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  As a creative person, effective time management can be challenging. The creative process is unpredictable and doesn’t always follow a set schedule. You can go through bursts of intense inspiration followed by periods of little productivity. However, poor time management leads to missed deadlines, unfinished projects, and frustration. To thrive as a creative and consistently produce your best work, you need solid time management skills. Here are the top 10 ways to manage your time as a creative:
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  1. Plan each day in advance

One of the most important habits that will help your time management is planning out your day ahead of time. This allows you to assign dedicated time slots for creative work, admin tasks, appointments, and other essentials. Having a clear plan prevents distractions and wasted time.
  1. Prioritize ruthlessly  

Not all tasks are created equal. Creatives must prioritize their highest-impact activities first each day while cutting out the trivial busywork. Apply the 80/20 rule – what 20% of efforts drive 80% of results?
  1. Chunk your time

Extend periods of deep, focused work by chunking your time into 60-90-minute sessions. Concentrate solely on your prioritized creative task for that period without distractions. Then take a 10-15 minute break before the next chunk.
  1. Eliminate distractions

Speaking of distractions, identify your biggest time wasters and make a conscious effort to avoid them during your scheduled focus sessions. For you to effectively manage your time, you need to disable notifications, log out of social media and email, and find a quiet distraction-free zone.
  1. Take regular breaks

As crucial as chunks of focused work are for creatives, so are regular breaks. Burnout and exhaustion hinder creativity. Take short, mental breaks every couple of hours to recharge your mind and refresh your energy levels.
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  1. Do your highest priority first

One of the biggest tips for creatives is to tackle your most important work first each day when you are freshest and least fatigued. Save tedious admin tasks and low mental activities for later.
  1. Batch similar tasks together

To manage your time, group related tasks together to avoid context-switching costs. For example, batch creative work, email/admin work, meetings/calls etc into dedicated chunks. Constantly switching between different types of work kills momentum.
  1. Track your time use

You may think you have a solid grasp on how you spend your time, but actively tracking it can reveal surprising results. Use a time tracking app or manual journal to identify your peak productivity periods and biggest time wasters.
  1. Know your productivity cycles

Some creatives are night owls while others are morning people. Pay attention to your natural cycles of peak energy, focus, and creativity. Schedule your most demanding projects during those productive zones.
  1. Disconnect at the end of the day

Know when to call it a day and fully disconnect from work. Burnout is the enemy of creativity. Set clear boundaries between work time and personal/family time to allow your mind and body to recharge.
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Final Thoughts

Effective time management is an ongoing process of adjustments and iteration. However, establishing systems to corral your time and attention is essential to consistently producing your best creative output. Experiment with different techniques until you find the ideal methods for your unique work style and personality.
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This article was first published on 5th June 2024


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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