Why is structure important for creative processes?
Do your commitments sometimes seem like an insurmountable hill, and you don’t know where to start? Or do you feel that due to other obligations, you do not have enough time to dedicate to creative work? If your answer is yes, you may need to reconsider your time management and prioritization habits. Snežana Isaković and Boris Bočvarski on behalf of Gi Group, the main educational partner of the “Creative Mentoring” program, shared with the participants of the VI cycle some tools and approaches that can help them improve their focus and achieve their goals.
The overflow that we may feel in the face of a multitude of obligations, can be overcome by establishing structure and determining focus. For example, we can present the obligations as a pile of conifer needles to which we assign a tree (goal), larger branches (key areas that lead us to the goal), and smaller branches (tasks that we need to fulfill). The needles then represent the smallest actions that lead us to achieve the goal and remain only those that are relevant to previously defined areas and tasks. Then, every time we find ourselves in a similar situation, we can set our tree of obligations.
In addition to this, there are several other approaches we can apply:
– Urgent vs. important
By placing tasks in this matrix, we can easily see that in fact, a few tasks are both urgent and important. In four fields we need to arrange A – burning issues and tasks, what cannot be planned, B – what the company requires of me, C – tasks in which we need to provide some help to others and D – tasks that are not directly our responsibility. Most of the tasks we perform belong to group B.
– Pareto principle
The second name of this principle is 80:20 and refers to the fact that most results (80%) are obtained through only 20% of activities and tasks. It is advisable to use this principle for type B tasks – those for which we are responsible and for which we are expected to do; to make them of satisfactory quality. Try to apply this approach during the day when you think you are most productive for 1h30 to 3 hours.
– Pomodoro technique
For efficient use of time, we suggest you try the Pomodoro technique, in which time is divided into blocks: those of 20 or 30 minutes in which we work and shorter breaks in between. Due to flexibility, this technique can be adopted as a principle for time management and off-duty and can be used throughout the day, for various tasks and responsibilities.
– Short-term and long-term planning
While it may sound simple, planning requires thinking about priorities, results, and time management. When goals are well-distributed and timely, we are more likely to achieve them. Try to set priorities and goals for the next year, the upcoming quarter, month, week, and day.
How can these tools now serve us in creative processes? By working to improve focus and better allocate priorities and responsibilities, we leave ourselves more time for creative work. Creative processes take place on a subconscious level, in moments when we do not have access to other sources of information. That is why it is important to free up time to simply do nothing and to allow our creative capacities to develop in those moments.