Ever notice how one thing leads to another?
For example, let’s say you’re trying to sit down to write a song.
You walk into your study and it’s cluttered.
So you spend 15 minutes cleaning off your desk until you discover an old journal of writing with pictures tucked in the pages.
You sit on the floor and read through the old journal, looking at pictures until your spouse comes in and asks, “What time is dinner?”
Now you’re back in ordinary land, and you never got the song written.
Here’s another example -
You have been reading about the importance of posting on social media, but you can’t think of what to say.
You whip out the phone and scroll through trying to find something interesting from your friends to share on your page.
Next thing you know, you’re clicking through links, researching the best tactics for growing your social following, and taking notes about how to do it.
Half an hour goes by and you still haven’t made that post, but now you don’t care, because it’s later than you wanted to post. You put it off till tomorrow.
Does this sound familiar?
One or both of these scenarios has probably happened to most of us at one time or another, and there’s both good and bad that comes from one thing leads to another mentality.
Let’s take a look at both, and what makes them good or bad.
One Thing Leads To Another - Bad
As in life, it’s tough to find something that’s 100% bad.
There are usually degrees of good and bad in most things, and the same is true for one thing leads to another.
What’s the difference, then?
In general as a creative entrepreneur, we have a tendency to be right brain junkies.
That means that we love being in the creative flow, and will do almost anything to get our fix.
Even in business operations, we’re easily distracted by anything that tempts our creative fancy.
Being in the creative flow means that you’re focused in the right brain function.
This means that you can easily lose track of time, forget things, and put things out of order.
Or another tendency of right brain thinking is to see the big picture so much that you can’t make a decision because it’s all good.
How can you get anything done this way?
The key to making progress as a creative entrepreneur is to give yourself boundaries, and commit to staying within them no matter what.
This means that you use a timer for your creative and business activities, and that you only allow yourself to work on that task (and only that task) for the allotted time.
Setting a timer is helpful, because it keeps you from getting sucked into the creative vortex and neglecting important things like your family, or sometimes even forgetting to eat or sleep.
To quote Mr. Mackey from South Park, “This is bad, mm’kay.”
One Thing Leads To Another - Good
Now that we’ve explored the pitfall of one thing leads to another, now let’s look at the good side.
When you start out with a planned task and set your timer, you’re 100% focused on the task at hand.
You refuse to let yourself become distracted by something else that needs doing, and instead use the idea of creative limitation to stay true to your planned activity.
This does not mean that you ignore everything that pops up that you discover needs doing.
It does mean that instead of switching tasks to fix the new thing, that you instead make a note of it and come back later during another planned task period.
This simple act of writing down things that pop up instead of acting on them right away will prevent you from making all kinds of errors of time and judgement as your overworked, creative brain pogo sticks from one activity to another in constant motion.
As you’re doing the planned task, you will be rewarded not only by increasing your mental concentration ability, but also, you’ll be able to actually complete something.
Completing a task gives you a great sense of accomplishment, whereas leaping from one thing to another can cause you to never be able to complete anything, which is frustrating for you and everyone else around you.
The best reward of one thing leads to another, the good kind, is that you find little unexpected treasures along the way.
You know how when you clean out the closet, you find those lost sunglasses?
The same thing is true when you work at planned activities that are part of your proactive life.
A good example of this happened to me a few days ago when I was practicing my set along with my recordings.
I pulled up Amazon Music to stream my songs and play along, and found out that my new single “I Am Saved” has made it onto the Fresh Folk & Americana Playlist. How cool! This is an example of a bonus you get from the good kind of one thing leads to another.
Did I stop and share the news about getting on the playlist right away? No, I waited until I was done with my practice, and put the post into the next free block of time.
Ten years ago, I might not have had that kind of discipline or patience. But now, because I work at it daily, I do. So can you.
As you can see, the main difference between one thing leads to another being good or bad is planning.
If you plan ahead, and apply creative limitation, you will succeed with completing more work, faster, because you’re not constantly willy-nilly leaping from one thing to another.
Creative entrepreneurship can be very rewarding and a lot of fun if you have a few basic guidelines to keep yourself on track.
Being your own boss is tough, and it’s a completely different mindset from being an employee.
No one is going to tell you what to do, and that is also good and bad.
Learn to focus on your planned program of work, and to limit yourself to time blocks to give yourself the boundaries you needs to succeed as a songwriter and creative entrepreneur.
Got comments about this? Examples from your own life experience?
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