Why Can’t I Get Organized?!?
Creative people tend to function better doing what feels the most interesting at the time, rather than working on things that may be necessary but aren’t naturally appealing. Focusing on the interesting tasks is important to the creative process, but not always practical. I’ve found that putting off the less appealing (but mandatory) tasks causes them to snowball into bigger, more time-consuming jobs that leave me feeling rushed and overwhelmed. Disorganization of time and environment can cause us to feel buried and our mind to feel scattered and exhausted, which can greatly hinder the ability to feel inspired.
But what if we simply don’t feel like it??? How can we, as creative types, bring some of what we love about being creative into being organized? How can we make organization fun, or at least utilize it to make our lives a little easier?
CREATE A PRETTY SPACE
Creative people tend to prefer things to be in plain view, with easy access. While left-brain people may do better with file cabinets and drawers, these things just don’t work as well for us. Try organizing your materials in clear containers or on shelves instead. Use objects that you find visually appealing to organize your supplies and paperwork, like baskets or colorful bowls. Think of it as a design project rather than a means of putting things in order.
REWORK YOUR ‘TO DO’ LIST
Adding a giant project to the top of your To Do list every day will create overwhelming feelings of anxiety. Try breaking down big projects into specific tasks that can be spread out over time, list things in order of importance, and be realistic about how much time you can devote to each thing. If you don’t finish something, move it to the top of your list for the next day. Stick to concise daily lists with fair goals for yourself.
BEAUTIFY THAT ‘TO DO’ LIST
Creative people are naturally drawn to beautiful things. If you’re like me and you discover one day that you’re ‘to do’ list looks just as visually unappealing as your disheveled workspace, try something different. Make a pretty notebook or chalkboard, and use something colorful to cross off each task when it’s done. If you prefer to keep your list on your computer, use your favorite colors and fonts for the text, or design a graphic for the top that you’ll enjoy seeing each morning.
FIND YOUR FLOW
This is important. Traditional techniques for organizing spaces and managing time don’t always work well for the creative person, and forcing yourself to try to make them work for you will only create more challenges. (I know! I’ve tried!) Creative people think outside the box, and this “different” way of thinking is one of the main things that make you artistic, imaginative, and bright! Instead of fighting against your natural tendencies when organizing, make use of the same unique methods that you use to contribute to your creative flow. Incorporate your personal style by utilizing colors and themes that appeal to you. If there is certain music that inspires you when creating, listen to it while filing. If you drink hot tea while you create, have a cup while sorting. If you find that things feel a little too structured for you once you’ve de-cluttered the kitchen, break up the monotony by placing pretty objects in between containers. Make the process of organizing work with you rather than against you.
GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK
One of my biggest challenges is learning how to overcome my habit of feeling guilty about what I haven’t accomplished instead of being proud of what I have accomplished. We are our own harshest critics, and putting too much pressure on ourselves can end up stifling our creativity and cause a loss of focus, leading to disorganization. Make time for yourself, breathe, and let it all go at the end of the day. In the morning, you’ll wake up more refreshed and inspired. A clear mind makes staying organized and productive much easier than a scattered one.
We all strive for the perfect balance – creative and organized!