All systems go! Time to organize your creative life. That’s what I’m doing. Art orders, writing assignments, speaking, classes…they are all coming at full force. Over the years I’ve come up with a method to accomplish tasks without losing my mind. So I thought I’d share it with all of you, feel free to pick and choose the aspects that work best in your world.
One thing I do is set an intention for each and every project, day, task. I say what I want the outcome to be and sometimes I even pretend to punch it into an invisible computer as if I’m placing my order with the universe. Sounds crazy, but it works for me.
OK, let’s do this! I use Google docs to organize all of this, by the way.
Write down all of the things you agreed to do for other people, whether it is for school, work, side jobs, etc. Answering calls and emails. Get these all down and put dates due, as well as the time that each one will take.
Write down all the things you agreed to do for yourself and/or your business. Designing a new business card, making a new collection of jewelry, writing a book outline, reaching out to new clients. ALL OF IT.
Write down the daily must-dos. These are things that you can’t change – like 9-5 work hours, social media for your business, checking email, making dinner, homework with the kids, cleaning the house, etc.
Write down your big picture list items, a passion project, pitches, etc.
Cross items off your list as you finish each task – it’s the BEST feeling!
DOCUMENT YOUR DAY:
For about five days, keep a journal of what you do and how long it takes. Morning to night! Write down when you feel tired, when you have the most energy.
For the top two lists, break them down. What is involved, shopping, calling, prep, etc. And how much time each task will take. Is it ongoing or one time? EVERYTHING needs a time box!
Rank everything from 1-5 of importance.
Look at your journal and see where you can swap or combine areas. Once you get in the mind frame to accomplish tasks, you’ll be surprised at all the time opportunities you find. When I worked at the newspaper, I knew I had two fifteen-minute breaks and an hour lunch. During art season, I would bring my products in a small box and tag everything in the cafeteria while I worked. While writing my first novel, I had a cheap laptop that I used on break to get in a few hundred words.
Another thing I started doing: I stopped going to Starbucks every day. I now buy a pack of VIA and with the money I saved from buying daily coffee drinks, I used that to hire a housekeeper to come over every other week for three hours. This move saves me money and time in the long run!
Fill out a calendar that has all of these items assigned. Make sure to include your passion project at a little bit each day or once a week. Of course, life will happen and sometimes it won’t work, but you have to think of the big picture. Pick up where you left off.
Put your phone in the other room while you work on organizing. Don’t let yourself become distracted because you’ll forget where you put something or a decision you made.
It’s also good to know if you are a daily do or a all-at-one-time person. I like to sit down and crank out a hundred clay rings and be done with it for the season. As an example!
What happens is that once you have it all written down and assigned a time and day, your brain gets to work to make it happen. But don’t get hung up on scheduling so much that you don’t have time to do things. The main point is to take action so you’ll stop saying “I don’t have time!”
If you want to accomplish something bad enough trust me, you WILL find the time!
Good luck! Let me know if you have any time management tips in the comments.
6 thoughts on “How to Organize Your Creative Life”
Great time management ideas Kathy. Thank you for sharing. Now we know how you do accomplish so much. I have learned too that when you are on task for something or a deadline to leave answering the phone, messages or email until a specific time. I have work that requires my full attention until noon. At noon I then return messages and calls.
Yes! Great point! I have designated times for checking social media and emails!
Kathy, thanks for sharing your ideas. Most of these I have used for years. Prioritization is a must! I save part of one day of the week to run errands/pay bills, etc.
I love your emails and especially appreciate how much you share about the “behind the scenes” methods to use for real life. Would you mind showing a photo of what your timeline calendar looks like? This will help me visualize an organized way to create my own…organization is not my talent ????Thank you so much. Frances
Nice share Kathy, very helpful. You showed me ways to tweak my own system. I have also learned to be forgiving if I just need a day/time/restoration for me, because if THAT’S taken care, then I am super sustainable and easily motivated.
I agree Kathy. As someone who had to balance grad school and work, I learned the importance of scheduling and planning out everything, even down to the times I check social media!