Productivity guide for creatives

The ultimate guide to productivity and motivation for creatives

Sophia Ellis
Sep 14, 2017

How to come up with more creative ideas

Productivity, especially for creatives, is like a basic assembly line. By adjusting little, individual steps of the process, you can end up with huge productivity gains later on. I’ve tried to do this with my creative process to produce more, higher quality work.

The global shift from labor-intensive work to jobs that require creativity and specific knowledge has turned productivity as we know it upside down. The regimented processes for tracking and improving productivity no longer work. It’s quality over quantity now, for most of the positions in our offices.

But that doesn’t erase the importance of the principle of time when it comes to producing at work. This is vital now that data and 24/7 communication have put the business world in the fast lane. Only the companies who are always putting brilliant ideas into action make it. And the employees and entrepreneurs who are constantly creative are the ones who excel.

After personally spending four years working as a creative both remotely and in an office environment, there’s been a number of productivity tips and expert advice I’ve tried out to be more consistent with producing quality work.

Here are the ones that worked the best for me:

Keep what motivates and inspires you close by

One of the most challenging parts of creative work is staying inspired. Creativity feels fleeting and there are some days that creative workers feel they’re creating better quality work than others. Unfortunately, this doesn’t fit well into a typical business schedule and process. Something I’ve found that helps to keep me in a good mental space to create, is to keep content from my favorite writers and recently popular work in an easy-to-access place. I make time before I start work to read through a few articles and posts by those who inspire me the most. I use Medium to follow my favorite writers and Flipboard to find the most popular articles based on my favorite topics and publications.

Have others with different viewpoints get involved

Here’s the thing about being a creative worker: it’s easy to get stuck in your own perspective and hit dead ends. I’ve found that when I reach out to others who work in different areas throughout my creative process, not only do I come up with new ideas, but I better tailor my work to be exactly what’s needed. I discover new avenues that I could take with my work, that other colleagues help to illuminate from this new, alternative perspective. Additionally, telling someone about my plans and what I’m working towards helps me stay on track. It’s like adding a boost of urgency and accountability to a deadline.

Journal ideas for now and later

The problem with productivity for creatives is that creativity happens in bursts. It’s not exactly ideal. One of my favorite productivity experts, David Kadavy, writes that journaling is a great way to use anxiety and stress to harness creative energy, and come up with brilliant ideas and solutions. And he’s absolutely right. I use a basic journaling app like Day One to track thoughts and creative ideas that may pass through my mind and save them for later. Once a day or week, I will scroll through my notes and often, I’ll see something that inspires me or helps me make connections I didn’t see before. If I’m stuck on a project, I can always look back at a day when I had a bunch of ideas, or scroll back to that one great thought I can’t quite remember. I use journaling to regulate my creativity for more productive work. Here’s a little more on building a journaling process.

Out of all the countless articles I’ve read on productivity and creative work, these three tips have become an integral part of my routine, and truly changed the way I work. I hope these tips help you become the genius every company is looking for!

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