Last week we discussed the misconception that all creatives are messy and disorganized. The truth is many people, from all walks of life, struggle with prioritizing and organization.
I’ve come across some amazing resources all about creating systems to help people with productivity and efficiency. I want to share two of them with you today so you can start creating systems in your life that promote creativity.
Still using a notebook? Categorize your notes for easy access.
Try this amazing and simple tool used by a Japanese businessman the author encountered.
Write in a notebook your content and then go to the very last page. Your last page will be used as a table of contents chart. Write down a word that describes the content. For example, I write down new webinar workshop ideas randomly in my journal. I note that category in the back of my book on my last page.
Then, on the very edge, next to the word I mark up the edge of the paper with a marker:
After returning to my page with the original notes, I mark the very edge of that page with a marker as well. Both marks should measure the same distance from the top of each page.
Now, when you need to look for something, you can flip to the back of your journal, look at a category and scan the backside of the pages of your journal to find matching marks. A super simple and easy way to keep track of your good ideas!
Finally, an easy way to create and prioritize a to-do list.
I make lists all of the time. It’s a great way to create order in my mind and clean out all the ideas rattling around in there. Sometimes those lists get so big I don’t know where to start or what to work on. Then someone in a business forum shared with me the Ivy Lee Method, a simple accountability and efficiency tool.
At the end of each day, sit down and write out the 6 most important tasks you must accomplish tomorrow. For example, the other night I wrote down the following:
- draft Monday’s article
- Set up next two webinars
- skype with family
Now, when you wake up and start your day, you already know what you should focus on. You choose one task at a time and make sure to get it done. Cross that to-do off and then focus on the next one.
I’ve only been using it a few days at this point but it is amazing. My mind is less muddled with all of my ideas because I have a list of 6 things. If I don’t accomplish them all I place the incomplete tasks on the following day’s priority list.
By making an active choice to write down art as my number one I’m creating a mindset that tells me that my art time is valuable and important. I’m more likely to follow through with all my tasks because it’s a short to-do list.
I once created a giant, never ending to do list. I’d cross off some tasks only to add more at the bottom as the day progressed. There was always something to be done; it left me with little sense of accomplishment. Having a list that big made sure I was always working and I never made time for my art, or for me! Try the Ivy Lee Method, you won’t regret it.
The next time someone says an artist is disorganized or a mess, ask them, “How? What do you mean they are disorganized? Do you have an example?” Make the people around you accountable to the stories they share about creatives. And share with them a few techniques you use to stay organized, maybe they can learn a trick or two!
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: I’d love to hear about your experience with keeping notes like our Japanese businessman or how the Ivy Lee Method has helped you manage your creativity and work life. Tell me about your organizing tricks in the comments below.