Creative people listen up. I’m a creative person. I love chaos, nonlinear structure, unsymmetrical patterns. It’s a great trait to have when dreaming up project and content ideas but I know I need a structure to deliver the project. Over my working years, I’ve learnt a few techniques that help my embrace my creativity. There are some things I’d love to share with you, you rare creative people.
Creativity is a useful trait to have. Especially if you’re in an industry where you need to generate attention grabbing content. I’ve worked with colleagues who don’t get my scattiness(!) and nonlinear thinking, especially if they’re not creative people themselves. But it’s a trait that’s been vital for me in idea generating roles. I’ve learnt to embrace my creativity, use it to my advantage and then organise it. My tip: think big then plan small. Dream ahead, then plan ahead.
I wanted to share with you the techniques I’ve learnt to tame my tangled mind. So, here are my tips on:
Project planning for creative people:
Embrace the chaos
To use a fitting cliché – when I’m inspired by an idea more seem to follow – like buses – haha. If I don’t write down everything I’m thinking I find I’m interrupted by thoughts while doing other tasks. So I brain dump – yes, I let my brain relieve itself and dump out everything thing it’s holding in.
I set an alarm for fifteen minutes and scribble everything down that I need to do to make it happen. I use post-it notes, scrap bits of paper, note apps and sometimes I use mind mapping software like Simple Mind.
Arrange the chaos
Then I organise the chaos. First I type my list into a spreadsheet or to-do list apps such as Wunderlist or Trello. Then I group each item into related categories. For example, what’s planning tasks, what I actually need to write, what I need to research? This helps me understand the different stages of the project. I don’t feel overwhelmed by wanting to do everything at once.
You can colour coordinate or create a separate sheet for each category. If you’re a visual thinker Simple Minds is great for creating colour coded cloud maps.
Order the chaos
When I have everything on paper and understand the tasks involved to make it happen, I prioritize. I create a timeline on paper first and then I move it into my google calendar when I’m happy with. My timeline gives me what I need to create my A, B and C priority apps. My A list is what I need to do immediately, so that day or the next few days. My B list is things I need to make happen in the next week or so. My C list is things I know I need to do over the next few weeks but it’s not so urgent that it needs to happen now. I also have a D list but this will stay in my arranged chaos groups for when I’m at that later stage of the project.
Because I’m a creative thinking my A list is ever-moving and written on scrap paper or an old book mark – anything to hand when things come into my mind. Once or twice a day I write it up again. I move items to my B or C list, and I make sure that my A list is as neat and chaos free as possible. My A list is what makes me a mover and shaker.
How do you plan your projects if you’re creative? Do you use mind map and to list apps like me? Let me know in the comments below and let’s create a list of best practice tips for creative people!
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