Time to Create | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Time to Create

First Things First: The Matrix
	Many people are always doing urgent tasks they put off too long. This is no way to nurture creativity or success. Success guru Stephen Covey developed this time-management matrix. Lesson: Always try to be doing important/non-urgent tasks.

First Things First: The Matrix Many people are always doing urgent tasks they put off too long. This is no way to nurture creativity or success. Success guru Stephen Covey developed this time-management matrix. Lesson: Always try to be doing important/non-urgent tasks.

"Brilliant work is no accident." So writes Todd Henry, author of the inspiring book "Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant On a Moment's Notice" (Portfolio, 2012, $25.95), podcast and website (accidentalcreative.com). Henry doesn't sugarcoat what successful creatives already know: "structure and practice" are essential. And time scheduled for it.

Consider Ernest Hemingway's rigid schedule of getting up early, writing until mid-afternoon and then heading to the bars. He might have been a drunk, but only after the writing got done. This type of scheduling is evident in creative after creative.

So how to convince your right-brain, distinguished self to plan and get organized? You need to learn basic principles and then practice until it becomes second nature.

  • Break big projects down into small. Then schedule the steps and have fun!
  • Keep appointments with yourself.
  • Stop obsessing. Schedule and think about something else until it's time to work.
  • Write everything down, whether in a Moleskine, hipster PDA or in your smartphone.
  • Don't drown your potential with a bunch of trivia filling your head. Weed it out.
  • Keep notes in one place instead of scattered all over your desk.
  • "Process" all your notes, papers and ideas once a week or so. Figure out what actions to take and schedule them, even if it's just buying paintbrushes or making an outline.
  • Take time to get organized between more creative steps. Draft like mad; edit; repeat.
  • If it can be done in less than two minutes, do it right now. If not, schedule it.
  • Don't think your work is supposed to be perfect, or even good, the first time. Decide to do what writer Anne Lamott calls "sh*tty first drafts." You can, and should, edit it later.
  • Just promise yourself you'll work for five minutes. That'll usually pull you in if you focus.
  • Don't just put out fires; be proactive. Frazzled does not equal creative. In fact, it prevents it.
  • Push yourself to finish every task and every project. Don't just do 90 percent and give up like so many people do. Go the distance.

ALERT:

Creative ideas are everywhere! Don't be too frazzled to notice them.

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