- File Size: 388 KB
- Print Length: 110 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Lateral Action books (September 14, 2016)
- Publication Date: September 14, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01LXUKMQ2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,395 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Productivity for Creative People: How to Get Creative Work Done in an "Always on" World Kindle Edition
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Jocelyn K. Glei, author and Founding Editor, 99U
"Many creative people are busier than ever, but rarely get around to the work that truly matters. Mark McGuinness offers solid and practical advice for busy creative people who want to make their mark on the world."
Todd Henry, author of The Accidental Creative
"Authors now have amazing online tools to reach readers all over the world, but those same tools can distract us from the focused creativity that we love and that we need to write better books. In Productivity for Creative People, Mark McGuinness outlines a way of working that will help you sort out what's really important and achieve your creative goals, while still managing your daily tasks. Recommended for any author who is feeling overwhelmed."
Joanna Penn, bestselling author and award-winning entrepreneur. TheCreativePenn.com
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Yet I struggle to apply that same mindset to my creative work. Like many people, I spend much of my waking life connected to some form of digital communication, either for work or entertainment. And while I am grateful for all the benefits, I am also wary of how all these forms of connectedness can quickly sap my time, energy and focus – and effect my creative output.
In his new book Productivity for Creative People, Mark McGuinness specifically addresses the challenge of getting creative work done in context of today's all-pervasive, all-access technology (e-mail, sms, social media, apps, etc.), an age where the flip side of opportunity is distraction and overwhelm.
The book provides a useful collection of insights, tips and techniques taken from McGuinness’s experiences as a creative individual (poet, writer) and his 20 years coaching creative professionals. Initially a series of articles and later issued as a free eBook Time Management for Creatives, this updated version takes into account relevant social and technological changes.
Productivity for Creative People consists of three sections. Section one reflects on work habits and big-picture decision-making. Section two discusses carving out time for creative work. Section three covers keeping up with all other work. Chapters close with a short list of questions to reinforce key takeaways.
Those looking for a ready-made out of the box productivity ‘system’ should look elsewhere. McGuinness makes it clear from the start that “There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to creativity.”
Caution: Read this book and never again can you use ‘lack of time’ as a barrier to achieving your creative ambitions.
You will learn ways to effectively manage deadlines, calendars, e-mail, and smartphones, why to nap, use post-its as to-do lists, organize commitments in buckets, and more. McGuinness suggests trying one or two ideas for at least a week to see what results they bring you: “You can then layer in more changes, tweaking and adjusting your work habits and systems—to the point where they become effortless and automatic, leaving you free to focus on the work in front of you.”
He cites leading research and well-known productivity thought leaders, while also taking on common productivity myths like the merits of multi-tasking and doing nothing as a waste of time. Incubation? Jubulation! I was delighted to learn my habit of needing to step back from the writing process at times has a name and purpose. I also discovered I have a creative ritual. Fun.
Organization, structure, discipline, and habit, elements McGuinness calls “vital to creativity," are also what he says are needed to uncover the method in our individual working habits. From there, we can develop a truly creative routine and rhythm to our working day.
Applying the above takes work, I know. Organization, structure, discipline, and habit brought me success in running. Now I need to do the same on the creative front.
There is so much wisdom packed into this book that I know it will become an ongoing reference for me.
The advice is immensely practical. You get the sense that each and every tip, trick, or method was personally tried and that gives the reader the comfort that Mark has been there, done that, got the battle scares thank you very much.
Two important things come out of Productivity for Creative People that personally resonate with me — discipline and boredom. Both are critical to being productive creatively yet seem at odds to each other. This contradiction is really why I thing this book is essential to all creatives since it’s critical to have the discipline to create yet take the time to let the muse inspire you without taking too much time that the resistance creeps in.
This book will help you achieve the creative discipline required to create your art and is a must read for anyone creative.
Things I found helpful:
Find out what is your most productive time of day for creative work and make the most of it.
Turn off the Internet and cell phone and other distractions.
Use a speech recognition program and dictate your writing – I’m going to try this to transcribe handwritten notes.
He offers suggestions for dealing with “boredom” and “resistance” – blocks to getting started.
One thing I found less helpful:
He suggests having several “buckets” for to-do lists. That sounds like a lot of places to check every day. I prefer using just one central place (I use a Planner Pad), although I can break down my to-do lists in it by category (work, personal, etc.). I do like his idea of having a to-do list that is short enough to be realistically accomplished in one day.
I hope I haven’t given away too many “spoilers” here...but hey, it’s a free book. Download it and find your own helpful ideas.
Top international reviews
Following on from Resilience and Motivation, Mark’s latest book is subtitled 'How to get creative in an "always on" world'. I am sure Mark will appreciate the irony that I decided to review it on a day I had designated as holiday! That aside, it is a straightforward, clear look at the reasons why we get stuck, with some sensible, practical suggestions on how to get unstuck and out of overwhelm. I love that it isn't about a "system". I have tried other peoples' sure fire systems before and found them an imposition, cutting down my creativity even further - as well as layering on guilt as they didn’t work and so I obviously must be doing something wrong!
Mark's book is written from his own understanding of being both a poet and a freelancer (as well as all his years of experience of coaching creative people). He knows that all the things we love about being our own bosses (such as all that wonderful freedom of choice) are also the things that can constrain us, leaving us paralysed with indecision. Mark gives lots of ideas of how to be more productive and encourages you to try them out a few at a time, to find out which ones work for you, rather than which ones you think you should be doing. He also includes great coaching questions so that you can really engage with his material and work out your own best practice. (Possibly my favourite quote in the book is: "Your creative process and working habits might look like total chaos to an outsider, but if they work for you, that's all that matters.")
Having followed Mark's work for a long time, I have tried and adopted several of the habits he has suggested: using my best time of day for my most important work; putting a to do list on a Post-It note; using speech recognition software; and, best of all, the power of napping! They have helped me tremendously in my freelancing coaching career. This book is a great way to get a full blast of his insights and advice and give your working habits a reboot.
Written with humor and no bull, each of the three main sections clearly identify and address ways of making your valuable creative time more effective and enjoyable. Since my first start to finish read I've adopted those elements that work for me into my daily routine and it's made a significant difference. Not only to my creative efforts but also by reducing my stress and anxiety levels.
I now have the author's formula (no, this book is not a 'system' - it's realistic and down to earth) for Sustainable Workload pinned prominently to the wall in my workroom.
I'm certainly going to purchase other books by this excellent author - Five Stars from me.
This book is packed with actionable tips. It doesn't tell readers exactly how to run their days but provides us with a selection of tools and questions we can use to overhaul our productivity and spend more time doing the things that inspired us to start in the first place.
If your writing (/painting/composing/etc) always seems to come last, this book will help you figure out why – and fix it. If you seem to spend all day at your computer (in your studio/etc) without really accomplishing anything, you’ll learn ways of working more effectively – without losing any of the joy of your creative work.
A must-read for anyone working in a creative profession – or anyone who wants to – McGuinness’s advice is encouragingly practical and non-judgmental. Do pick this one up, sooner rather than later: it could make all the difference to the rest of your creative life.
I've read quite a few productivity books, but this is specifically from the angle of creative people, which is what sets it apart and makes it all the more useful.