36 Years Ago

36 Years Ago, Vienna 1971—A Student Journal

Day 088: Beyond routines—start a new project


Vienna 1971—A Student Journal
A year of music, study, travel, sightseeing & friends.

Day 88 — Beyond routines—start a new project
29-October-1971 (Fri.)


Didn’t get quite as much done today. Practiced, got $, information, and went to electronic music classes. I found out that [Professor] Cerha, one of my professors, is a pretty big composer and conductor of contemporary music in Vienna. In class, he seems to portray being a typical “deep in thought, concentrating, inside” type person. I also found out [Professor] Kaufmann went to France (Paris) for (I think) involvement in a concert there. Kaufmann also seems to be well known.


A typical day. In electronic music classes, we have Professor Cerha, a well-known, contemporary composer speak to us. He was introspective, intelligent, and interesting. Of course, my German kept me from understanding a lot of what was said. Professor Kaufmann is in Paris, perhaps giving another performance of

Life is routine. This is the third day in a row that I have been having a “typical” day. Why is this surprising? It shouldn’t be. Most of us will do our daily routines for the rest of our lives. Sometimes there is a bit of excitement, sometimes not. That’s fine, that’s life.

Do something new. You can spice up a daily routine, whether young or old, by doing something new. Write down your ideas in a notebook—perhaps those ideas will turn into a book, or a website. Publish a podcast, using Garageband on the Mac. Remember, a podcast can be your own radio or video show on the Internet. Already have a Mac or PC? Add a camera or camcorder to your setup, and start taking digital photos and digital movies. Create a website and publish those photos and movies to the web, Flickr, or YouTube. Write or sing a song. Choreograph a dance. There are plenty of creative things that you can do. If you're not in a creative mood, get outdoors and play some tennis or soccer, or take an invigorating walk. Find something (new) you enjoy, and do it.

Daily routine. My 2007 routine, like most of us, would read “boring:” get up, do get-up stuff, eat, go to work, eat, go home, sometimes go to second job, go home, eat, do a little evening stuff, do go-to-bed stuff, sleep. Repeat. Even if you like your job, and I generally do, routines are routine. A good project will break up those dull routines.

Project ideas. We live in exciting times. The power of technology—computers, software, the Internet, podcasting, websites—offers us a platform to do something with our ideas. Here is how I have approached my projects over the last couple of years, offered in the form of causal tips.

Write down ideas in notebooks. Write down the goals you want to accomplish, your ideas, and anything else, in a notebook. Also write down plans for how to implement those ideas. These ideas can be about books, stories, songs, blogs, photography, web ventures, podcasts, TV shows, or whatever excites you. It’s fun and a great outlet for creativity.

Take one idea and develop it seriously. After writing and thinking about your ideas, take one and think about developing it. As an example, for more than a year I did a lot of development work on a podcast topic that excited me. (The podcast is on hold for technical reasons.) The planning and development was fun and exciting. After the podcast, I started to develop other similar web-based project ideas that are ongoing now. Writing down your ideas will give you many things to think about. It will help you remember them (that's a big one). When ready, focus in on one or two ideas and develop them more fully.

Create time for your project. Projects and ideas can take a great deal of time to plan and implement. After the project is up and running, it will require more time to keep it afloat. If you believe in the project, it will be fun and exciting, no matter how much effort and work you put into it. Set aside time to do it.

Execute the project. Try to get at least one idea off the ground. It is not always easy—we are all busy. My blog was just one of many ideas, but it was the easiest to get going from a technical and resource point of view. It was executed first. It helped that the timing of the blog—to match up the “day” of the journal entry to the same day 36 years later—forced me to do this side project first.

I have an easy time with ideas. My difficulty is the execution of the project.

Project killers. The most common project killers are time, resources, money, and commitment.

Time. How do we possibly find the time to do these projects?

Resources. Resources can be defined as people and technical expertise that you might need to execute an idea. For example, if you are doing anything related to the web, you may need to hire web programmers and designers, if you cannot do it yourself. It is also not easy to find people that you can afford. Blogging is the exception to web applications. You can easily publish a blog using blogging software or blogging services—you don't need to hire someone for your blog.

Money. That brings us to money, the nemesis of all startup businesses. You need some money to get going. If you are the web programmer and designer your cost is greatly reduced. If not, you have to hire someone.

Commitment. Finally, you need the commitment and desire to get the project executed and then keep it going.

If you can overcome these four project killers, you will get your project up and running.

I am starting all of my projects with very little money, by myself, and with just a bit of time. Time is the one thing I need more of. Only now am I starting to look for resources to help me program my websites. I do have a great deal of commitment and desire. I will take one step at a time.

So, give it a go. Add some spice to your daily routine. You can do it.


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