We often understand productivity and creativity as qualities that are opposite to each other. However, when you work in the creative field, productivity and creativity go hand in hand. Broadly speaking, creativity and inspiration lead to innovation – and that leads to productivity.
Now, what is productivity? To be productive means to be efficient. Efficiency in the creative field is directly proportional to the level of quality. And if you are able to accomplish your goals faster, the better. Remember that you should first focus on doing things top-notch.
If you’re a designer or a writer or an artist of any kind, people expect you to be creative at all times, no matter whether you had a bad night or a bad week, if you’re burnout or bored or you want to do something else. Once labeled as a creative person, that means you must always be that way.
In reality, things are a little bit different. Creative people are not creative machines. And that’s ok.
Protect your time
Even if you’ve got your time rented for an employer, as a creative you most probably have a flexible working schedule.
If you’re at the office, but your mind isn’t, just go somewhere else. Take your day off or something. Instead of struggling several hours on that chair, in front of your laptop, knowing that you’ll just pretend to work until the end of the program, better go home and who knows? You can even do something useful with your time. You might not finish your task, but at least you won’t feel bad about yourself for uselessly sitting on that chair and scrolling like a digital hamster.
Detaching yourself from your work for a while can sometimes bring you closer to it. And that is productive.
Practice smart procrastination
Looking for inspiration for a project is a big part of your work. It takes quite some time and it can get frustrating. If you’re in that stage, you should have a brief, a plan, and a deadline. Otherwise, you will most probably spend days looking for inspiration. You’ll lie to yourself that you actually did something and you’ll slow down those who’re working with you on the same project. Eventually, you’ll get stuck because there are so many cool things out there that you can’t decide what to do next. Shortly put, you’ll procrastinate.
Sure, do that, but be smart about that. Accept the fact that there’s no such thing as perfection, no matter how much time you spend scrolling on Pinterest or Behance. Don’t get yourself distracted by pretty stuff only because they’re pretty. If it doesn’t help your project and doesn’t express your client’s vision, just move on. Cmd+D/Ctrl+D, and move on, actually. 🙂
Not getting stuck in this stage means being productive.
Set an end time before the actual deadline
Just to avoid procrastinating and unnecessary stress. Think about it, finishing something before reaching the deadline is just like giving yourself a small gift. You’ll have time to destress yourself, get yourself together, detach a little bit. And maybe take a little time to think about the best ways to showcase your idea.
Organize your calendar
It actually works, having a timetable like those you had when you were at school. Organize your hours, days, or weeks. Track your tasks and improve the way you allocate time. At first, you’ll do a terrible job. You won’t be able to estimate how much time you spent on certain tasks. You’ll either work too much or too less, in relation to what you set out to do. Most probably, you’ll work more.
Recurrent tasks are the easiest ones to track. Meetings (which are part of your creative daily work) are the hardest. If they’re useless, if they don’t help the project at all, if they dry you of inspiration and motivation, just say no to them. And go on with what you’re doing. Don’t forget to track, track, track.
In the end, you’re doing yourself a favor by knowing how much time you spend on your work. And how much is it worth it.