Creative Productivity Can Be Nutty...

October 5, 2016

Photo credit: Artist, Juan Bosco
Go check out his stuff here.




I recently was lovingly teased for ‘squirreling’. We’ve all heard the term. And if you’ve seen the 2009 Disney movie UP (was it really that long ago now?!)…than you know exactly what it refers to. See clip here.

People seem to use this term as a negative quality to describe someone who is distracted easily and not grounded in their thoughts vs actions. And I often feel conflicted because in all truth I can relate to 'squirreling'; its a natural part of being a Creative. I get more accomplished when I squirrel than if I tackle one thing at a time. My focus is split and divided to conquer more in less time with a productivity level that works well for me.

I typically have multiple projects on the go in any given day. Whether mundane tasks around home, custom crafting, or prepping for an event… I can accomplish more by skipping between projects and not quite completing any of them at one time.

Within the creative chaos, I have a precise and organized (to me) system. Unfortunately, its mostly in my head and seems to boggle and confuse those around me when I appear to be scrambling between tasks. Guess I could work on my communication skills to better relay my processes. But seriously…that shit just slows me down.

How do I manage to complete multiple open-ended tasks at once?
I break everything down into steps.

Today I have the following on the go.

1. Sanding Charger Plates

2. Spray Painting said Charger Plates

3. Paper Flower Creating

4. Blogging & Social Media Content

5. Printing & Office Work

And this is what my day looks like as I go....

Sanding: My hands get really tired and sore with things like sanding. Sadly, craft projects are my passion but also my nemesis for hand-health. With 150 charger plates to prepare for painting, I break down a quantity that I can complete before the ache is too deep to handle. That quantity seems to be 10 but I push it to 15.

I then move onto 1 of many steps of cutting paper into petal shapes for paper flowers and complete that one step.

Then, I take a break by painting as many charger plates that will fit on my drop sheet. Roughly 15 so that works well with my sanding process.

As those are drying, I go back and wipe off each of the previously sanded charger plates so I cant paint them when I have room on the drop sheet. I do this task now because its on my way back INTO the house...where I need more coffee.

While I get coffee heated up/brewing, I tackle another step of my paper petal cutting and set it aside.

Time to drink coffee. This is when I turn on the computer and pretend to work. I mean… follow-up on communications and post some content. In between messages and emails, I check my social media feeds and keep up on publication and blog posts. It feels like playing and I get to keep up with friends and followers so I call it 'pretend' work.

Before I leave the computer, I set my printing to queue. While my printing is going, I head back out and move the painted charger plates to a drying area and free up space on my drop sheet.

And then I start the process all over again. Repeating and injecting new tasks and/or steps as I go.

Its how I operate. Its how I function best. It need not make sense to others as long as it works well for me. And while 'squirreling' is seen as being distracted, as a creative thinker my artistic brain is usually 2 or 3 steps ahead in the thought process - so multi-tasking is natural.

So instead... I choose to call myself a Butterfly; fluttering back and forth between flowers, gathering nectar and pollen. Or a Bee. Or heck… even a Squirrel is fine. Just don’t call me a slug and we are all good!


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