Time management for creative people

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wishful thinking

T ime Management

for Creative People
Manage the mundane - create the extraordinary
Mark McGuinness
First published on www.businessofdesignonline.com

S ome rights reserved
This e-book published by Mark McGuinness, London 2007
Text © Mark McGuinness 2007
This e-book is published under a Creative Commons licence whichallows you to copy and distribute the e-book as long as
you keep it intact in its original format, credit the original author and do not use it for commercial purposes.

Web: www.wishfulthinking.co.uk
Blog: www.wishfulthinking.co.uk/blog
E-mail: wish@wishfulthinking.co.uk

Important note about the illustrations
The images in this e-book are licensed from www.istockphoto.com for use within thisdocument. If you wish to use them
elswhere you should obtain a licence from www.istockphoto.com
Image credits:
p.1 www.istockphoto.com/ldf
p.4 www.istockphoto.com/demarco-media
p.7 www.istockphoto.com/foued42
p.10 www.istockphoto.com/kativ
p.14 www.istockphoto.com/claylib
p.17 www.istockphoto.com/tmcnem
p.21 www.istockphoto.com/ju-lee
p.25 www.istockphoto.com/leggnet

This e-book contains no affiliate links.

Wishful Thinking - www.wishfulthinking.co.uk


C ontents
1. Why you need to be organised to be creative


2. Prioritise work that is ‘important but not urgent’


3. Ring-fence your most creative time


4. Avoid the ‘Sisyphus effect’ of endless to-do lists


5. Get things done by putting them off tilltomorrow


6. Get things off your mind


7. Review your commitments


8. Resources to help you get things done


9. If you found this e-book helpful...


10. The author and publisher


Wishful Thinking - www.wishfulthinking.co.uk


1 . Why you need to be
o rganised to be creative

“Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violentand original in your work.”
Gustave Flaubert
So you start the day full of enthusiasm. You’re excited about a new piece of creative work and
itching to put your ideas into action. Firing up your computer, the familiar stream of e-mails pours
into your inbox, burying the ones you didn’t get round to replying to yesterday. Scanning through
the list, your heart sinks – two of them look as thoughthey require urgent action. You hit ‘reply’
and start typing a response to one of them… 20 minutes later you ‘come round’ and realise
you’ve got sucked into the e-mail zone and have been sidetracked by interesting links sent by
friends, as well as writing replies about issues that aren’t a priority for you. You minimize the email window and get back to your project…
After 15 minutes you’rereally enjoying yourself, getting into your creative flow – when the phone
rings. Somebody wants something from you. Something to do with a meeting last week. You
rummage through the papers on your desk, searching for your notes. You can’t find them.
Suddenly your heart leaps as you lift up a folder and find an important letter you’d forgotten about
– it needed an urgent response, several days ago.‘Hang on, I’ll get back to you’ you tell the
person on the phone, ‘I’ll ring you back when I’ve found it’. You put the phone down and pick up

Wishful Thinking - www.wishfulthinking.co.uk


Why you need to be organised to be creative

the letter – this needs sorting immediately, but you remember why you put it off – it involves
several phone calls and hunting through your files fordocuments you’re not sure you even kept.
By now, you’ve only got half an hour before your first meeting and you’ve promised to ring that
person back. . Your design stares at you reproachfully. The e-mail inbox is pinging away as it fills
up – already there are more messages than before you started answering them. Your enthusiasm
has nosedived and the day has hardly begun. Creative work seems...
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