A few years ago, when my team was working on consumer behavior that was data driven and didn’t really have to work on the creatives, things were decidedly different. In the creative world, when you’re sometimes struggling to find the right words, or the right design elements, things can quickly go south. Today, I’m going to share simple time management tips for creatives that truly work! No more sitting on the same piece of writing for hours without any progress. Tell me your favorite tips when you’re challenged too!
3 Simple Time Management Tips For Creatives That Work
1. Take timed breaks. Breaks increase productivity.
It’s all too easy to be submerged with too much to write, think and create for. I’ve observed some of my best ideas come through when I am simply sipping my coffee or walking to my favorite cafe down the road. It’s not a joke. Check the most amazing scientific research shared by Buffer on the fact that breaks increase productivity. Here’s a quote that I particularly like:
“When you’re focusing, you’re actually blocking your access to the diffuse mode. And the diffuse mode, it turns out, is what you often need to be able to solve a very difficult, new problem.” (engineering professor Barbara Oakley)
Taking timed breaks is simple. Have it in your schedule. It gives you more incentives to finish whatever you need to do before the break too. This is even more important when you’re working remotely, like we do in my team. Remote working can sap your energy sometimes as you have no physical end of office days. You can continue slogging or delaying or not taking breaks. This actually feels like you’re working a lot, but may just be poor productivity. Just like you circle in the meetings with clients in your calendar, circle in a break time too. And stick to it.
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2. Do not multi-task. It’s not good for productivity or your brain.
Usually when I have a ton of work, I am tempted to multi-task and I’ve come to realize that there’s nothing more detracting and energy sapping than that. Considering my team and I work on Facebook and social media professionally, this can get hard.
Picture this: we’re working on the client’s Facebook optimization and suddenly get notifications from all over that we’re tempted to work on. Immediately, we’re reminded of another task and off we go from one to another. This is really true. And avoiding it isn’t easy.
Research seems to be even more serious about the issues that come with multi-tasking. Here’s what Forbes says:
Research conducted at Stanford University found that multitasking is less productive than doing a single thing at a time. The researchers also found that people who are regularly bombarded with several streams of electronic information cannot pay attention, recall information, or switch from one job to another as well as those who complete one task at a time.
How I like to tackle this “syndrome” is to give each task a timeline. And schedule. Once you set deadlines in your calendar, your brain is less likely to get distracted. We react to deadlines, naturally.
3. Do not say yes to everything
It’s hard, but you have to respect the physical and emotional boundaries of how much you can deliver at a certain time. Having a ton of work with few resources or mental bandwidth to work with is not going to help you at all. It’s always easy for anyone- parents, friends, clients to add on more work to your mix. It’s also not uncommon to have scope creeps in the work which only makes you feel overwhelmed.
Learning to say no can be a lifelong exercise but it is necessary for your own sanity. Particularly when you work from home. Define your boundaries. Do not let your work space be garbled up home. Even when you’re working from home, it is work. And that means, you can’t include other ‘home related duties’ as a part of your day, unless you prioritize them differently. Here’s a great way on how to say no to a friend or someone close.
The only way to solve for this is communicate the reasons why you’re saying no and don’t linger on. Say it before you’re resented for it!
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