I've had several conversations with creative artists about time management over the last few days. Interesting how, for many creative people who make their living in the arts, following a strict schedule impedes their creativity and productivity. On the other hand, a more fluid system increases it. Colors, stickers, whiteboards, all different kinds of systems, but all very flexible and the work gets done! Here are a couple of sample systems:
Stickies with ideas or projects that need to get taken care of get stuck around a room or a computer. Some artists use different colored paper for the stickies, so each color represents a group of tasks or themes. The stickies can be grouped together along task or project lines, then as each task gets taken care of, the sticky is either thrown out or added to a to-be-continued area
Whiteboards are great for stream of consciousness mapping. Put a project in a circle in the middle then put the tasks in smaller circles connected to the middle. Easy to erase when a task gets done, easy to add more ideas and tasks as they come up
Lists are a perpetual favorite, but they often become random trains of thought that seem unmanageable and overwhelming. Some artists use a colored highlighter to emphasize particular areas of tasks, which means that they can focus on a particular color when they want to complete, for example, their writing for the dayThere are many more ways to organize time visually.
The key to each of these is that for many artists a visual form of time management works better than keeping a strict calendar. The tasks are often completed in a non-linear way, but the lack of rigidity helps artists to move seamlessly between project areas and items. If an idea comes up that fits better with another project, working artists will often make a note of it using their system, then have an easy way to get back to it when the time is right.
That does not mean that artists won’t show up on time or that they eschew calendars. Working professional artists make a point of being on time and prepared. It’s their journey to the meeting that might look different.