Grind Week: A Weekly Schedule Designed for Productivity and Creativity
Even though I am in the middle of a 365 project, this has not completely satisfied my ambition. I am still constantly consumed with this feeling that I’m not doing enough, that I’m wasting my time, that I’m lagging behind where I should be in my grand scheme. Therefore in addition to art a day, I will be starting what I am calling “Grind Week”. I think I may do this one week a month, but after I finish my 365 project I plan to take a week off from everything and then just start Grind Week 3 or 4 weeks a month.
Grind Week is a week where each day you have a separate focus and that is all you work and concentrate on for that day. 365 has recently been getting in the way of some other, larger projects that I need to be working on but couldn’t finish in a day so I don’t work on them. With Grind Week, I can make sure that these other projects are getting some attention until they can become my main focus. Grind Week is not so much about creating a product as it is maintaining focus and organization. Instead of bouncing around from task to task, you can focus your efforts and it allows a tunnel vision for your ideas and creativity. You will no longer wake up and think “What should I do today?” You wake up, check the schedule and know exactly what to concentrate on. Routines create discipline; breaking routines inspires innovation and creativity.
So without further delay, I present grind week. I believe that this formula can be emulated for any other artist, entrepreneur, or person simply interested in bettering themselves and developing a talent.
Monday: Inspiration // Exploration
People are always dazed and unproductive on Mondays anyway, right? So why not embrace it? Don’t fight those Mondays daydreams anymore; embrace them. Mondays will be completely focused on gaining inspiration. Wherever you find inspiration is where you go. If you gain inspiration from people then this will be a day to grab lunch with friends. If you find inspiration in nature then this will be the day for a hike. If you find inspiration from music or film then this will be a day to kick back and be entertained. You will be exploring life outside your norm. This will be a time for introspection, to explore your own mind. This will be a time for spontaneity.
It won’t be completely relaxed, though. You will need to bring a notebook to document your thoughts. Write down whatever inspires you, why it inspires you, and how you could use it in. This will be a time find your center, excitement, and motivation.
There will be always be things to learn. Even though you may not be in school anymore, educating yourself is still important. As you perfect you craft, you will need to learn all you can about it. This will be a time for reading books, for watching how-to videos, for reading informational videos. This will be a time to reach out to people that know more than you and pick their brain. A time to take a class online. If you are a hands on learner then this will mean time to get to work. On Tuesdays, you will learn the theory, you will seek to understand the reasons why, you will analyze the work of those you admire.
Wednesday: Big Project Grind
Now this is where the work begins. Wednesdays are now the new Mondays. This is the day you will work the hardest, the longest. That great idea you have that you haven’t done anything with will be brought to life on Wednesday. You’ll work on your screenplay on a Wednesday, you’ll write out a business proposal on a Wednesday, you’ll ignore your friends’ calls on a Wednesday, you’ll start shaking from too much caffeine on a Wednesday. You don’t have to finish anything, but you definitely have to work on something. Something big. This is the day that everything you do on every other day is in support of. Go ahead and stay up all nite. It won’t hurt you, I promise. You can sleep any other day. This is Wednesday.
Thursday: Experimentation / Wrapping up Wednesday
If Wednesday spills over into Thursday, that’s fine. Finish Wednesday; it is king. Otherwise, this will be a time for experimentation. Many cutting edge companies today (including Google), will give their employees 15-20% of their day to work on whatever they want. Over 50% of Google’s most innovative products and services were created during this time. Some companies will give their employees an entire month or two off a year for this time.
Whatever idea you have, however dumb it may be, give it a go on Thursday. Suspend your perfectionism for the day. You don’t have to finish these projects. Do something just to do it, just to see what would happen. What if I you did this, but did that instead of what I normally would? I wonder what would happen?
Friday: Marketing / Networking
It doesn’t matter about all the great things you’re doing the other days, if you no one knows who you are then no one will care and no one will hire you or buy your product. This is a day to post on social media, to gather your portfolio, to refine your website, to send your work or product to blogs. On fridays, you will reach out to like minded individuals, you will propose collaborations. You will ask for advice. You’ll hand out business cards, you’ll print out posters. You’ll mingle or stalk executives (depending on the situation). You’ll work on your list of dream places to work. You’ll apply to those jobs, you’ll keep applying to these jobs even if they aren’t hiring.
No one should be able to question your intentions on Friday. Everyone will know your name on Friday.
Saturday: Small Project Grind
On Saturday, your only goal is to create something. You start it in the morning and you have to finish it before you go to bed. It doesn’t have to be something elaborate; it just needs to be completed. During a 365 project, everyday is small project grind day so I may substitute this for something else. However, when I’m not working on Art a day anymore, I’ll be all about this. You must never stop completing projects. When you finish something, you look back on it, see all you did right, all you did wrong, learn from it, and create something better with the next project. You can’t spend all your time on the technique; at some point you have to put what you’ve learned into a product. If one of your big projects is really close to being finished, you can use Saturday for big projects too (or if you’re in the middle of a 365 project, Saturday can be your other Wednesday).
Sunday: Other Skills
Creativity should never be limited to a single outlet. You have what you do and then all those other skills related to it. This is the day to cultivate those other skills. For me, this would be a day solely for writing, graphic design, and photography. However, you can also use this as a day to explore other outlets that you would never take the time to otherwise. Something you’ve always been interested in, but never took the time to learn about. Learn how to play the guitar, for example. Go rock climbing. Practice public speaking in front of the mirror. You will be a better and more rounded individual thanks to Sunday.