The creative reason why creative people need to be well organized

Sheila Chandra - Monday, May 15, 2017


Being well organized starts with knowing why it’s important to you. After all, if you don’t know why you’re doing it, your subconscious mind won’t help you prioritize it.



Why being well organized is essential when you have a creative career

Contrary to popular myth, being well organized actually helps you be creative. For instance what are you going to do if inspiration strikes and you don’t have your work materials easily to hand? Will you miss out on ideas while you search for a pen/brush? Secondly, how will you keep track of all your amazing ideas? Will you simply work on them haphazardly? And finally, how will you consistently steer your career, so that those great ideas get the exposure they deserve?


Being well organized is not about ‘looking good’

Too many of us creative people have mistaken ideas about what being well organized means. Take a minute the think about what it means for you. Is it about having a beautiful studio? One where things are displayed the way they are in those gorgeous high-end interior design shops you sometimes visit? Should that actually be your goal? Too often we’ve learned about what being well organized looks like, from people who are desperate to sell us storage solutions. These are not people who know anything about being a creative person, nor do they know anything about your own personal habits in your workspace.



Being well organized means making sure your workspace works around you

Shouldn’t being well organized mean that you work faster and more efficiently? Around your personal unique work patterns? And therefore does it matter what being well organized looks like to others? You may lay out your tools very idiosyncratically – in a way that looks almost random to others. If it helps you work well and easily, then it really doesn’t matter. But if you look in interior design magazines, you could almost believe that there’s a ‘correct’ one-size-fits-all way to be well organized. This is completely wrong.



Your workspace should act like an ‘exo-skeleton’

Think about what happens when a great idea strikes you. If you’re well trained in your discipline, chances are there’s nothing stopping that idea being expressed by your body perfectly e.g. what you ‘see in your head’ is what you draw, or what you sing, or play. And that usually happens first time. It’s ultra efficient because you’ve spent time making sure your body is under control. Well I want your workspace to do the same. I want there to be no interruption as that idea flows out of you onto paper, tape, canvas or hard drive.


What does that mean?

It means nothing tripping you up, no searching frantically for the right pen/brush/microphone/file. No tripping over cables or your cup of tea. Nothing stopping you or interrupting you. Why? Well you and I both know that the faster you get that fantastic idea down, the more ‘life’ it’s going to contain. It has to be an efficient process, because your career depends on it. Can you see why I’m saying your workspace should act like an extension of your body? It should enable you to work just as well as your well-trained muscles do.



How do I make sure I’m well organized to that degree?

List the frequent tasks you perform in your workspace – each on a separate index card. Now under each task list the things you need to achieve it. Each of these tasks should form the basis of a ‘workstation’ where everything you need to complete it is literally within an easy arm’s reach, with the most frequently used items to the front. Once you arrange all your frequent task workstations like this, you’ll find yourself getting things done much faster and more easily. Particularly if you get into the habit of replacing every item in its place each time as you go.

And the upside is less stress. Your workspace will feel far more welcoming, because it’s easy to work in – however chaotic it looks. Try it out! You’ll find it time well spent.

If you want to know more about how to create efficient workstations in your creative workspace, and about creative habits that will reduce stress in your creative working life read the creative workspaces and creative wellbeing chapters of ‘Organizing for Creative People’.


Car Wreckers commented on 15-Aug-2017 03:34 AM
My spouse and i got now happy that Chris managed to deal with his studies with the ideas he obtained out of your blog. It's not at all simplistic to simply continually be handing out strategies which many people might have been trying to sell. And we also see we've got you to appreciate for that. The main illustrations you have made, the straightforward blog navigation, the friendships your site make it easier to instill - it's got everything remarkable, and it is helping our son and our family do think the issue is fun, and that is very essential. Many thanks for all!

Post a Comment

Captcha Image


Recent Posts


sheila chandra coaching organizing for creative people productivity hijacking creativity tidy people disorganization car myth overwork writing funding campaigns artistry anxiety work efficiently feel like creatiing double standard celebrity endorsed products buy fewer clothes email creative people loving your audience : clothes inspiration artists sacrifice ‘stories’ about your possessions professional encouragement getting ready for work stay on top of email cleaning being organized nascent artists normality copyright efficient work patterns self promotion appointments successful artist work life good art work branding exhaustion streamlining routines low maintenance strategies business buying hope home life career strategy creative organising social media fine art cleaning your desk how to work efficiently living clutter free pop culture diary clutter addict well organized workspaces working class culture professional creative career why organise social media networking absences tips for clearing work/home life balance theft clear outs great art proposals procrastination good creative habits popular culture collections inconvenience professional mentors friendships creative ambitions tidiness in living spaces well curated closet VIPs touring being tripped up stardust fall of innocence artist staying in control creative person buying wealth resentment low maintenance clarity of thought nipping things in the bud artist mentors tension emotional resilience under-confidence stop hoarding stuff funding goals quality warm down elevator pitch display items emotional support storage tidy chaotic partners hotel room emotionally secure artist to do list living mess free motivation parent cupboard of shame great artists clear desk nurturing creative work slow and steady email bankruptcy innocence tidy desk culture grief creative culture effortlessly tidy organisation creative commissions boredom artistic chaos mess creative career jealousy time clutter friends morning routines emotional balance buying youth card introverts crowdfunding housework much quicker diagnosis ‘creativity’ home organising compulsion the void slim-line wardrobe how to be naturally tidy business-like artist mentoring cry imagination spree mature artists creative wellbeing missed opportunities working class artists artist materials wardrobe vulnerability vocation just in case static spaces tortoise and hare creative spark bulk buy temperament smart artists artist workspaces stay tidy automatically artistic conviction clearing clutter clean desk buying happiness arrogance childhood confident in clothes Sheila Chandra author networking creativity diary peer-to-peer networks letting go clearing commitment binge network visualising peacefulness proposal writing hostile clutter email overload home care options organise clutter domestic life too busy dynamic spaces wind down control nurture creativity guilty purchases precious memories green room creative identity subconscious mind trope focus much better friend creative career coaching symptoms of creativity saving time mornings pop music work priorities stop cluttering concentrated creative time work trips minimalists magic lazy brands feeling creative artist goals too many commitments creative magic networking effectively multiple lifetimes creativity loss new year buying stardust brilliant creator good friend how to save time long-term artistic development clearing as you go business-speak hoarding business interface to creative businesses clearing in short bursts platform lifetimes creative confidence tidier 2018 goals critical acclaim making decisions criteria for letting go of stuff hobbies