Life vs Creativity (3/4): Revolutionise Your Workflow; First Impressions Matter

“…any time you manage to find to be creative is precious.”

We all say at some point that we don’t have time to be creative, and I’ll put up my hand and admit that I do the same. Life will often get in the way of your creative time, so any time you manage to find to be creative is precious. For this reason we have to know when and how we are going to be creative; by Planning Creativity. Once this has been achieved we can focus on our workflow.

Workflow really is the key to success when trying to manage life and creativity. If we take forever to get a simple task done in our minute window of opportunity then we will never achieve anything. This is why planning in advance works so well; it means that we can focus quickly, work efficiently, and achieve our goals successfully. A sense of achievement is a driving force to be creative, meaning that creativity can become a centre point in our lives; rather than thinking it’s not important.

“…as creatives it’s what we such for; our own first impression.”

Creativity obviously relies upon your own originality and what makes you different from the rest, but in many creative practices, that difference is in the end result; the piece as a whole. This may be a personal opinion, as many creative pieces are picked apart by onlookers trying to understand the processes that made it happen, but the initial blow is with first impressions, and as creatives it’s what we such for; our own first impression.

This is where frustration lies. We fight battles with ourselves constantly as being unable to see our first impression leads to an overwhelming sense of failure. For this reason I believe that practising our process of being creative and revolutionising our workflow enables us to earn a glimpse of that first impression a lot earlier than expected.

“…if we can see an end result then we are more likely to work harder to achieve it.”

This perception is vital in making sure we perceive our creative time as important, as when we can’t see that first impression, we don’t have as much hope as we should. We need constant motivation to keep going, so if we can see an end result then we are more likely to work harder to achieve.

A few quick internet searches involving your field of creativity will come back with multiple ways in which you can increase your workflow, although here are a few ideas that may help…

  • Create templates – If you find yourself repeatadly doing the same thing in each project to get started then create a template. You can do this within software (if you use it) or even simply by being prepared…
  • Be prepared – Make sure that everything you need is to hand. You should think about this whilst Planning Creativity. This might involve having common tools you use, or a list of things you need to do
  • Set limitations – Don’t always allow yourself to do anything. Think about the end goal and what you really need in order to achieve your goal more efficiently.
  • Practise – The only way you will increase workflow is by taking the above tips and practising. Find a time when you can regularly practise, even if it’s just 30 minutes, try to do as much as you can in those 30 minutes. You might be surprised how much you get done.

Using the above ideas have helped me to increase my own workflow, and I hope they help you. There was one particular time where I spent two years trying to complete a project, and I never liked the end results. I’ve always been happier with work completed quickly, and in the same head-space as when I began. Seeing more positive results lead to knowing that I was able to achieve my creative goals more easily than I had originally expected, and I hope you find the same.

Planning Creativity (2/4): Why It’s Important

“…we think that it isn’t as important.”

If you’re like me, life is generally busy, and creativity can often be pushed aside to make way for life. This is common for many people, especially as we grow older. If we haven’t ‘made it’ as a creative in the industry we desire, we think that it isn’t important anymore. However this can become frustrating, and more commonly depressing. I’m of the belief that this should never be allowed to happen as in the world of creativity there is always some form of outlet, and by being a creative we need to creatively find that outlet; or even design it ourselves. We can begin to help ourselves by planning to be creative, and finding our outlet will come when the time is right.

“…it naturally flows into mentally preparing yourself”

The advantage of planning a time to be creative is that it naturally flows into mentally preparing for the practice of being creative. If we plan the time to be creative, then any spare moment leading to that time can be spent thinking about how we might use it; and how to use it wisely. This could be as simple as deciding beforehand where you might practice your creativity, what sort of space you might like to surround you, what you might like to use, or how long it’s going to take to achieve a specific task in your chosen creative process.

“If we were to sit down to write a book, is there any point in beginning to write until we know what we’re meant to write about?”

Knowing the moment that we are planning to be creative aids us to prevent any subconscious temptation of a ‘creative block’ in our planned time…

Poor planning + No available time + A lack of discipline = Creative Block

A creative block comes when we sit down to work and we haven’t actually planned what work we are sitting down to do. We may have allowed the time, but if we were to sit down to write a book, is there any point in beginning to write until we know what we’re meant to write about? Or perhaps even to ask what we’re writing with? Something as simple as trying to find the correct tool to be creative with can invite the excuse of creative block into our domain, and again  this returns to the importance of needing to plan.

“…planning comes in the form of simplifying our process of being creative in order to allow us to be playful.”

Planning creativity is simply planning to do something, and that something will inevitably be something creative, but the importance of planning comes in the form of simplifying our process of being creative in order to allow us to be playful. The term ‘playful’ is used by many successful creatives, as it refers to the childlike joy that we feel whilst being creative. The joy of discovery, the joy of brilliance in our work, the joy and sense of pride in our creation and accomplishments. If we don’t give time to planing our creativity, this playfulness can become more difficult achieve and can result in being replaced with a continuing sense of frustration; which can lead to a deeper sense of depression.

“Invite the childlike joy into your creative time, and play.”

It’s important to feel excited about our work, and to be excited to be creative, as in essence this is the feeling that can get you out of bed in the morning. This is the feeling that encourages the element of playfulness that needs to be introduced into our creative time. Invite the childlike joy into your creative time, and play. Plan, simplify your process, demystify it, never use the excuse of creative block, and simply be creative.

Planning Creativity (1/4): Be Successful and Productive

“…you cannot simply wait for the right mood or the right atmosphere”

As a creative it’s hard to imagine simply switching on and off the creativity button. In fact, this is the way the most successful creatives in the world achieve their success. In order to be a successful creative you cannot simply wait for the right mood or the right atmosphere; you cannot wait for that specific event to happen that leads to inspiration or that new piece of tech or gear to arrive at your door. We don’t actually need anything to be the creatives we hope to be, all that it takes is the ability to mentally and/or physically engage in the act of being creative, and by planning to do so, we enable ourselves to be ready.

“If we have a plan of when to be creative and how to be, then writers block will never have its chance to get in the way.”

If you plan to be creative then it’s simple; you will be creative. The only thing that will hold you back is yourself. We need to stop believing that writers block exists, and instead consider our discipline, our bad habits, procrastination, our lack of confidence, our laziness, our disorganisation and an abundance of many other things that can be thrown onto that pile. If we have a plan of when to be creative and how to be, then writers block will never have its chance to get in the way. By allowing such things to get in the way, we in turn loose our productivity as creatives, as by not planning to engage in the act, we won’t produce a single thing to be proud of.

“…the only terms in which success can be achieved are your own.”

Now I’m not saying that by making a plan and sticking to it that you’re going to become a new born creative overnight, but what I will say is that you will see vast improvements in productivity, and somewhere along the line you will become a successful creative. The definition of ‘success’ can be a very personal one, and the only terms in which success can be achieved are your own. It’s up to you to decide what success truly means.

“…by planning to practice our art the more creative and productive we will become.”

There’s a common phrase sung by many that “Practice makes perfect”, and although I don’t quite believe that anything can be perfect, practice will certainly help any creative to improve. Practice helps to improve our defined art in creativity, and I say art, as most creativity evolves around it. Many forms of art are the most common forms of creativity, and thus by planning to practice our art the more creative and productive we will become through learning and honing our skills.

“…it helps us to mentally and/or physically prepare for what needs to be done.”

By planning you will find it easier to be a productive creative, as you will know when you are expecting to be creative rather than hoping to be, and this is Why Planning Creativity Works, as it allows our brains to understand the tasks that lie before us, and it helps us to mentally and/or physically prepare for what needs to be done. Planning allows us to break down our goals of success into simpler tasks which will enable our creativity to thrive and become successful, by speeding up our workflow and increasing the amount of time we actually spend being creative.