And here we are to the last of our SMART series. About time, heh? (see what I did there?)
I quickly brushed on this before. Of all the SMART attributes any objective should have to facilitate accomplishment, I love for my objectives to be Time-bound, first and foremost. Why? Because I am a professional procrastinator.
It all started when I was *insert any age* and my mother would ask me, generally shouting from another room, to do something for her. I don’t know if she knew I was a writer, but although she tended to be very specific (“I need you to come here and empty the dishwasher!“) and all her requests were measurable, attainable, not relevant to me but clearly relevant to her (and therefore valid), she always made the same mistake which allowed me to use the magic words: I’LL DO IT LATER.
She eventually, unfortunately, discovered the power of having a time-bound objective and her requests became denoted by a single, powerful word, strategically put at the end of her sentence to guarantee dramatic effect: I need you to come here and do this NOW.
It was a tough call, because I had to decide between scream-fighting from a room to another for half hour or just get the hell up, do it and f back off in my own room.
We procrastinate because we don’t like the things that we are asked to do. We also procrastinate because we like the things that we are asked to do – even by our own selves – so much that the idea of possible failure is enough to freeze us. And when we find ourselves facing the Goliath of a massive thing such as producing a show, this possibility of failure multiplies into a trillion of things enough to give a heart attack to a Tibetan monk.
Below a rough draft of what putting a show on has been like for me in the past 5 months:
Now that you have seen this graph, erase it from your mind. There is no point in handling all these things all at the same time, nor even to consider their existence, all at the same time. I almost gave myself an anxiety attack by simply working on this stupid graph.
Every little box has an implication of failure. What if I budget wrongly and I find myself overspending; what if my copy is shit; what if my crowd funding campaign doesn’t work; what if the theatres I send my script to all hate me; what if the space sucks; what if it is only available during the May Bank Holiday and that’s it; what if the contract states we can only perform walking on the ceiling; what if no director wants to do this shit; what if only Peter Brook wants to do it for one trillion pounds and transforms my script into another version of the Mahabharata and by contract I have to personally feed him breakfast every morning and then he dies one month before the show and all rehearsals are to be cancelled and what if, what if, what if.
You want to know how I silence all these thoughts? I don’t. I simply cover them with the dreadful sound of a ticking clock.
One of the things that I love about Katharina is that every time we meet she puts up a deadline for something. Without ever discussing, me and her, exactly how we plan on doing things, we find ourselves quite synced in the understanding that once the blah blah is done, we will do one thing at a time, we will not be scared to ask / remind the other what there is to be done, and we will do them according to a strict deadline. Because life is more of a soap-opera than a film, deadlines do get screwed up, but the important thing is to reschedule and to do it for an attainable time. Kat is a bit awesome. Just like me.
So, yeah. Prepare to freak out. Prepare not to sleep much, gain a bit of weight and stare into emptiness while you are at the pub with friends, making your mental lists while they down the nth beer and draw balls on your face. But, with every accomplished task there comes a feeling of warmth in your chest you will never be able to forget. Until you remember the next thing to do, that is 😉