Squeaky Wheels, Too Many Irons in the Fire, and Bilbo Baggins

How I Spent My Monday Night: The Muppet of Burlsque Show at Monday Night Tease!

“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” – Bilbo Baggins

Boy howdy, do I know the feeling. It’s a good feeling — I’m not complaining. I’m happy to have the problems I have because they are the problems of a creative individual. Problems like “I need to finish the costume I’m wearing next Monday Night” (as Brand from The Goonies) or “I need more jokes for the show I’m hosting Friday night” or “Seeing as how puppetry-type stuff is on my radar again, I should probably refresh my puppetry page on the website.” Stuff like that.

Starting with St. Patrick’s Day and culminating in next Monday night, I figure I will have exercised my full range of artistic skills. Making music, dancing, comedy, puppetry, etc. It’s all been on full display this month. That’s why I’ve been a little quiet here, at Mad Theatrics, and on Twitter. I’m busy doing stuff.

How does the creative multi-tasker get it all done? Red could probably give a better answer, because she is easily the most industrious person I know. But since she’s way too busy, I’ll give it a shot.

1. TO-DO LISTS. Seems obvious, eh? Well, this lackadaisical, lazy ass has learned the hard way to figure out what he needs to do before he starts doing. That way he doesn’t forget things. A bonus is, writing your to-dos down helps you do the next thing, which is …

2. PRIORITIZE. Some steps must be done before you can begin other steps. Sometimes you have to paint a prop first thing in the morning so it will be dry in time for the performance that evening. Hand washing a garment won’t wait until two hours before curtain. Blogging about having a lot on your plate will wait until midnight on a Wednesday.

3. EAT AND SLEEP. You will forget. You will get busy and totally blow past exhaustion and hunger. Then you’ll get cranky, make mistakes, etc. Take the time to eat and sleep.

4. SQUEAKY WHEELS. Put out the fires. This should probably go under “Prioritize,” but it’s late, and I’m tired and hungry. Seriously, sometimes you just have to prioritize based on what’s screaming at you the loudest.

5. LIMIT DISTRACTIONS. I still haven’t watched the last episode of Cosmos. At the rate I’m going, I might be able to squeeze it in on Saturday. I also tend to not drink much of the demon liquor when I’m in the midst of a whole lotta stuff.

6. MAKE A LITTLE TIME FOR BACK BURNER PROJECTS. As projects complete and come out of the queue, you’ll have more stuff entering the queue. Another way to put this might be INVEST IN YOUR FUTURE PRODUCTIVITY.

7. STEP AWAY BEFORE YOU BREAK SOMETHING. If you’re like me, you live about an eighth of an inch away from stack-blowing frustration. If you’re like me, you’ll have to learn to moderate yourself, and put the project down before you hurl it across the room. Letting frustration get the better of you only results in more work later. Go work on another of the dozen or so irons you have in the fire.

8. FINISH THINGS. Poke it with a fork, wrap it in a bow, put the cherry on top, and get it out of the queue. Don’t keep fussing with something you know is done. “How do I know it’s done?” Please, don’t bullshit a bullshitter. You know when you’re just fussing with something that’s done.

Having too much to do is a good thing. I’d much rather be exhausted from wrapping a show at 2 am after a week’s worth of writing and prop building and performing and and and than sitting on my ass watching the calendar pass me by. I’d rather be butter scraped over too much toast than butter sitting on a tray in the fridge.

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