Staying Focused and Efficient as a Creative

Something I struggle with as a creative is keeping my mind focused. I tend to get preoccupied easily and my efficiency goes downhill at lightening speed! If my mind is running on about something I can’t get it to shut off. I keep pen and paper nearby me at all times so I can jot down whatever jumps into my mind at the moment so my brain can focus on the task at hand.  I used to be proud of the fact that I could multi-task 4-5 different things at one time, but what I wasn’t realizing is how slowly it took me to do all those things at once. I started analyzing myself and realized a few things: Washington_DC_Photographer_0215

I’m a morning person through and through. I want to talk as soon as my feet hit the floor and I’m twice as happy in the morning than I am in the evening. It’s just how my body functions. So I know for myself that I need to do the most necessary things in the morning when I’m thinking clearly.

I’m super competitive -maybe a little stubborn too-but I have no endurance. I’ll give up easily if I just have myself to keep accountable, but if someone else is competing against me, I won’t give in even if it’s just the microwave timer. If there is a job I’m dreading to do, I’ll set the kitchen time or my phone for 10 minutes and I have to complete that certain task in that time; whether it’s going through my inbox, washing dishes or making dinner. I’m not sure why it’s always 10 minutes but it seams to work for me. 🙂

Time blocking is a game-changer for me. Your time is planed out so you don’t need to decide every morning what you need to do next. (Now this does work better when you don’t have the unpredictability of children.) I wake up at 7 every morning. My body is so used to it now I hardly need to set my alarm. For the next 30 minutes I brew some tea for my daily devotions/quiet time. From 7:30-8 I get dressed and pack my lunch. The rest of my day follows a pretty tight schedule. It may seam hard and overwhelming but it actually takes the thinking out of my day and I roll right along to what comes next. Here are several good articles on Time-blocking and a free printable as well.

There are still a few things I multi-task. Washing the dishes and folding laundry are somewhat mindless tasks so I usually listen to a business podcast while doing them. This allows me to get a job done but also educates/inspires me and forwards my business at the same time.

Two things I like to do the night before is set out my clothes and pack my lunch. Sometimes these two can take me 15 minutes alone in my morning, so I have them planned ahead and it removes those two decisions from my morning.
I hope you found a few good tips to help your day run smoothly!

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  • This was good for me.

    I’ve been frustrated with my inefficiency recently. Your ideas are great and I know that they would work for me because I have utilized some of them in the past.

    I want to check out the whole time blocking concept.

    One question though…for my personality I can easily feel stifled/boxed in/un-creative if all the details of my life are spelled out for me weeks in advance. Do you face this? If so, how do you deal with it?ReplyCancel

    • jbphoto

      I totally get this! When I get all my must-dos done by lunch time then I am 1.free to be spontaneous if somethings last minute comes up 2.already have most of my work done 3.gives me the brain space to be creative.
      The afternoon and evening aren’t planned out by the hour like my morning is most days. When my mind is at ease after my work is finished, is when my creativity starts and lets me do my most creative work. Does that make any sense? 🙂ReplyCancel

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