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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?

Steve Schreiber's picture

GTD is very effective for...

GTD is very effective for the active musician. Projects I have cover a wide range of musical activities, for example: "Create a new mini-set" which describes the project of constructing approximately 15 - 20 minutes of new material, practicing it and getting it to be performance ready; or, "Arrange new A minor sus4 thing into a tune" which describes a composition project; and another - "Implement Band In A Box as a viable practice tool" which is more of a computer based project. You can have entire practice-oriented projects such as "Learn Pat Martino's Linear Expressions material", and cycle through the chapters one at a time on your next actions list.

Contexts for holding next actions for these projects include @guitar, @bass, or @percussion depending on what instrument I'm choosing to practice. For the technical work, it would be @audio_workstation.

The nice thing here is that it's very easy to construct effective practice sessions from the next actions list. Just pick up your list and bam! you'll always have four or five of the right things to work on.

Useful caoture lists to support these projects include things like "Tunes I want to write and record", "Tunes I need to practice".

And, in the spirit of GTD, you can always chose to put aside the action lists and have free-random-spontaneous jam time without feeling guilty.

Focus improves using GTD - a critical factor for musical activity.

I think this post really only scratches the surface of what's possible.





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