As I mentioned before, for creative people, the mention of having a time management system might make them cringe because they may not be so fond of structure.  That structure contributes to the creative process and there are a few steps that will get you there.

First, know what I call your “power time”.  It’s important to know what time of day you are most alert; when you’re at your best and your creative juices flow most freely.  This is precious time for those who create for a living.  Treat it as such.  Use a good portion of this time to create your masterpieces.  When planning your day, set other times of the day for tasks that don’t require as much of your energy and concentration.

Create and maintain a to-do list.  Know that you don’t have to say “yes” to everything that comes your way.  You have the power of choice.  Exercise it wisely.  The things that you choose to do go on this list.  Once they are there, on a regular basis,  review the tasks before you.  Decide which take priority and tackle them accordingly. This allows you to avoid spending time on tasks that aren’t important, which is what happens when there is no rhythm (planning).  It’s easier to follow the bright shiny objects that come along instead of following a plan of any kind.  This might be a difficult thing to do, but it will allow you to make progress and maintain your freedom because you won’t be in reaction mode.

Most importantly, manage your interruptions.  At times, make yourself unavailable-turn off the phone, close your door, and don’t accept visitors.  Of course you’ll want to do this while you are creating, but there are other times you may wish to do so in order to keep up your productive flow.  That phone call or knock at the door might be important, but they are, nonetheless, interruptions.  Interruptions eat away at your concentration, making you less productive.

During the course of your day, keep a notebook handy so that you can quickly jot down things that need to be done or quick reminders.  This will keep you focused on what you are doing and keep those things that need to be done in front of you.  When you’re reviewing the things that need to be done, you can take items from your notebook and place them on your to-do list.

I encourage you to be creative in establishing your rhythm.  What’s important is that it includes tools and patterns in your daily activities that support you.  It doesn’t have to look like the “norm”, but you have to have it in order to be “in the zone” and keep your freedom.  Having and moving to your own rhythm is vital to your creative process in more than one way.