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43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Vox Pop: Implementing GTD for Creative Work?

creativepro.com - Getting Design Done

Interesting article here by our old pal, Keith Robinson, introducing GTD to creative types. This is a fascinating topic for me, particularly since I sometimes find it difficult to "crank widgets" when it comes to anything creative.

Keith's an old hand with this stuff, so it's not surprising that he's developed his own tweaks for Getting Creativity Done. Here's a novel idea:

Create a creative time and space for yourself. Make sure it's free of distraction and get into the habit of going there as often as you can. When there, pull out your @creative lists and get to work. I find this is a great way to tackle smaller creative problems. It's how I come up with -- and get started on -- most of my writing. This article is a result of my @creative time.

That's an interesting way to think about contexts. Ordinarily, you'd think of contexts as representing access to a certain kind of tool or as a physical or temporal limitation, whereas Keith is using it almost like a project.

This is challenging stuff that my buddy, Ethan, and I end up talking about all the time. We both agree that you can use GTD to "clear the decks" for creative work -- to move aside all the mundane workaday tasks that might keep you from focusing on blocks of time for creative stuff. But we, like a lot of people, both struggle with how (or even whether) to put truly creative work into our GTD systems. What do you think?

How are you using GTD for creative work? What do projects and next actions look like for a painter, a screenwriter, or a dancer? What's your best trick for getting creative stuff done?

Cari's picture

I divide my work contexts...

I divide my work contexts into "Short and Easy" and "Chunk of Time." Short and Easy tends to be the widgety things, while Chunk of Time is a little less defined in terms of next actions. The verbs tend to be things like "try" or "investigate." The way I see it, certain parts of my workflow don't need to be broken down, because they don't cause me anxiety and I'm not procrastinating on them. I sit down in my chair, and I know what to do. (Jamie said this better above -- it's like breathing.) For example, if I'm working on proving a theorem, I might be trying a bunch of different things, going and doing some side reading, drawing stuff on the whiteboard, but all I really need to keep track of in my system is my starting point for the next Chunk of TIme. It's only when I start procrastinating on something that I think, "Ok, what is the next physical thing I can do to move this forward?" So I guess I disagree a bit with the statement you made in your Google talk about everything in the system needing to be the "same size." I think things need to be broken down only to the point that they prompt you to actually get to work.




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