What We Don’t Know About Creative Productivity

Most of the productivity tools and resources on the market are geared towards projects you can get done in a concrete amount of time: Picking up your laundry takes fifteen minutes. Completing a purchase order takes about the same amount of time. Handling a routine project takes a set number of hours. But when we start talking about creative work, those numbers go out the window. How long does it take to write an article? Write a software application? Design a website? And when you’re talking about creative projects where you’re the boss, the numbers can get even fuzzier, slowly flying away in the distance.

Ali and I both write for a living — we rely heavily on our creativity to put food on the table. That means we need to produce consistently. In the past, that has translated into trying systems like GTD in order to manage our projects and get more done. But these systems (especially when you think about the tools they rely on) aren’t ideal for many creatives. There’s a certain sense that you need to break projects down into concrete tasks, so you can knock out little steps quickly. But even if a writer outlines an article before she writes it, there will always be a step that is as simple as ‘write the damn thing, already.’ It’s tough to break it down more than that.

When you add in the aspects of doing creative work that don’t take place at your desk — you can schedule all the brainstorming sessions you want, but you’ll still wind up getting some of your best ideas when you’re off the clock — we can tell that we need better resources for improving creative productivity.

What We Don’t Know

While there is a fair bit that we do know about being creative and productive, we’re writing from our own experiences. We want to get more information about your experiences so that we can make sure that what were doing is scratching the right itches. We’ve put together a survey and we’d really appreciate if you’d fill it out. We kept it short — just six questions — and we’re going to be using your answers to dig deeper into questions about creative productivity and even put together some resources on the topic for you.

Please fill out our survey — we appreciate it.

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