Essentials Project : Project Clutter

When I introduced my Essentials Project, I mentioned that I want to start cutting down my possessions to get to what is really important to me. Well, there’s another any of my life that I’ve realized is totally out of control — my projects.

Take a look at that picture. Those pieces of paper list the current projects that are on my plate. I started making a list of what I’m working on last night, typing each one in big letters so I can read them easily on my wall (and using different fonts for each one for clarity and because I love fonts.) Each line is a project that is supposed to be bringing in money.

And yet — I’m not bringing in very much money at all right now.

Once I typed out all the projects, my problem because totally obvious to me; I have way, way too much on my plate. Very very few of my projects are automated. My assistant Crystal is only working on a couple of them and the work she’s doing doesn’t directly relate to brining in income. Almost all of those 21 projects require my work and attention to nearly every details.

I’d saying I’m drowning in projects but let me put it another way — my projects are drowning because of ME and it’s not fair to either the projects or the people who could benefit from them.

So this becomes one area that I really need to cut down to eseentials. I need eliminate, delegate, automate and otherwise do things to let these projects to live and breathe.

Anyone else have the same problem? Do you have too many projects or too few?

Add Erica Goldson To The Hero List

Erica is a high school valedictorian who may have written the best speech ever given in a high school. . Go read it now but here’s a little bit of it.

I am now accomplishing that goal. I am graduating. I should look at this as a positive experience, especially being at the top of my class. However, in retrospect, I cannot say that I am any more intelligent than my peers.
I can attest that I am only the best at doing what I am told and working the system. Yet, here I stand, and I am supposed to be proud that I have completed this period of indoctrination. I will leave in the fall to go on to the next phase expected of me, in order to receive a paper document that certifies that I am capable of work. But I contest that I am a human being, a thinker, an adventurer – not a worker. A worker is someone who is trapped within repetition – a slave of the system set up before him.
But now, I have successfully shown that I was the best slave.
I did what I was told to the extreme. While others sat in class and doodled to later become great artists, I sat in class to take notes and become a great test-taker. While others would come to class without their homework done because they were reading about an interest of theirs, I never missed an assignment. While others were creating music and writing lyrics, I decided to do extra credit, even though I never needed it. So, I wonder, why did I even want this position? Sure, I earned it, but what will come of it? When I leave educational institutionalism, will I be successful or forever lost?
I have no clue about what I want to do with my life; I have no interests because I saw every subject of study as work, and I excelled at every subject just for the purpose of excelling, not learning. And quite frankly, now I’m scared.

New Habits

After about of week of moving and with a ton of work above and beyond the call of duty from my son Shane, Lauren and I finally got completely and totally moved out of our apartment yesterday. After nearly five years back in Southern California, we’ve taken the first step towards the next big phase in our lives.

I’m still working at NBC for the next four weeks or so, I think. In the meantime, Lauren, Jack, Olivia, me and a cat or so are all crammed into a very small hotel room about 15 minutes up the freeway from our old place. And crammed isn’t an exaggeration because there’s also 20 or so boxes of our stuff.

One of the keys to staying sane in tight quarters is trying to get out of them as much as you need to. So this morning about 6:00am I headed out to Starbucks. I signed up for their Card Rewards thing so now I get 2 hours of free Wifi a day.

In addition to my other pursuits, one of the new habits I’ve cultivating is ‘let’s make some damn money’. So, away from the room crowded with stuff I own and people I love, I had a coffee and got the following done…cleared my email inbox, new post on, a couple of ads from Craigslist selling stuff, suggested to a friend how they can make a little money and then got a latte to bring back to Lauren.

All before 8:15. So I’m happy with that!

The Economy Sucks…

Yes, the ecnomy is awful and headed towards a worse place with high unemployment but…

It’s never been within the reach of so many people to educate themselves on so many different subjects.

It’s never been easier to find bargains, comparison shop, or research purchases.

It’s never been cheaper to start, manage and promote a business.

There’s never been a point in history where artists had access to so many different tools in all media, from the visual arts to music to filmmaking.

Which means nothing to you if you don’t take advantage of it…

When Tools Are Free

The three images below aren’t photographs. The rooms and objects in them don’t actually exist anywhere. They were all creating in a computer graphics package. If you click on the images, you can see them in more detail, too.

Each images was made with different software programs. One piece of softwares costs about $5000, another about $2000 and the third software package is open source and totally free. Look at the images – can you tell which one is which?




Three different artists, three different software programs, three radically different price points. One big barrier to entry. One large barrier to entry. No barrier at all.

$5000, $2000, totally free

Thirty years ago, if you wanted to do computer graphics it would have cost you a million dollars for the computer. At least. Twenty years ago, the price of admission was around $20,000. Today, any computer you buy for $600 at Best Buy would smoke the $1,000,000 or $20,000 hardware options by a factor of at least ten.

What happens when the tools become totally free? What happens when any laptop recording studio is a hundred times more powerful than the gear the Beatles used to record Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on? What happens when HD camcorders are $150 and your video can be broadcast worldwide, right now?

The art doesn’t get better. There isn’t mor a hundred times more good art floating around, is there? But I don’t think it’s all worse, either. There were plenty of bad albums in 1967, too.

There’s just MORE. A lot more. And it’s not going to stop.

One thing that happens when tools are free; you don’t have THAT excuse anymore. You can’t say, “If only I had the money for that ONE piece of gear….” The tool is available. What are you waiting for? Then it’s a matter of whether you put in your time. Pay your dues. Make it work for you.

So, here we are in 2009 and the tools are out there. Do you really have a story to tell? Do you really have anything to say? Some feeling you want to express, some way you need to connect to other people?

That’s free, too. Now, what are you waiting for?