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How One Reader Is Using My Time Management Series

Cat Wentworth who commissioned my series on Time Management for Creative People, has started blogging about her experience of putting the ideas into action. Her first post is Why We Need to Be Organised to Be Creative.

My posts are going out on Fridays and she’s promising to answer my questions the following Monday. I have to say I’m really looking forward to following it, I love seeing what people make of my questions. A while ago I did a documentary where the client kept a video diary between sessions, which was fascinating to watch, this gives me a similar feeling.

Here’s one question and Cat’s reply:

What effect does feeling muddled and disorganised have on your creativity?

When I’m not in control I stagnate. I lose sight of what should be important, at times wasting time on what’s not important – the fiddly side projects.

Today I worked without a to-do list and found myself jumping up from my work to do chores, going off into a different projects (emails, answering blog conversations, cleaning my desktop) and making excuses. I’m not saying the emails and blog conversations are not important. They are. But in their own time.

Amen to that, sister. That sense of constant interruption, of never being able to settle and focus properly, was one of the reasons I investigated time management, and a prime reason for sharing what I found in this series. It’s bad enough to have that feeling whatever your job is, but if you’re a professional artist or creative then it’s robbing you of your most valuable (and enjoyable) resource – your attention.

The next post comes out this Friday on Business of Design Online. Here are the post titles for the whole series:

October 11: Why you need to be organised to be creative

October 19: Prioritise work that is ‘important but not urgent’

October 26: Ring-fence your most creative time

November 2: Avoid the ‘Sisyphus effect’ of endless to-do lists/p>

November 9: Get things done by putting them off till tomorrow

November 16: Get things off your mind

November 23: Review your commitments

November 30: Resources to help you get things done

Thanks for sharing, Cat.

EDIT: If you prefer watching video to reading, here’s a time management training interview in which I explain some of the key concepts from this series.

Would you like your team to be more creative and productive?

If your team could do with some help getting creative work done in the midst of the demands and distractions of the 21st-century workplace, ask me about running my popular time management training workshop Time Management for Creative People for your organisation.


  1. Thanks for the mention Mark 🙂

    And thank you for writing such an informative series. I’m certainly in need of it.

    And as we spoke about earlier, there’s a group of designers watching from the wings, waiting to see each post of your series. It’s all good advice so I’m confident they’ll be chuffed. I know I am.

    I’m also hoping that more people will take advantage of your series in whatever way suits their working style.

  2. This makes absolute sense. I find that I’m way less creative when I’m unorganized. I need some structure — and constraints! — to be productive as a creator. (Kind of like you writing your poetry!)

  3. Thanks Roger, yes you’ve hit the nail on the head re structure/constraints and poetry. Freedom’s not as liberating as it seems.

  4. Thanks Cat – I look forward to hearing the views from the wings…

  5. I must be doing something wrong. I have a list next to me at all times of what I need to do and I still pop up to do chores and do side things that could wait.

  6. Rosanne – reminds me of Kingsley Amis: ‘The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.’

  7. Hi Mark,
    I am a full time IT professional and a part time blogger and I really relate to your series on time management. I constantly feel pulled in various directions by work pressures, life outside work, blogging interest etc. And I have only 24 hours to manage all this. Being organized and prioritizing is the key to managing all this and I am constantly trying to master these so that they become second nature to me. Its good to know that others feel this way too.

  8. Hi Vineet, that’s exactly the feeling that prompted me to investigate time management! i hope the e-book is helpful for you.