You might think that time management and creativity are bit like chalk and cheese. If you’re a creative type (or if you want to be more creative), then all the usual advice about organizing yourself and avoiding procrastination might just not seem to apply. After all, isn’t a bit of disorganization and procrastination just part of the creative process?
Well, you might be perfectly happy doing your creative thing while everything around you is in a state of chaos. There’s a good chance, though, that some simple time management skills will hugely boost your chances of actually finishing that novel, or completing that painting.
Good Time Management Frees Up Extra Creative Hours
When I talk to writers, one big problem crops up over and over again: finding the time to write.
However much you love your creative work, you need time for it. That means being organized in the rest of your life: finishing your day job on time, getting the chores done efficiently, scheduling your creative sessions in your calendar, and so on.
Yes, time management might not seem nearly as exciting as creating your new composition, or sketching out some ideas … but it’s a critical support for your creativity.
Good Time Management Helps You Stay Focused
Does your creative time ever end up as a few hours of web surfing and smartphone fiddling?
Most of us struggle to focus, and creative types are no exception. Sure, you’ll have days when you’re completely in the zone … but to get to that point, you probably need to push past the initial few minutes when you’re tempted to procrastinate.
By learning to sit down and concentrate on one task at a time, you’ll be doing your creativity a huge favor.
Good Time Management Helps You Organize Big Projects
If your creative work involves big, complicated projects – like publishing a comic book, producing an album, putting on a live event, or writing a novel – then you’re going to be juggling a lot of moving pieces.
To avoid everything falling down around you, you’ll need strong organizational skills. This is a key part of time management and, even if you think you’re “just not very organized,” it’s something you can work on.
My rule of thumb is to put as much as I can onto paper, rather than keeping it in my head – even if it’s just little stuff, like “don’t forget to buy milk.” That way, I free up more mental RAM for important stuff, like mulling over the newest plot twist in my novel…
Good Time Management Lets You Know When to Be Creative
We all have peaks and troughs of creative energy during the day. You might be at your best at 9 – 11am, but you may have friends who thrive at 6 – 8pm.
It’s important to know when your personal peaks are, so that you can harness them for your creative work. Let’s say you need to do a few chores on Saturday and you also want to work on your latest poem: if your best creative hours are in the morning, you’ll want to leave those chores for the afternoon.
I know this might sound like it’s obvious – but it’s surprising how few of us are careful about scheduling things so that we can use our most energized times to the full.
If your life involves a lot of creative activity (or if you wish it did!) then drop a comment below. Let us know what works for you, or what you’re struggling with.
This guest post is by Ali Luke. Ali is currently on a virtual book tour for her novel Lycopolis, a fast-paced supernatural thriller centered on a group of online roleplayers who summon a demon into their game … and into the world. Described by readers as “a fast and furious, addictive piece of escapism” and “absolutely gripping”, Lycopolis is available in print and e-book form. Find out more at www.lycopolis.co.uk.