ASAP is poison. Urgency is overrated.
And this couldn’t be more true than in creative work.
Because uninterrupted time creates the focus needed to solve things that matter most.
Here’s how to ruthlessly prioritize your creative work in 5 steps:
1. List & Categorize Tasks
First start on projects that exist at the intersection of high impact (potential for the biggest results) and low effort (takes the least amount of time and energy).
Doing so maximizes growth for the least amount of effort.
Then start to spend time chipping away at the bigger, meatier, projects that require more time.
2. Outline Tradeoffs
How do you stay on track with the first step?
You let yourself know how messy things are gonna become if you put your attention elsewhere and things get nuts.
Having a clear understanding of negative consequences for putting your time and energy in the wrong place will help you to better allocate resources.
3. Schedule Task Buckets
Set aside hour long time blocks on your calendar for specific projects.
Then, push away any other requests that come through during those time periods.
Doing so can help to make sure you’re giving each task the time it needs and deserves.
Because multi-tasking in creative work never leads to a thoughtful end product.
4. Axe Meetings & Checkins
The worst time waster in creative work is meaningless meetings and checkins.
If you already have your marching orders then these are the first things that need to be removed to save time.
By outwardly expressing your process with the first 3 steps above you can get coworkers to better understand your needs and give you space to execute efficiently.
5. Stop Tending to Small Fires
The hardest part of this process comes when you have a bunch of other small and unrelated tasks that get thrown your way.
But the only way to get the big work done is to ignore these little fires.
The secret? Many, if not all, of them tend to go away on their own the more you’re able to prioritize and check off the bigger projects.
How this is relevant for a:
Freelancer — Because you’re doing everything from finance to design and everything in between you need a framework that can help push away unnecessary work. This is that framework!
Full-timer — Bigger departments means more energy put toward work that doesn’t matter. Following these steps will help to keep teams aligned on the same targets and objectives.
Dabbler — It’s hard to know where to put your time when you’re first starting out. But by using these steps you have the ability to develop good habits right from the jump.
Creative roles are typically the biggest “doers” in any organization. With anyone and everyone relying on our output to push projects forward. But that doesn’t mean you have to constantly feel like the world is on fire. By following the steps above you’ll:
- Enforce better boundaries
- Be more productive
- Have more creative ideas
Because the less time you have to yourself…
The less work gets done.