How To Have a Perfectly Productive Day
Take a moment to think of that one perfect work day. You stayed on schedule and your
creativity flowed effortlessly. Each of your priorities were met. And, to top it off,
at the end of the day, you had time to relax with the things and people you love.
What if you could turn that one perfect day into many perfect days?
One of the most important steps to becoming more productive is knowing yourself. You
have to know your weaknesses and your strengths that contribute to productivity.
Answering these questions will help:
- When are you the most creative?
- What distractions cause you to go off track?
- What can you do to get back on track?
- In what kind of space are you most creative?
- Are you more productive in sprints or marathons?
- Once you know what helps you to be productive and what throws you off course, you
can use that information to plan the perfect work day.
Take a moment after a perfect day to reflect on what helped you to be more productive.
Examine the environment, the events, the little things that you did or that happened
that you can recreate over and over for more productive days.
And remember, leaving time and room for the uncontrollable situations in life (mom
stopping by) will do wonders to save the day and keep you sane.
Keep new ideas flowing to maximize continuity
Even when you are in the weeds with a new project, it’s helpful to ideate for future
projects. By continuing to brainstorm and record new ideas you will eliminate long
pauses in production between projects. Each artist has their favorite way to generate
and record new ideas; here are a few:
- Bullet Journaling – A favorite for many creatives, Bullet Journals themselves can be artistic in nature,
making them a perfect tool for documenting fresh expressive ideas.
- Vlogging – If you are comfortable videoing yourself, then you should definitely try vlogging
your artistic thoughts. It is a great way to record ideas when you are out in nature
or in places where taking a notebook and pencil aren't ideal.
- Stream of Consciousness – Virginia Wolfe isn't the only artist to employ this technique for creativity. One
strategy that some artists employ is connecting thought to thought to thought. A great
way to record those thoughts is mind-mapping, where you take down an idea and then map what you think of next, and then write
whatever comes to mind after that, and so on.
- Virtual Art Museum Walk – Many of the best museums in the world have virtual art tours. Check some of them
out to generate ideas. Create a Pinterest board with the ones you love for later viewing
Create a Concrete Plan (oh, and stick to it!)
Many creatives like to go with the flow. Unfortunately, the flow can cause people
to be less productive than they would be if they planned out their days, weeks, and
months. It doesn't mean that you have to chisel them out in stone, but having a plan
will help you to stay focused, meet deadlines, and be more productive (which leads
to less stress and better mental health).
Start by prioritizing on a weekly basis, then daily. Here's how:
*Do not put so many tasks on your daily plate that you end up frustrated, and if possible,
try to break up tedious tasks over multiple days.
HOT TIPS for Planning:
- You don't have to finish every task on your list. Give yourself permission to make progress on tasks - 4 days in a row of progress can
sometimes be better for productivity than trying to schedule one BIG block of time
to complete the whole thing. Celebrate your progress!
- Schedule breaks. It'll be easier to push through a difficult task if you know you've booked a 30-minute
walk in just an hour or so
- Schedule the interruptions as much as possible. Set aside 30 minutes to catch up on Slack and email - then turn off notifications
and focus until the scheduled time.
Hit a Roadblock?
Creative roadblocks really are a thing and boy do they put a stop to productivity!
Fortunately, there are a number of different ways to get the juices flowing!
- Meditation/Yoga – there is nothing like mindfulness to free your brain from all the excess and useless
thoughts flowing around your head blocking creativity! Even 15 minutes can do the
- The Weirder the Better – Go do something crazy that you never would do! Stepping outside the box can shake
it up! How about a trip to the axe-throwing facility? Dancing outside in the rain?
Take a fly fishing class?
- Visit a Creative Queen – Yes, go check out what Mother Nature has to offer. The beauty and uniqueness of
all the flora and fauna can be a great creativity creator!
- Phone a Friend – Brainstorming with a fellow artist is a wonderful way to unleash your creativity.
Share where you began to stumble in your project and ask for some advice. You don’t
have to take the advice, but just back and forth dialogue can unclog those blocked
When all else fails - back to the (productivity) basics!
- Turn off distractions, including TVs, cell phones, notifications.
- Take breaks. Make sure you get up and move around!
- Improve your work environment with little rewards, like a surround sound for your favorite music, a bright color on the wall, or some nice
- Be purposeful about organizing “dreaded” tasks. You know yourself best. Are you more productive if you get them out of the way first?
Or are you better off powering through the “fun” stuff first, then saving the dread
for the end of the day?
Take care of business
Finally, choose a daily designated time to handle the business side of your artistic
endeavors. Select a time when you are less creative, maybe right when you get up,
or right after lunch, or towards the end of the work day. Just don’t leave it for
later because it will end up creeping into your creative time, and no one wants that!
If you can afford to, consider outsourcing some of the tasks you like the least.
It could pay for itself in reduced stress and increased productivity to not have “the
books” hanging over your head.
If a perfect productive work day seems more like an enigma than a norm, it is time
to change how you are doing things. It is not only possible to be more productive
— it’s a surefire way to more creativity and success!
The Creative Catalyst Online Certificate Program can help creatives set goals that will help them turn their dream project into a
reality. Want to learn more about how to dig deep and turn your idea into a reality?
To join our next cohort or request more information, email CreativeCatalyst@uncsa.edu.