How to maximize your productivity as a creative

How to maximize your productivity as a creative

When you're a creative and a multipotentialite, there's a good chance you've got your fingers in too many pies.

Sorry, I hate that expression. Let's try that again.

When you've got a lot going on (creative, multipotentialite), you're probably working on at least 5 things in your brain right now. At least 5. If you do what I've done, and make a physical list of all of the things you're working on or would like to be working on, you may be surprised.

Some things on my list, besides my full time job:

And that's really just half of my list. Let's not forget regular self upkeep like exercise, cleaning, endless laundry, etc.

Clearly there are only so many things you can get done in a day. But when your list is this long or when your projects are this big, there are some things that will inevitably fall off of your to-do list.

Or, some tasks may disappear from your to-do list but may end up taking up valuable mind power by churning in the background.

What to do about this?

First, don't get defeated at your killer to-do list

The important thing to realize is that as a creative person, you're going to have a lot going on. It's what keeps you going and helps you feel fulfilled.

Think of your to-do list as a passion project list.

These are things that you would love to complete but need to remember that any progress towards completion is an inevitable part of the journey and is going to be rewarding at every moment.

When people ask you "What do you do?" or "What are you working on?" don't be afraid to tell them that you're writing a book and designing a line of handbags while you learn to play the drums.

Second, clear out unnecessary wasted time in your life

When you have this much going on, those hours of unproductive personal time that is supposed to be "relaxing" can actually be quite harmful to your momentum.

Try to avoid activities that will leave your brain feeling like mush. I'm pointing at you, TV.


Third, not all personal time is unproductive time

The adage of "getting away from your desk is most inspirational" is true. Get out there and experience life. Relax your mind by focusing on other areas of the brain by exercising. Or by painting instead of writing, reading instead of designing websites.

Soon you'll start to see that you can hit a lot of your points on your Passion Projects list simply by switching from one area to another. Which leads us to this:

Fourth, work on your priorities for a little each day

By organizing your "free" time into creative blocks, you'll be able to work on multiple projects at once.

Huge bonus?

By switching from one Passion Project to the other, you'll help yourself stay motivated since you'll be taking inspiration from one project to another. Essentially, you'll be cross-pollinating your creativity.

Be sure to set time limits for yourself. I recommend at least 30 minutes per project area, and max of 90 minutes at a time so you don't burn out.

Try this method

  1. Grab a piece of paper and list all of your Passion Projects.
  2. Tape this to your wall or the front of your notebook.
  3. Each day, grab a new piece of paper.
  4. Choose about 5 priority Passion Projects and list them at the top.
  5. Make a list of your free time by half-hour chunks. Fill up your day!
  6. Leave at least one 30-minute block at the end of the day to tie up loose ends. Use this time to create your list for tomorrow, too.
  7. Turn off distractions for each time block!

Give my tried and true productivity method a shot. I'd love to hear how it goes for you.