Staying creative, AKA trying to do ‘all the things’ and not lose my mind

dvuymgsglystl2ownx7dHere’s the thing, I like to stay creative. I come from a journalism and photography background academically, but as a kid, I loved comic books, movies and drawing. My room was filled with posters of comic stuff, movies and bands I listened to. I had drawings that I created by replicating comic panels. I used to make stop-motion movies with my dad’s video camera of my Star Wars, Lego and X-Men figures fighting on my bunk bed. Let’s not delve too deep into the movies I made with friends in high school – my dad recently unearthed some of these and digitized them. They varied from just dancing like ridiculous kids in front of the camera to Live or Van Halen, nonsensical short movies about gangsters or something like that. They’re cringeworthy now, but can never be gotten rid of. It’s fodder for my son to make fun of me in the future and for me to admit that hey – I too, was a weird kid that just wanted to play. It was all undirected fun. Which leads me to this post.

My Work

My current full-time job doesn’t lend itself to artistic creativity, ironic considering it’s a large arts and media college. But, that’s ok. I work in a tech sector of higher education. I live in Salesforce for 35 hours a week and various connected software applications. Finding technical solutions to problems can be creative, but it isn’t the type of creativity that keeps me feeling fresh and the internal brain juices flowing. I don’t often find myself feeling inspired that I just managed to find a new way to batch alter data.

That’s why I have Ludic Works and that’s what Ludic Works is about (despite me not posting a lot for the past few months). I have kept it as the all-inclusive home to write about whatever strikes me as interesting. It varies between pop culture, fatherhood, photography, etc. and appears fairly aimless. That’s ok too. Ludic means undirected playfulness.

But from that unorganized chaos, strives the challenge that I’m finding currently. I’m trying to “do all the things!” Lately, I’ve worked on creating a quick, comprehensive online portfolio. I’m taking HTML and CSS classes online at Code Academy. I’m working on drafting a novel. I write quick children’s poems for a possible collection in the future. I volunteer doing digital marketing and social media work at the Historic Elitch Theatre. Oh, and I’m a father to a one-year old, which tends to be my real full-time job that takes precedent over everything listed above.

Finding what works

Why list all these things? Because, I’m sure there are others out there who struggle to juggle so many balls in the air too. I find that my current strategy for handling this long list of things is deadline based. Which of these is a high priority and needs attention immediately? It isn’t always a good strategy – in fact, many times, things are forgotten because I’ve tried to do too much (which my wife very perceptively warns me about every time I’m about to do something new.) I also find myself jumping between tasks, without finishing the previous one and before I know it, nothing got completed.

When this happens, I take the task on to eliminate my distractions. I close all the windows, tabs and apps that aren’t need for my particular task. I put on a classical music Spotify playlist. I turn my phone upside down and put it out of reach. I have tried the Pomodoro Technique, but it wasn’t the right solution for me. It ended up being just as distracting. What I’ve found to be most effective, is using Asana to keep my to-do list broken into manageable steps.

Creativity through project management

I won’t delve into Asana too much, you can check it out yourself if you’re interested, but it’s a wonderful project management tool. I have turned the Historic Elitch Theatre onto it, and I use it for my personal projects, as well as a “house to-do” project list. I really enjoy it because you can create a project, then tasks within the projects, and sub-tasks within each task. Each task is it’s own conversation, due date, attachments, etc. If you’re trying to keep your head wrapped around multiple projects and multiple ideas, Asana, in conjunction with my creative notes app Evernote, is my ideal situation. Creativity flows into Evernote and Asana keeps me organized. The fact that each app also has wonderful mobile apps, helps me keep organized and creative whenever lightning strikes.

Creativity is productivity

Now that I’ve laid out a bit of method to the madness, it’s time to continue following my own words of wisdom and get something done! I don’t think it’s bad to be ambitious, creatively and otherwise, but it is important to not overwhelm yourself to the point of sacrificing productivity and results. Creativity and productivity can go hand in hand when managed properly. Find what works for you, run with it, and alter your methods as necessary to keep churning out that creativity!

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