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


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