Top Productivity Tips for Creatives

Being a creative person, whether you’re a musician or a writer, is a fulfilling way of living your life. Especially when you’re in the throes of inspiration, muses whispering in your ear while you get it all down, it’s a magical feeling that makes the craft you’ve dedicated yourself to feel so worth it. But sometimes, inspiration runs dry. If you’re juggling a lot of projects, or you have a busy schedule that leaves you little time for your creative work, it’s easy to get burned out or distracted. But making time for your work, and focusing on it when you do, is essential to any creative’s lifestyle. That’s why it’s so important when your creative energy is flagging to use productivity strategies.

By using some of these following productivity tips, you’ll learn which ones work for you, and become a more productive creative. Read on to learn more!

1 Set your goals and set a schedule

Usually, the last thing any creative wants is to set actual goals. After all, when you wake up in the middle of the night with a brilliant idea, you feel like an artistic genius who doesn’t need to have a boring, everyday strategy for creating. And we’ve all romanticized artists such as Ernest Hemingway, who hung out in bars in Paris drinking while he wrote. Setting goals may seem completely contrary to an artistic temperament, but the fact is that it’s a huge help, especially when you can’t rely on inspiration. You need to figure out what your goals are by month and by year, especially if you’re working on a new project like an album, and set a schedule of your milestones leading up to the final goal. If you can, create a weekly and daily schedule too, so that you stay on track and get in the habit of creating a space for inspiration to flow into anytime you sit down to create.

Considering that craft and fine artists had a median pay of $48,960 per year in 2018, you can make some money if you keep track of your goals and get them done.

2 Keep track of time

When you’re feeling inspired, it’s easy enough to get creative work done. But when it’s more of an effort, one of the best ways to ensure that you’re creating is by keeping track of time while working. For example, if you wake up every morning and force yourself to work on music for three hours, then you know that you’re at least putting in that time, and you’ll feel positive about your productivity. It’s smart to use a method such as the Pomodoro method, where you split up work times of 25 minutes with short 5-minute and 10-minute breaks. Part of why this is so popular is because you can keep working over a time period, avoiding getting burnt out by giving yourself time off throughout.

Check out Be Focused Pro, an app that has 4.6 stars out of 5 in the Mac App Store, to see if the work-break-work method works for you.

3 Get rid of distractions

When you have a creative brain, you’re in a way constantly distracted, whether that’s using your imagination as a writer or choreographing dance moves in your head while riding the subway to and from work. It’s a positive, but when distractions get in your way when you’re trying to create, that’s a huge problem. Make your life easier by getting rid of distractions. Put your phone on airplane mode when you’re working, and if you work on your laptop, use an app like Freedom to block websites that usually distract you.

Considering that the average smartphone owner unlocks their phone 150 times a day, using distraction-killing apps and putting your phone on airplane mode will make a huge difference to your productivity.

4 Work with others

For the most part, most creative work is solitary in nature. Unless you’re an actor or musician, where you’re constantly surrounded by others when being creative, chances are you work for long hours on your own, away from the world. And while having alone time helps you focus and figure out exactly what you want to create, it can be isolating and even depressing. Find a way to work with others if you can. Whether that’s sitting down at the same cafe with a writing partner and working on your separate projects in the same space, or joining a meetup group to discuss final versions of your creations, feeling solidarity will inspire you to keep going. In the same way that this roundup of 22 free video editing software is greatly helpful to people making videos, working with others will help you with your craft.

It’s no surprise, then, that companies that promote collaboration are five times more likely to be high performing.

These are some of the best ways to stay productive while creating, even in those times when you’re feeling burnt out and uninspired. What other strategies do you use to stay productive?