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As you know, having a schedule (or a plan) optimizes your time a lot. Once thought out you just have to follow it. Since you know what you are going to do you can prepare in advance for some of the harder and (or) time consuming tasks, plan what you are going to do in your rests, ect.

I have noticed that when you are following a schedule for a coupple of weeks your creativity might suffer. Why ? It's simple, when you are doing everything spontaneously you meet a lot of different scenarios you would not normally meet. (And creativity is often just a combination of things you already know /have seen)

The question is: How do we keep our creativity?

A few solutions I have thought of (but aren't really working are:) Have a coupple of hours every other day to do something different. Although this worked for a while, eventually it became just another thing on my list.

Another thing was to simply switch the order of tasks for a day of the week. This was pretty disasterous.

Has anyone met this problem before ? if so how did you deal with it?

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4 Answers 4

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For me, it's always been discipline and variety. I work in IT and have a degree in Fine Arts. I make films, make interactive sculptures, and write. Staying creative while having to keep a work and family schedule can be quite challenging. This is a problem I encountered when I was freelancing (too busy to so something creative) as well as when I'm following a more regular (too regimented to be creative) schedule.

Throughout it all, I always make sure to allocate at LEAST two hours a day to be craetive. Whether it's free-writing, sketching, editing, or doing something that inspires me (e.g., I specifically selected the two hour block to allow for watching films), I have the discipline to spend at least two hours feeding my creativity--and "feeding" is very broad.

Second, I employ variety. I try to never do something on two consecutive days that relate to each other too closely. For instance, this past weekend, I was fine-tuning an Arduino program to control sound and light timing on a sculpture. Monday, my creative time was spent reading Lucretius' De rerum natura (from a paper book, nonetheless). That's about as far away from technology as one can get, and Epicurean philosophy is an important theme in an upcoming film, so I'm devouring that right now. Tonight, I'm planning on completing a CAD drawing for a custom part I need machined for my sculpture. Everything feeds my creativity, and even if my creative time becomes a routine slot in my schedule, the variety of experiences and, for me at least, planning those experiences in advance, gives me something to look foward to, breaking up the monotony of the timeslot.

End result is that I'm always using different parts of my creativity. Sometimes verbal, sometimes physical, sometimes visual, sometimes sonic, and I find them inspiring and informing each other because of the almost psychotic melange I create.

I also find it interesting to surround myself with other creatives that can share in the excitement of ideas. Other viewpoints and opinions from creative people can be inspiring as well.

At work, my creative outlets are minimal, but I relish them. Whether it's a new UI design for a web page, writing technical documentation, optimizing code...I try to break it up and create variety for myself just to keep everything fresh.

This technique's been working for me for almost two decades, and recently, I realized I was in good company when I ran into this article.

Some of those techniques may work for you. Good luck!

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Having a schedule can limit your ability to take spontaneous actions or respond to unexpected situations. My first advice is 'Do not plan a tight schedule'. Keep it open and keep yourself mentally free. I have tried following schedules and I know from experience that maintaing the schedule itself becomes a task of it's own. Moreover, if you don't follow the schedule accurately (which is most likely), you will feel discouraged. Here is what I recommend you to do and you will find it extremely effective because I have done it myself successfully.

Preparing for your day

  1. On the previous day, before you are about wrap up for the day, make a list of all important tasks you need to get done the next day. You may have 5 or 10 or 15 small or big tasks on hand. The tasks could be as small as calling someone to as big as writing a report.

  2. Next, pick the 2 to 3 most important action items that will 'make your day'. Example, finishing that urgent design project for your client or making progress in writing proposal for a new client. If you finish these items, you will feel great about it. These are your 'big rock' items. Write these down on a blank piece or in your notebook and place it on the top of your desk so that it is immediately visible the very next day when you begin your work.

  3. Rest of the items can go into your "immediate action" list once your Big Rock items are finished.

The Next day

  1. The first 3 to 4 hours of your day are sacred. Work singled mindedly towards accomplishing your Big Rock items. You are taking maximum advantage of your early day by creating the right momentum.

  2. You will notice that as soon as you have made substantial progress in your 'Big Rock' items, you will release a lot of energy. You will feel better and relaxed as you have cracked the most important item from your list early during the day.

  3. Now you can tackle the rest of the less important items in your list and you also have the freedom to do creative stuff as you like.

Potential roadblocks

  1. To be able to fully focus on your tasks, ensure that you tell everyone around you about your sacred time zone. If you don't communicate this to others, people will keep poking you.
  2. Do not get distracted by phone, e-mail or social networks - Either switch them off or close them for this duration.

From what you have written, you seem to be disciplined and I think it won't be hard for you to implement this advice. Try doing it and let me know how it goes.

Thanks,

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I follow the routine in week days. For weekend, I have only one routine that I have to give time to my family, myself and my hobbies.

In week days, I have decided to read creative blog, DIY news at least once in a day and max for 30-40 mins. It keeps my mind update with latest in the world.

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interesting, it is worth a shot –  Bloodcount Sep 4 '13 at 8:51

Try Personal Kanban. Setup a board with sticky notes representing your tasks. Whenever you come up with new things that should be done (and this is the part that allows for spontaneous creativity), add a note to your backlog "to do" column.

Then perform the tasks whenever you find the time. Don't schedule them. In Kanban, the number of tasks in progress are strictly limited so that you don't clog your mind with too many tasks.

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