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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?

Alex Moseley's picture

As a furniture maker, poet...

As a furniture maker, poet (oh, yeah, and software engineer), I've used GTD mostly for clearing the deck. Mind like water is essential for keeping my creative energy up.

Ubiquitous collection is essential. Keep a journal. It's the collection point, the inbox for creative work. Write/draw whatever thougts come to mind. I've been using a Circamagine notebook for this, with great success. Pages go in, come out, rearrange easily, so there's no mental barrier to using it. I wish Levenger would bring them back, but at least I can still get refills.

For more purely composition-based creative work like writing, I need to establish a firewall, and make sure the people around me respect the firewall. Outside of that context, when I learn about a new lit journal seeking submissions, for example, Next Actions are great: review journal content; get submission guidelines; select pieces for submission; package and send submission.

For other creative work like furnituremaking, Next Actions are essential. After the initial composition stage of a furniture piece, when I have most of the problems solved and the steps planned out, I've found next actions essential for driving the piece to completion.

Doing my creative work after my work day, it's essential to be able to step into my @creative context and crank widgets. Even when I come home with little remaining energy, I can spend 15 or 20 minutes to move my creative projects forward, and feel great for having done it.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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