Wednesday, 14 October 2015

5 Tips to Manage Your Time More Effectively as a Creative


   Whether you are an employee in the creative industries, run your own business or go freelance as a writer, illustrator, designer or whatever, time management is the most important aspect of 'getting things done'.

   However, we all know that creatives can get a little distracted from time to time dreaming up new ideas and generally getting inspired, and this might eat into hours that could be spent cultivating projects that have already got some foundations behind them.

   So how do we make sure that we don't mix up the time spent daydreaming with the time spent 'doing'? There are several small and easy alterations you could make to your lifestyle in order to manage your time more effectively, and fulfil your true creative (and entrepreneurial) potential.

1. PLAN OUT YOUR DAY

   Whether you stick to it, or not, set aside ten minutes each morning to plan out your day (ON PAPER - because we don't need another reason to look at a screen). If you've got a typical 9-5, split your day in half and plan your working hours either side of lunchtime, noting down what you're hoping to achieve during each time period. 

   If you work from home or are lucky enough to have more flexible office hours, try to give yourself a routine and stick to it. Fit in regular breaks, and make sure to take them at the times that you've noted.

2. UTILISE DEADLINES

   The word 'deadline' doesn't just refer to your boss giving you until tomorrow to complete what seems like a thousand mammoth tasks - give it a positive meaning by noting down deadlines for each upcoming task, and reward yourself when you've completed the task within the time limit.

   Generally, if we know that we've only got a certain amount of time to finish a task, we'll procrastinate less.

3. LEARN WHEN TO SAY NO

   If you already have plenty on your plate, don't take on more tasks than you have time for. It's true that there aren't enough hours in a day, so don't overstress yourself by scrambling to get as many tasks completed as possible in a short time frame. Plus, you're more likely to produce the work to a substandard level when you're rushed, so leave time either side to plan and proof. 

   Where possible, schedule the tasks for another day; unless it's really urgent, it can wait.

4. ALLOCATE DOWNTIME

   When you're planning your day, allocate your downtime during the periods in which you're least likely to concentrate. This is usually during the mid-afternoon slump - around 3.30-4.30pm.

   If you're in an office, halt your work for 15 minutes of brainstorming. This change in activity will recharge your brain and help you concentrate for the last few hours of the day. If you're at home, you could halt work entirely for half an hour of your favourite activity, then add the difference onto the end of your day. No matter how long you work, a break can make a huge difference.

5. KEEP PROCRASTINATION AT BAY

   This is one of the most difficult tasks, as creatives can sometimes get distracted if they're not careful. If social media is your downfall, try placing all bookmarks of this kind into a hard-to-reach folder within a folder; if it's difficult for you to get to your Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest page, you're less likely to want to open it up.

   If that's not enough, download Anti-social: an app that will limit the amount of time spent checking social media.

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2 comments

  1. This is such a great and helpful post. Will definitely be bookmarking, thank you for sharing! x

    ellie etc | a personal style & lifestyle blog

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you liked it Ellie - thanks so much for commenting!

      Jennifer x

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