One Hour To Work On Your Passion

Welcome to The Habit Blog

Here at Burning Boat we are always eager to challenge ourselves. For some time now, we have been experimenting with weekly and daily challenges that have been designed to test various methods of improving our everyday lives. 

We are excited to announce that we are officially releasing The Habit Blog! The Habit Blog is above all a space for people who want to grow and learn more about the bigger effect our habits have on our lives. Powerful habits lead to fulfilling lives while destructive habits create downward spirals. The Habit Blog will function on a pretty simple schedule. Each week starting on Monday morning we will take on a new daily habit. After a week of applying the new habit we will let you know the impact it had on us. We'll tell you how best to apply it, what not to do, and ideas for making it work better for your specific needs.

Habit #1

Effectiveness: 8/10            Effort: 7/10            Enjoyment: 7/10

This weeks habit challenge was to set aside an hour to work on a passion project every day. I've always been curious what I would do if I worked a different full time job and had to work on my passion after hours. Would I have the mental space to get anything valuable done? Would I let myself create excuses for passing on my passion? How much could I really get done in just an hour? 

My plan was to spend the day, starting at 8:30am, working on the tasks that I would normally undertake here at Burning Boat. These tasks include editing scenes for feature length films, uploading Youtube videos, sending emails, conducting Skype meetings, and posting content to various social media accounts. After I had finished my work day at around 6:00pm I would sit back down and work on a passion project for exactly 1 hour. No more, no less. I would do this for 7 days and see how much I could get done. 

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The passion project I decided to work on, was completely re-writing a script that I've been working on for over a year and a half. On Monday I started with a blank page and about 4 notebooks of half written scenes and ideas. When 6:00pm rolled around on the first day I was pretty tired from the days work I had already done. I knew then that this wasn't going to be easy.

I decided that I needed to reset, reenergise, and reprogram my brain for another hour of focused work. To do that, I did these 5 things.

  1. 10 pull-ups (to get my blood pumping)
  2. Made a non-alcoholic drink with ice (to make it more "fun")
  3. Tidied my desk and desktop (to reset my work space so that I could focus)
  4. Listened to the first 1:25 of the song Red Sex by Vessel (to "prime" myself with creative energy)
  5. Set my phone to airplane mode (to make sure I didn't get distracted during the hour)

I did one last thing which was set the timer on my phone to 1 hour and 1 minute, giving me one final minute to get in the zone. My previous feeling of being tired had completely gone away and I felt excited to get writing every single day. I wrote an average of 750 words over the course of 7 days. I was able to solve a number of significant plot issues as well as develop some new scenes that helped with the overall structure of the script.

With a tidy desk and no distractions I hardly ever got the urge to procrastinate. When I did feel like procrastinating, something as simple as taking a sip from my iced drink usually got me straight back into writing. It made me relax and in turn made me feel more confident about what I was writing. Less time spent questioning, meant more time writing. 

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With the exception of one day I was able to get more work done in a single hour than I had previously been able to do with a full day of working on the script. Normally I would dabble in and out of writing, getting distracted often, and second guessing what I was writing constantly. With only an hour, there wasn't time for any of that and I simply focused better. In the same way that you are able to write 1,500 words no problem in an exam, setting a time limit helped. 

Final Thoughts

The most interesting part of the experiment was that I could feel myself mentally preparing for my hour of writing during the day. Issues that I had discovered while writing the night before were being solved subconscious as I went about my day. During my lunch break I would make bullet point notes on what to write later on. I would also find inspiration in the books, tv shows, and movies I watched that week. When it came time for my hour I was ready to go and could maximise my productivity. 

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Finishing my script is a big priority of mine. If you want to try this habit out for yourself make sure that your Side-Project is something that you are really passionate about, otherwise it will be easy to just skip when it gets difficult. Getting up earlier in the morning to work for an hour before starting your day is something I am sure would be another interesting experiment. Let us know what works best for you!

Happy habit building!     

Mads