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6 Time Management Tips To Boost Creativity

Updated on July 23, 2013

Clear Your Mind & Get Organized

At first glance, the terms time management and creativity may seem to contradict each other. While a creative chaos at your workplace might just inspire you with a brilliant idea that kicks off a new project, a bit of organization and self discipline will be very helpful in actually bringing that project to a successful end.

If you have one or more complicated projects going on like writing a book, designing a web site or running a business, then you will be juggling a lot of pieces at the same time. To prevent those pieces from falling down all around you, it's a good idea to get organized a bit.

The best method is definitely to write down your tasks, ideas and inspirations somewhere. That way you keep your mind clear from distractions, enabling you to focus on what you are currently working on.

Whether you prefer to keep track of your tasks on paper, in a word processor file or using a more comfortable software solution, the following time management tips will help you stay dead on track and give both your efficiency and your creativity a huge boost.

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Time Management Tips - Video Overview

1. Time Management Is Actually Self Management

"Time Management" is actually a misnomer. Clocks will keept ticking and time will keep going by, regardless of whether you manage it or not.

So when we say "time management", what we actually mean is that we are managing ourselves in order to conduct our activities in an orderly fashion, and to keep track of which tasks we have pending and which we have completed.

Remember, you can't manage time, you can only manage yourself!

2. Know Your Prime Time

Some people have their primary creative time in the morning, some in the afternoon, and some (like me!) even during the night. Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, be aware of your personal rhythm and don't try to work against it!

Organize your daily activities in a way so as to take advantage of your most productive hours. Schedule boring tasks that you can do more or less on autopilot, for your less creative times of day.

3. Activate Your Subconscious Mind

This is a pro tip that may sound a bit new agey, but I can confirm from personal experience that it actually works.

The idea is to loosely plan your next day just before you go to bed the evening before. Immediately before you go to sleep, write down or go over the tasks that you would like to work on tomorrow.

That way, your subconscious mind will process your plans for the next day while you are sleeping. You will often wake up inspired with new ideas!

4. Set Written Goals

Make sure you write your goals down somewhere, either on paper or in a word processor file somewhere on your computer.

Having your goals written down makes it so much easier to achieve them. Whether you call it the Law of Attraction or getting help from your subconscious mind, I found out that once I got my goals written down, I actually became much more successful in life.

I never actually got into the habit of setting goals until I started writing them down. Once I got used to doing that however, when I then looked at my goal lists from a couple of months ago, I was often amazed how many of them I had already achieved, sometimes even without consciously thinking about them!

5. Have A To-Do List

While your written goals specify your ultimate objectives, you should also have a (separate) to-do list where you keep track of all the large and small steps that you will be taking to advance your projects. In this list, you can also write down any ideas that come into your mind that you may or may not get to work on at some point in the future. Furthermore, it should include any everyday tasks like shopping and housekeeping that take up a significant portion of your time.

While I am not a big fan of living as a slave to the clock, (that would totally get in the way of my creativity flow), I do think it is a good idea to have a "master plan" where you can keep track of your activities and ideas. The reason is that once you know that everything that you need to do is kept track of in your list, this will free up your mental resources to work on the task currently at hand.

6. Prioritize efficiently

Start off your day doing a couple of easier tasks, just to make a dent in your daily to-do list. Doing this will really boost your motivation for the day.

Once you have reduced your list of chores by a couple of items, you should then focus prioritizing those tasks that will advance you most towards your goals.

Note: You don't necessarily have to do as much as possible, as long as you make as much progress as possible.

Tools for keeping track

Whether you use paper and pencil, word processor files, or a more sophisticated task management software is up to you really. As long as you have a list of your daily tasks somewhere and get the satisfaction of ticking them off as you complete them, a to-do list will definitely improve your personal productivity.

I used to use simple Notepad *.txt files, but over time, my various to-do lists would accumulate and spread out over my computer's hard drive. After a while I had more to-do lists than I could keep track of, so some ideas and plans I had would invariably get lost.

In the end I decided to invest a little money in a task management software called Fractal Planner to manage my to-do list more comfortably. While this software isn't free, I find it really helpful because it keeps all of my tasks and ideas neatly in one place. I can access it from any computer or smartphone with an internet connection.

The principal feature of this software is that it lets you easily create a hierarchy of tasks and sub-tasks, without any limit to the hierarchy's depth. This is actually why they call it "Fractal Planner". Sometimes you will want to work top-down, breaking up an overarching project into sub-tasks as you go. At other times, it may be more practical to work from the bottom up.

Sometimes you will find it practical to rearrange tasks (or task-trees), or to create templates for recurring tasks, e.g. packing for a trip. All of these can be done in an intuitive way with Fractal Planner. Plus, the software interface is dead simple to use so it doesn't distract you with tons of menus or anything.

Further Reading

This book combines creativity with science in a gorgeous colorful format, teaching you to imagine, create, and completely reshape the way you experience time.

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    • RC Flyer profile image

      RC Flyer 4 years ago

      Every once in a while, have to go back and be reminded of this.

    • Smurfs LM profile image

      Smurfs LM 4 years ago

      great information. These days, we just have to be organized!

    • Jo-Jackson profile image

      Jo-Jackson 4 years ago

      Useful information. I have to-do lists everywhere that get out of hand.

    • Jo-Jackson profile image

      Jo-Jackson 4 years ago

      Useful information. I have to-do lists everywhere that get out of hand.

    • srsddn lm profile image

      srsddn lm 4 years ago

      Very useful information. Thanks for sharing.