This morning I will be completing my unified theory of productivity. From idea to content to publication to archiving – everything connected and organised and working together. After years of research, trial and error I am close to achieving productivity nirvana.
Just a couple of tweaks and I will be there. Many highlighters, notepads and apps gave their lives in this pursuit. They will be remembered.
I will finally be able to sit back and see how all my work is connected and flows seamlessly from stage to stage.
It’s a shame I will be too tired to actually do anything creative.
Do you ever spend time doing the wrong thing?
Any creative task or project requires a series of steps. The steps will vary depending on your goal for the completed project, but in general, the following overview is pretty accurate:
We don’t need to finish something as soon as we start it. The process above doesn’t have to be completed for each project, or idea, before we can contemplate another. Some ideas flow simply from beginning to end. That’s fine. If they do, go with the flow. At other times, that doesn’t happen. We’ll get tired. We may get frustrated that our hands aren’t doing what our brain is telling them to do.
When I feel very creative, it seems like I have tapped into some cosmic stream of ideas. When this happens I need to capture them and work on them. It could be musical themes, streams of powerful prose or ideas for this here blog. Quite often when I get into this creative zen zone I don’t just get one idea… or two. The ideas don’t stop, they keep coming. It’s like I have sent out a message into the universe for an idea and I am getting replies from every sentient soul that ever existed. So I capture them to a level that I will be able to return to them when I get more time.
When this happens the thought of completing an idea is far off. This is the capture time. Here the wild creative thoughts are to be tamed for later use. We can batch ideas. If we feel creative then focus on creative tasks. When the words are flowing and you finish that blog post, or that scene or that journal page… keep going, begin another. You don’t need to finish what you begin here, but keep writing. Keep writing until the words dry up. This may mean starting several projects. It’s batching the creative process.
Sometimes creativity isn’t flowing. Because, as hard as it is to believe when the ideas are flowing, sometimes the ideas flow like mountains don’t! The words aren’t coming and the paint is simply drying on our palette. When this happens, what other jobs in the creative process can be done? Do you need to jot down ideas? What about updating your blog or website? Has that twitter icon been the same one for five years? Do the accounts need doing? Are all your listings on Etsy up to date? Just as we can batch creative tasks, we can batch our admin type actions for when the creative ideas aren’t flowing.
We can edit when we can’t write. We can take photos of our art and share on social media when we can’t paint. We can tell others of the work we have finished when other projects remain incomplete due to a creative barren spell.
When you batch similar activities together you get a lot more done in the long run. When creativity strikes, be creative, when it isn’t there, try admin.
Make the most of when we feel creative, but make the most of when we don’t too.
February, was for me, like many, a bit of a drab month. Things weren’t looking great as it began, although I felt very optimistic. Things picked up though and that pick-up has continued in March.
So a quick review of what is happening:
I set myself some daily and weekly goals and, although haven’t always achieved them, it has kept my projects moving forward.
I have also been doing a fair bit of freelance work so I am very happy that I have been able to maintain both my own creative projects and the freelance work.
I am doing these reviews each month for myself, as a way of being accountable, but also to show that by recording what you do, you can see how far you have travelled. Don’t be unduly worried if some months the journey appears to have been in the wrong direction, that’s the whole point of recording where you are, so you can see where you want to be and so change what you are doing.
Have you achieved what you intended to in March?
I drift. I like to think it is down to my creative nature. A good dose of day dreaming is just what the ideas factory in my head requires to keep churning out original stories and music. However, what is the point of a great concept or idea if it never gets realised? This is where having goals has really helped me.
I have created daily, weekly, monthly and short and long-term goals for all the main areas of my life. The long-term goals are reached by the daily, weekly, monthly and short-term goals. Atarting with a daily goal each step feeds into the next. For instance:
I have hundreds of pieces of music and songs in various stages of completion.
As you can see my daily goals feed through to my long-term goals and each of my long-term goals has a daily action.
I have a similar approach to writing and releasing fiction, but more of that in another post. I am in the process of making sure my day reflects my goals. This is helping me to stay on track and not drift.
Since organising myself with these goals I have become a creative juggernaut. It might be the new year and a renewed vision, but I am sure the goals are helping. Everything I do on a daily basis, well almost everything, feeds into a long-term goal, be it vocational, physical, mental, social or spiritual. It’s not a hard concept to grasp, if we want to get somewhere we have to move toward it. Setting goals has helped me with both clarifying the destination and taking regular steps.
Do you want to go somewhere?