I love a single-day project; a creative challenge that I can start and finish in a single session. It’s okay if that session is 16 hours long, because it’s the ultimate feeling of being in the zone, when you’re chasing that finish. As a creator of things, I have used single-day projects to experiment with new ideas, to learn or try new things, or just as a Sunday fun project.
It’s all about stepping out of your comfort zone in order to gain new insight and inspiration. It’s not about producing a masterpiece.
From an experimentation point of view, a single-day project can serve as a taste, to see if this new thing is as awesome/fun/doable as you imagine. Or just to see if you even like doing it. It can also expose weaknesses, areas where you’re going to need to partner with someone, if you’re ever to make this into a real project.
Single-day projects include
- Writing and recording a song
- Build a video game prototype
- Write a short story
- Shoot and edit a video
- Paint a painting
Sometimes, these projects just happen without much planning or preparation. However, I have found that with minimal prep, taking a mini project to the next level becomes simpler. The less you have to worry about the little things, the more you can focus on what you are actually trying to do.
Some things that can make your mini project flow better…
- Prepare snacks and drinks ahead of time
- Schedule in breaks every few hours
- Put your phone in do-not-disturb mode
- Have tools for manual note taking and doodling
- Make a playlist of inspiring music
Most importantly however, is that you try to define the final delivery. What are you making? Having a goal or end in mind is the best driver towards better productivity, as opposed to just seeing where things go.
Below is my most recent project of this nature, an instrumental track with accompanying music video. The music was written and recorded on the same day, the video was edited (using existing footage).
Also available for download via Bandcamp.
Good luck with your next single-day project!