Weight-training offers a good metaphor for scheduling creative work.
No one can’t predict whether or not you’ll set a PR (personal record) before going to the gym. In fact, there will be many days when you’ll have a below average workout. Eventually, you’ll figured out that those below average days were just part of the process. The only way to actually lift bigger weights was to continually show up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday — regardless of whether any individual workout was good or bad.
Creating design work is no different than training in the gym. You can’t selectively choose your best moments and only work on the days when you have great ideas. The only way to unveil the great ideas inside of you is to go through a volume of work, put in your repetitions, and show up over and over again. Never settle on the first-go.
Obviously, doing something below average is never the goal. But you have to give yourself permission to grind through the occasional days of below average work because it’s the price you have to pay to get to excellent work.
If you’re anything like me, you hate creating something that isn’t excellent. It’s easy to start censoring your work, judging your work and convince yourself to not share something, not trying something new or different, and not ship something because “this isn’t good enough yet.”
But the alternative is even worse: if you don’t have a schedule forcing you to deliver, then it’s really easy to avoid doing the work at all. The only way to be consistent enough to make a masterpiece is to give yourself permission to create junk along the way.