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


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