Hello! Today I’m writing about some things I think about a lot. In fact, I’ve thought about all of these topics in one form or another for almost as long as I can remember. The primary reason I started my blog over nine years ago was to keep a record of these three things in my own life. Creativity, productivity, and inspiration: how do they all fit together? and how can one cultivate more of them on a daily basis?
I’ve had notes for this post in my planner for quite some time, and I have a
Working in a creative field means that I am always looking for inspiration and planning future projects. And in today’s busy world there are plenty of time wasters–I love John Quincy Adams’s labeling of this as “misapplying time.” Since there are only so many hours in the day, I also spend a lot of time trying to learn how to use my time better (not too long ago I wrote this post on time management for quilters).
Recently I’ve made some changes that are helping me to make the best use of my time: I feel like I’ve been able to be more creative and more productive and yet also have more time for relaxing and spending time with my family. The book Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series) has given me some terrific ideas that have really made a great impact on my life. (The book is a compilation of ideas by successful people and creatives in a variety of fields, and I learned much from the ideas and suggestions contained therein).
10 Tips for Increasing
Creativity + Productivity
4. Maintain focus by getting rid of interruptions.
Try to schedule time blocks of uninterrupted creative time. For me this means putting my phone on silent when I’m sewing or working on patterns. When my kids were younger I accomplished this by doing most of my sewing while they were napping, at school, or after they had gone to bed. Find what works for you, and keep those interruptions at bay.
5. Have identifiable tasks to do for your creative time.
This makes larger projects not seem so overwhelming. For example, if I head into my sewing room with “make a new Christmas quilt” as my only objective, I won’t be as productive as if I go in knowing I’m going to cut out a project or make all of the half-square triangles for a quilt. Having larger tasks broken up into smaller, more easily do-able projects makes it easier to stay on task. Additionally, I try to have no more than three major tasks to do for any given day.
6. Limit Social Media.
At first I thought it might be a little ironic that I was writing this in a blog post. But not really. Let’s face it, many of us get a lot of information, and good information, too, from the web and social media. Social media has its place for helping individuals to learn and gain knowledge about a variety of topics. It’s easy to make a plan for managing social media, though, and stick to it. I read blogs in the morning, check Pinterest in the evening, and post/check Instagram a couple of times a day. I don’t have Facebook on my phone which is a huge time-saver for me (I usually only check that once a week).
7. Work on projects just for fun.
As quilters we all have projects we need to do: make a baby quilt for a friend, make a block for our guild project, or make gifts for family and friends, just to name a few examples. But it’s really important to work on things for fun–things that don’t have deadlines and help us to enjoy being creative. It helps to have a “bucket list” of projects for times when we want to just make something for the sake of making something.
8. Let go of perfectionism.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Stop worrying about what you know or don’t know, and create because you want to. I actually just read an excellent article on this topic by one of my favorite designers. Anna’s blog and designs have been inspirational to me for many years, and she will really motivate you to not worry about the “perfect” with her thoughts on this topic in this post.
9. Take time to plan.
When I’m busy I sometimes think I’ll save time by leaving this step out. But it’s so important. I prefer a weekly calendar and usually have a list of things to accomplish throughout the week rather than scheduling every minute of any given day. I look over my calendar each evening and on a weekly basis update for the following week. Use whatever method works for you, but be consistent in your planning.
10. Be ready to begin.
Clean up each evening and have something ready that you can sit down and work on right away. This has helped me more than I can adequately relate. Sometimes I just don’t have large blocks of time in which to work; however, if something is prepped and ready to go, I can maintain steady progress on my projects.
I hope this post will be helpful to you as you continue on your creative path making wonderful quilts and projects for yourself and those you love and care about. I’ll continue to share my thoughts and ideas on these topics as I continue to learn new things on these topics.
Pin the image above so you can refer to this post again as needed. Thanks so much for stopping by and happy quilting!