent producers and filmmakers with financing and distribution.

As we’ve used the site over the last year and a half, I wanted to write about our experience, why our expectations haven’t yet been met, and what I think both the users of the site and those running it could do to make it more valuable. Continue reading A Few Thoughts On Slated.com

Why We Paid $1250 To Validate Our Film

My greatest fear is that I don’t know what I don’t know.

The voices in my head go something like this:

“What if you’ve spent the last year, full time, writing a script, raising money, attaching actors, and producing a teaser, only to end up making a movie that sucks, and everyone around you saw it but you…”

That is seriously my greatest fear. Lucky for me (and for you), there’s a way to avoid this sort of outcome. Continue reading Why We Paid $1250 To Validate Our Film

THE PROCESS OF WRITING A SCREENPLAY

For the last year I’ve been working nearly full time on the screenplay for HIDDEN WORLD. This post will outline some of the big things I’ve learned over that time, and by the end hopefully convince you that the process of writing and revising a screenplay is an essential part of the roadmap to making a feature film. Continue reading THE PROCESS OF WRITING A SCREENPLAY

THAT MOVIE HAD HEART…

I had the opportunity to attend Sundance over the last two weekends. For the first time since living in Utah (15 years now…) I sprung for the Utah Locals pass which comes with 10 tickets to the films being shown at the festival. That was split between me & my business partner, but since he only wanted to see one movie, I got to see 7…oof.

Three movies in one day is a lot. Just sayin’. Continue reading THAT MOVIE HAD HEART…