Akram's Ideas

Creative Time

I’ve been so busy the past few weeks, not to mention my cough bothering me again that I just haven’t felt up to doing much in the way of creative projects.

When I get into these types of moods, even when I force creative sessions, like sewing a Halloween dress, last week for example, I don’t do my best. In fact I somehow made the bodice side seems 2″ to large, and had to redo it later.

The point to all this, is though I’m a very creative person, with my head just bursting with creative ideas, I rarely get to a lot of the projects I want to, and the biggest culprit is TIME.

Back in the spring Time magazine published an interesting info graphic on people’s thoughts on creativity.


According to the graphic creativity is so important, but why does it seem that we as individuals never have enough time to devote to creative projects?

There are two key factors that research show can help allow for more creative time and that is organization and time management.

I know both those words don’t seem very creative, since creativity lends itself to a more free-flowing way of thinking and organization and management of any kind is structured. The truth is that the most effective creative people have these skills.

One great example is the graphic art industry, in order to be a graphic artist, whether that’s a graphic designer, photographer, web designer, 3d modeler, etc. you need to be creative, have that spark of inspiration, think outside the box. However, you have to be organized, files must be named appropriately, layers in order, links all functional and connected for any of the content to function. Lastly you need to manage time in order to meet the clients/project deadlines.

So, organization and time management has a place but what are some ways that we can apply these skills to our lives, without loosing more creative time?

There happens to be a really good e-book online called Time Management for Creative People by Mark McGuinnes.

The book covers ways to effectively manage your time to allot for more creative time, one think is to avoid the never-ending to do list, which I’m afraid I’m guilty of. Cramming to many to-dos into an impractical time frame, can leave you feeling discouraged when you can’t get them done.

Here's an interesting info graphic on some top 10 time killers
Here’s an interesting info graphic on some top 10 time killers

Going back to organization for a moment, some creative individuals would argue they function best in the chaos of inspiration. I don’t buy that, how can a painter for example really be allowed to paint the most creative and awe-inspiring painting during a spark of creativity if they can’t find their paint brushes or even get to the canvas amidst the clutter and mayhem.

Being organized takes once again, time! However, not as much as you think. A few 5 minute chores here or there can really add up in the end. For example putting things back where they go after your through, so you can find them later or keeping a supply list so you know when you running low on something, that you might need during a creative moment.

Here's an example of a well organized craft room (photo credit: chrissy.farnan)
Here’s an example of a well-organized craft room (photo credit: chrissy.farnan)

Alright, so organization and time management are very important to being creative and there are lots of good resources about how to start, but it never seems to work, am I right. We’ll I’m here to confess that for the most part the reason why is because we creative people don’t know how to say “NO!

Kevin Ashton, cofounder and former executive director of the MIT Auto-ID Center, wrote an article on The Build Network, stating

“Saying ‘no’ has more creative power than ideas, insights, and talent combined. ‘No’ guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations.

The reason why we creative people have the never-ending to-do list is because we can’t say, no. Everything is a challenge and a new creative possibility, but more often than not just a time consumer.

My goal from now on is just say No, no to mean less tasks, to extra time-consuming little errand, let that fall to the individuals who need a creative push, for I have too many creative endeavors already on the fire.

My last bit of advice is not to feel guilty for being creative. I get this way quite often. What typically happens is that I have some less than glamourous task to complete, like say, grading. Then all of a sudden a moment of creativity comes upon me. I want to just get up and go work on this creative project, but I can’t because I feel guilty.

I feel guilty letting other things slide, but I can’t focus at the task at hand, because my mind is still on that creative project and I won’t give myself up to go work on. In the end I usually don’t get neither done.

Feeling this guilty feeling is silly, first off, the field in which I teach is all about being creative, so I need the opportunity to sharpen my creative skills. Also, usually after working on a creative project, I feel more productive and accomplished. This feeling lends itself back to being able to get more of those little tasks out-of-the-way more effectively than sitting there fretting about it.

Here's another interesting info graphic show what could be accomplished in 2 hours.
Here’s another interesting info graphic show what could be accomplished in 2 hours.

Well, those are just my thoughts on the matter. Hope I’ve inspired you to make time to get creative!


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Akram Taghavi-Burris

designer, writer, educator, tech nerd, crafter, baker, sewer and vintage collector, who Brings Creative & Crazy Ides to Life.

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