Let's talk about how to get organized and be productive for creative mind. It's tough, right? Organizing is the key to productivity, especially with creative minds (and sometimes extra coffee). We like to let our brains free flow through the day to come up with our brilliantly creative ideas. It's great to improvise, but having a good, clear start to the day, taking breaks to regroup, grab a snack, doodle for minute – can help turn a regular day into a super productive, maybe even feel like a super hero, day!
My husband and I both work from home running our own businesses. Creative businesses at that. I'm an illustrator and my Mister is a commercial architect. Talk about a house full of creative brains… sometimes I'm surprised our kids aren't wearing hot glued clothes and eating paint for breakfast. We somehow manage to keep organized and stay on track. It's not easy staying productive and focused while running a business and a household… add in two creative minds and you might think it's a miracle things are getting done anywhere. It's the routine and caffeine! Today I'm going to share with you our tips for staying organized and productive, despite our creative free thinking brains.
Getting organized and being productive takes work. Once you get a system down and stick with it, you're going to be one awesomely productive creative genius! (I know you've already got genius part working for you.)
I've been working for myself since 1998 – that's what, almost 2 decades! My husband started his business in 2009 after years of “working for the man”. With extra support, a lot of long talks and gallons of coffee, he took the leap and turned a dream into reality. I pushed a little, but he did all the heavy lifting and made it happen… And he never looked back! 7 years later business is booming and he's waking up excited to work every day. Although he will tell you, nothing happens until he's had his coffee. Seriously, the man claims to not be able to think until there's coffee in his system. That's step one in his daily routine!
If you love what you do,
you’ll never work a day in your life.
I think one of the toughest things to learn when starting your own business, is how to stay self motivated and turn that motivation into productivity. There's a lot of go-getters out there. But going and getting, when there isn't anyone watching what you're up to, can be tricky.
I get asked all the time ” how do you stay organized, how do you get everything done?”.
My first answer is… I don't. My second answer is, you have to get organized and stay on task, on purpose.
Organized and Productive – Tips for Creative Minds
There are plenty of ideas for staying on track. You can grab a planner or a calendar or Evernote or any other tool you'd like. The trick isn't in the resource you use as much as it's in the routine and the process. It's easy to get organized and you're sure to see some productivity when you start. The key is to stay organized and keep that productive flow going. You have to be willing to keep yourself in check and stick with your routine, every day.
I originally wrote this post 3 years ago as a sponsored post with Collective bias and Stok cold brew coffee. Good tips for our busy creative minds never get old!
Make a list
Grab your morning coffee, pen and paper write down all the things you hope to accomplish throughout the day. Write down your goals or your literal todo list.
Set a schedule
Some projects might have actual deadlines and sometimes projects are open ended. Give yourself some timelines to get things finished… just for the day. You can have your long term goals, but the day to day accomplishments are what get you to your goals.
Coordinate those deadlines with other activities you have. With longer projects, it's important to set time limits so you don't end up working until 2am because you forgot to tell yourself to stop. Home offices are the worse for this. Don't overlook your schedule! I sit down with my husband and go over the schedule for the day. We compare notes, coordinate where we need to and then go on with the day.
If I skip this step, I'm all SQUIRREL all day long. I don't want to end the day with that feeling of “I was busy doing nothing all day”. Neither do you! Look… another pretty picture. Don't do that!
Review yesterday's notes
If you're going through this routine every day, you should have notes from yesterday. Run through them real quick to make sure you aren't missing anything for today.
Allow doodle time – Aka Playtime
Sometimes you just need time to ponder what you're doing, where you are and where you are trying to go. Don't stop this. Your creative brain needs to roll things around in that brilliant head of yours once in a while. For me… I like to draw pictures just because and I also like to color. My husband likes to move his brain to a completely different activity, away from his drawing table. Whatever works for you, take a few minutes to regroup. This is kind of like a break, with a purpose.
Be realistic with your time
My husband used to have to remind me that “not everything is 15 minutes away”. This is true with how long it takes us to do things. You might be an amazing painter, but that doesn't mean every painting will take an hour (or 3 months, or whatever). So make sure you give yourself adequate time to get things done. This also applies to a single day's work. Give yourself some wiggle room with the timelines to make sure you don't over commit to what you think you can finish in a day.
I've been known to forget to eat lunch… quite often. That's not good for my health but also my creative mojo. Step back, do something completely different. If you don't want to stop because you're worried about losing your groove or forget what you're doing, write down your ideas on a little note pad and just go grab a snack. This is when I take a mid-morning or afternoon coffee break. That little pause and extra caffeine helps put my brain back in gear ready for another round of creative goodness!
Every now and then we both take a break and go out to lunch, like a mid day date. Or lately we've been doing a mid-day run around the neighborhood to catch some Pokemon. Go ahead, chuckle, I know many of you that play too!
Close your day
At the end of the day, pause to review what you accomplished for the day. Look at what you get get to and make notes for tomorrow. Then put it all away so you can step away and enjoy the rest of the day or evening doing whatever you love to do when you aren't working.
Let's talk about the coffee!
Hot coffee isn't always good all day long. So we like to grab a cold glass once in a while. I just recently tried SToK™ brand cold brew iced coffee, the “not too sweet” option… and I LOVE it. Throw some ice in a glass and pour, that's it. No cream, no extra sugar… although, I think mixing it with some ice and blending it might be a delicious slushy too! Have you tried it?
More about SToK™ Cold Brewed Ice Coffee
SToK™ is slow-brewed Arabica Blend coffee with no weird ingredients. (It has a Brazilian Blend Flavor profile). I bought my coffee from a local King Soopers (Kroger brand) store. The ice coffee is in the far back of the store, usually near or in the same case as the Orange juices and Milks.
Check out the SToK™ website, the art is FANTASTIC!
Bonus Tip – Free creative moment for 5 minutes
If you're feeling really creative but not ready to get rolling with your work, decorate your To Do list page. Doodle, add some stickers.. paint with your coffee. Whatever you'd like. Have some fun with it and let out that extra creative energy so you can focus on the rest of your day.
Free Printable – I've creative a free printable for you. The page includes a daily to do list and a coloring page “I love you more than you love coffee”. Each is a half page so you can put them in your fancy little mini planner. Is that too girly for the guys? Use bold many colors, it will be fine! Download, print and color. PLUS, there's a scheduling page too!
I hope you've found a little insight in these ideas. My goal is to create every day, staying organized and on task is always the challenge. With a little planning and a lot of self checking, I can make it happen. So can YOU!