Tuesday, August 2, 2016

5 Tips to be More Creatively Productive!

Time Management:

I am just going to say it: I hate schedules. To me the represent the antithesis of the creative spirit and impulsivity; however, as a blogger, artist and professional, I have found that I will easily forget important tasks or waste my time without some structure to my week. You have to find the right balance of organization versus flexibility to optimize your time without killing your creative process. Some people love to create detailed “roadmaps,” breaking down to the minute each activity throughout the day with color-coordinated highlights… Eck! Not for me, but if that works for you then by all means use it.

Here is how I schedule – “To Do List!” I generally do not plan out each day, but the tasks to be completed each week. Any task that must be done every day, like posting two photos on Instagram each day + 20min liking my follower’s pics, I list accordingly: the name of the activity and a box for each day that I need to do that activity. I simply check mark a box once I complete the task that day.

Here is my loose “schedule” “To Do List!” for this week:

Instagram (20min on Likes):

Twitter (3-4 Tweets Each Day)

Facebook Page Posts:

Comment on Other Blog’s Facebook Pages

Google+ (2 New Posts and 10min +1s/Comments)

Join Blog Linkups

Practice Guitar (20-30min)

Practice Redwood Duo Concert Set (Piano, 30min)

Exercise (45min)

Any project that does not need to be repeated I simply list, like so:

Write “Productive Creative Life” Blog Article (by Tuesday)

Write “Color Mixing (painting)” Blog Article (by Next Tuesday)

Write “Cats + Linkup” Blog Article (By Thursday)

Create New Photo Contest (Image)

Photography (Take New Photo Set)

Edit Frames - Painting Video

Record Voice Over/Audio Edit Painting Video 

Apply to Arts/Craft Show

Mail Sold “Baja” Painting

Create Two New Paintings (2-6 hours)

Once a project has been completed, I cross it off my list (oh so satisfying!). Now this may be an ambitious list to some, but that’s ok, anything that I do not complete will be rolled over to the following week. This list does not include every task that I complete during the week (household cleaning, etc.), but only those undertakings that relate to creative projects or blogging.   

Here are two “To Do List” layouts from Amazon that would work well with my system:   

Get Inspired!

Watch, read or check out the work of another artist who inspires you at least once a week. There are many great artists who share their work on Google+, YouTube, Twitter… see what they are creating this week, and get inspired by it! It is nice to know that you are part of a community of other people who are also creating new things. This is a handy way to get out of a slump, to get motivated, and to feel less isolated from the rest of the world.

Right now, I follow many different artists, but this week I am enjoying the work of Liam Rainsford, Dave Usher, Mark Crilley, and Bonnie Wiltse, among others. Be careful, don’t go binge-watching YouTube videos and not get anything accomplished. I will watch a video or spend 10 minutes looking at photographs or artwork, but not more than that. 

Mark C. 

Bonnie W. 

Easy Does It:

Now that you have your “To Do List,” start with the easiest task first. Why? Because you want to get the ball rolling, starting your productive day. If you are like me, a procrastinator, you have to begin somewhere, and the easiest task, usually the fastest to complete, will jump-start your motivation to get things done. Generally, I find that a snowball effect occurs: once I finish one task, I am energized to complete others.

After you finish an easy project, next begin the most necessary task for that day. For example, I started with my Instagram first thing yesterday morning, while I prepared my wife’s breakfast and lunch for her day at work. Once she was out the door, I began writing this article, a necessary task because it had to be posted today (Tuesday). As an aside, I usually like to be at least a week ahead with my blogging, but after my trip to California last week for that educational conference, I am running a bit behind.

Balance the Fun/Not-Fun Tasks

If you spend a day working on several necessary tasks all in a row, be sure to take some time and work on a fun creative project the following day (if possible). It is much harder to be productive if you dislike every task that you must complete. 

If I were to rank my projects for this week, the most fun project would either be capturing the new photo set or creating two new paintings. On the other hand, my least “fun” task will be editing the painting video, because I find the process somewhat tedious (doesn’t require much mental engagement). Be sure that you include a few activities that you enjoy during your week to keep up your productivity.  

Optimize Your Work Environment!

Some sources suggest listening to upbeat music to get motivated, but I would add the caveat of listening only if it does not imped productivity. Work in a well-lit space, preferable natural lighting, and sitting up in a chair. For those of you who work at home, avoid working in bed, I know it sounds like the dream, but it really seems to kill my perseverance whenever I have tried to do so. Feel free to take breaks, but set a timer, to remind yourself to get back to work. If you work best in a clean area, then be sure that you have one. Cleaning your space a couple times each week can even be one of your “To Do List” goals. Most importantly, find out what works for you and then stick to it! 

Here's a great reminder article that I wrote about the importance of perseverance: "Thoughts on Perseverance."  

That's All!

All right, there are my five tips for being more productive creatively. These of course can be applied to any tasks, not just creative or blog related ones, but they do work well to increase my productivity each week. In all honesty, some weeks are much better than others, but overall, keep striving towards your goals, call on your perseverance, and be productive today!

Question of the Day:

What system do you use to stay productive? 

Let me know in the comment section below or on the 

Have a fantastic, productively creative week! 


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