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Time Management – Are Cities Bad for Your Creativity?

Cat Wentworth has written another honest and interesting post about her experience of putting my Time Management for Creative People series into action.

She starts of by describing an island paradise where there wasn’t much to do in the way of entertainment and not a lot in the way of interruptions – so she found it fairly easy to get a lot of work done.

Apparently Bangkok is a little livelier:

Then what if you moved to one of the most exciting cities on earth. Bangkok. And what if there was no more live in help. And what if there was live music, easier amazon.com shipping, (some) bookstores, shops to drool over, Quiz Nights, a massage house in every neighbourhood, a new culture to discover and so much more. And what if all of this was available not by flying to another country, but by walking out the front door and hopping into a tuk tuk, or taxi, or by riding the sky train or the BTS.

How much work would you accomplish?

From personal experience, I can tell you, not a lot. Not without learning additional time management skills.

I think this is the crux of the problem for many creative professionals – we are attracted to busy, exciting cities that stimulate our imagination and provide networks of clients and collaborators; but the flpside of an always-on, always-connected lifestyle is that all those interruptions and distractions can play havoc with your creative focus.

I’m pleased that Cat is experimenting with a way of ring-fencing her creative time without following my own solution (getting up early) to the letter. Everyone’s different, so in this series I’m trying to offer general principles that people can take and adapt to their own talents and routines.

The next post in the series will appear this Friday on Business of Design Online. I’m looking forward to hearing what Cat makes of it next week…

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. I guess a big city is not a big problem when you really control your life, which can be hard for creative folks like us. I keep forgetting stuff 🙂 Simply can’t help it. A couple of weeks ago I’ve a link found this post http://www.wrike.com/blog/7/10/2007/Wrike_helps_you_get_things_done. These guys are really doing it, they are managing their time! I’m testing it now and already see some major life improvements.

  2. Hi Xina, yes I know what you mean! I’m not sure we can ever ‘control’ life (it would probably be a bit boring anyway) but not forgetting things is something we can definitely improve at. My 6th post in the series will be about how to do that – so you might want to visit Business of Design Online on 16th November.

    Thanks for the link, looks interesting.