I have been selfishly keeping something from you. For a little while now I have been reading books and following blogs that are dedicated to improving schedules and harnessing creativity on demand: that is mastering the perfect daily work flow.
It began when I cam across Cal Newport’s awesome Study Hacks Blog. Then one day I stumbled upon the Accidental Creative podcasts. From there I discovered 99U and their book Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series) which I would like to share with you today. What blew my mind about all the above is that there is a whole industry of academics and professionals whose sole focus in life is how to improve your creativity. This is clearly untapped material for all of us working in the creative on demand industries. Whether you are a fine artist, graphic designer or writer, the techniques are universal.
I highlighted almost every page from Manage Your Day to Day but here are some of my favorite quotes and suggestions:
- “Specifically, it’s our routine (or lack thereof), our capacity to work proactively rather than re-actively, and our ability to systematically optimize our work habits over time that determine our ability to make ideas happen.”
- “Creative work first, reactive work second. This means blocking off a large chunk of time every day for creative work on your own priorities, with the phone and email off”.
- “Certain times of the day are especially conducive to focused creativity, thanks to circadian rhythms of arousal and mental alertness. Notice when you seem to have the most energy during the day, and dedicate those valuable periods to your most creative work.”
- “Frequency makes starting easier: Getting started is always a challenge. It’s hard to start a project after a break. By working everyday, you keep your momentum going. You never have time to feel detached from the process.”
By utilizing the suggestions in this book I have improved my daily work flow and it has made all the difference. I now rise everyday at 6 AM, even on weekends when I get some valuable hours in the studio before my family is really up and moving. I have returned to painting every day, and I mean every single day and it has made things run more smoothly by allowing me to keep my head focused on my projects. And lastly one of the biggest take aways I took from this book was to leave my reactive tasks (those demands made on me by others such as text messages, emails and phone calls) to the afternoon after I had gotten my studio time–the most important proactive time–out of the way for the day.
So if you don’t hear from me immediately, you now know why. 😉