11 Productivity tips that creative types already know

Creative types get typecast as meandering goal setters for a reason. They tend to meander. We resist structure (even tho’ we crave it it.) We relish spontaneity (even tho’ we’re intrigued by five year goal setting plans.) We tend to be driven by inspiration (when we’re not obsessed with looking good on paper, or to our parents – who still can’t figure out how we make a living.)

We get there in our own way and when the ‘flow’ works, we’re so smokin’ productive that pert charts and to-do lists cringe in the wake of our creative productivity. Creatives have a thing or two to teach the Linears and The Planners.

CREATIVE PRODUCTIVITY THAT WORKS FOR BOTH ARTISTES + A-TYPE PERSONALITIES:

1. Approach everything as a creative opportunity. There is no separation between life and work. The same opportunities to express yourself or get great ideas are at the dinner table, in the stock exchange, and on the subway. Put yourself out there.

2. Obsession is essential. Know your art and your science. Immerse yourself in the cultures you love and work in: read industry news, the teachings of spiritual masters and successful entrepreneurs, listen to what the people you serve are longing for, asking for, and leaning toward.

To foster obsession:

3. Read a LOT of magazines. And then read some more … about things related and unrelated to your work, Scientific American and Vogue, Dwell and Rolling Stone. Magazines are intensified viewpoints that can expand your perspective in just a few pages.

4. Create a style file or inspiration box of stuff that you love. Photos, articles, fabric swatches, postcards. I have an antique sake box filled with strange and lovely stuff. Sometimes I close my eyes and reach in to see what comes up – an Elvis coaster, a Zen koan torn from a divinity school program, an old essay or concert ticket.

5. Watch dox. I’m a documentary-phile (always looking for versions of the truth,) which gives me all sorts of weird, tragic, breathtaking imagery, inspiration, and facts to work with.

6. Engage with people that you don’t hangout with. Ask them big questions. Ask the cab driver what crazy stuff he’s seen as a cab driver, ask your friend’s teenager what they think about the future, ask your bank teller what it’s like to work with money all day.

To keep moving forward:

7. Give up quickly. If something feels like a drag and is not generating the right response … drop it like a hot potato. As Seth Godin says in his book, The Dip, “Fail fast.”

In order to give up quickly, you have to…

8. Courageously express your feelings. When something feels very wrong, totally uninspiring, say so … to yourself and your team. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you give up, it may spin you off into a better solution.

So that you can:

9. Stick with it. If something feels fun, glimmering, exciting, and even one person has expressed wanting it from you … explore every angle about how to make it work.

And be assured that:

10. Backwards is forwards. Know that there is no such thing as waste. A painted canvas that didn’t turn out, a pilot group that fizzled, it’s all useful. I trash stuff and start from scratch often. Sometimes, especially in terms of web development, you start knowing that you’ll have to scrap half of what you build down the road – starting over is never really starting over. It’s life.

Which allows you to:

11. Celebrate other people’s creativity and prosperity. Honoring other people’s creativity and success helps shake loose our own brilliance. Whether it’s a hot website, a terrific outfit on the street, or a well known author – go out of your way to say, “You’re great!” “Way to go!” “I love what you’ve created.”

And then keep on creating for yourself. Ever so productively.

 

 

related posts
Original-Self-Help-July-28-When-You’re-Done-Fighting-For-It

When you’re done fighting for it. The upside of finally giving up.

Do you know the story of the man who was hitting himself over the head with a hammer? “Why do you keep hitting yourself with that hammer?” a shocked passerby asked him. “Because,” the man replied, “it’s going to feel so good when I stop.”

Featured @2x 456x456 (14)

You will be called on to expand. And this is why we practice.

I travelled to Dharamshala, India with six friends to meet with The Dalai Lama. It was cell-altering and heart-expanding. The week before our arrival, there had been a horrible event in which some monks were murdered — most shockingly, by other monks. The story was on everyone’s mind and in our small, private meeting with His Holiness, the first thing we did was offer our condolences. His response captivated me…

Featured @2x 456x456 (12)

You’re going to feel guilty

The guilty feeling associated with desire, with going after what you want, with transforming….you know that feeling? It’s like tar on your mojo. Maybe you were raised in an environment where desire was considered a negative thing. Or your social circle constantly reinforces the message that you shouldn’t dare to bust out. And maybe you frequently feel guilty for wanting what you want — and you know that it’s causing blocks in your life…

Featured @2x 456x456 (11)

Love your sadness. It won’t last.

I was feeling it. Pure sadness — the inescapability of it plowing through the softest part of me. When you’re in that kind of painful place you’ll try to climb the walls to get away from it. You want it over with. “Love your sadness. It won’t last long.” A friend texted me late at night. I caught it just as I was turning off my bedroom light….

Featured @2x 456x456 (10)

refuse to worry (and how to be more useful for your friends)

Every fearful expectation has a big “story” behind it. The trauma, the drama, the pain, the plot. Worry feeds on the gruesome details. It replays the potential saga in your head. It validates all the reasons things could go wrong by drudging up the past again and again. Worry is cleverly building a case as to why you should worry…

Featured @2x 456x456 (9)

What to do when things suck. (hint: don’t gloss over it.)

When you’re feeling out of your soul zone and something crap is happening…accept that it’s happening. I know. Believe me, I know. This may sound super flaky and totally impossible. And yet…this counsel is at the heart of most Eastern mysticism. Don’t deny what’s occurring. The power to change what’s happening comes from accepting it first.

Featured @2x 456x456 (8)

what’s the ‘big real’ of what you’re doing?

There is a Big Real behind everything we do. Sometimes it’s a negative Big Real. Sometimes it’s a positive Big Real.

Featured @2x 456x456 (7)

the euphoria of admitting when it sucks

I hear this time and again, “If I just hang in longer… Maybe she’ll come up to speed. It might sell in the summer. If I dig deeper, I’ll learn to love Excel.” Fess up – it ain’t workin’. You’re smart to see it. You’re brilliant if you move on…

Featured @2x 456x456

Infidelity, sisterhood, and self-respect either way. #Lemonade and Love.

My feelings about infidelity, monogamy and commitment — and how they’ve evolved over time. How I define Divine Fidelity a la David Deida’s 3 stages of relationships. And my deep respect for Beyonce’s art and every woman’s choice of devotion.

Featured @2x 456x456 (6)

The most powerful possible Yes to women

…to the dark, the spacious, the sweet, the jaded, the women who live as certain as light rays,
who renovate broken boardrooms and policies with justified anger and overwhelming Love —
Love of inclusion, of ecology, of bone solid Truth — Love of Love.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This