How productivity hacks help me create my art

I’m a productivity nerd. I love apps and hacks and tips and tools that help me be more efficient. This nerd-ness also helps me create my art.

If you’re always looking for ways to be more productive, keep going to read the article. If you’re rather watch and listen, jump to the video at the end.

Image credit: Hilary Clark – detail view of “Inflamed”

I was born organized…

Like I said above the photo, I’m a productivity nerd. This trait helped me be efficient and productive in school when I was a kid, at work as an adult, and it continues to help me as an artist who creates feelings out of fiber.

I was born organized. I came out of the womb putting everything in neat and tidy order. Ha! Not really, but being organized did come naturally to me. Everything did and does always have its place and I keep clutter to a minimum. I consider this to be a productivity hack because when everything has a place, I don’t have to spend precious time searching for whatever it is I’m looking for. I group like with like in my studio, even storing my fabric stash along the ROYGBIV spectrum. (Nerd note: I do the same with my clothes closet.)

By organizing my tools in an order that makes sense to me, I can spend my time in the studio productively, rather than losing time searching for the next thing I need. When I walk into my studio, I know exactly where to go and what I’m doing next, maximizing my creative time.

I love a good to do list…

I’m also a prolific list maker. I really love a good to do list! I use a digital tool to capture all the tasks I need to complete and the projects I’d like to play with.

My list making has morphed into a much more efficient practice as I’ve grown older, particularly when I was balancing a full-time corporate job with my art making. I needed something to keep track of all the things I wanted to do when I wasn’t at my job so I could again maximize my creative time.

When I was exploring various ways to keep track of my to dos, I came across the “Getting Things Done” Method (GTD), created by David Allen. The principle behind this method is to write down (or type) every single to do or project that comes to mind. Do a brain dump and get it all out of your head. Whenever a task floats through your brain, write it down. Once a week, you sort through these items and organize them into various categories.

I adore this method and I’ve adapted it to work for me. I don’t use the categories Mr. Allen suggests because they don’t make sense for me, but I do keep my tasks and projects categorized. For this, I use Todoist, where I can even schedule my tasks, allowing me to easily plan my day and my week ahead.

An added bonus of following the brain dump suggestion of the GTD method is it frees up the brain. All the clutter of all the things that need to be done is removed and stored somewhere else, opening up space for greater creativity. When I’m looking for something to do, all I have to do is go to my list.

Processes are fun…

I also enjoy designing processes to create greater productivity. So I designed a process to create my art. From start to finish, each of my textured fiber paintings is created through a series of 25 steps. These steps take me from design through photographs of the completed piece, from stitching through entering it into my inventory log.

Each time I start a new textured fiber painting, I copy my project template and rename it with the name of the piece I’m going to make. The template is stored in Todoist, so I don’t have to try to remember what I want to do next. Truth be told, I’ve made so many of these now, I know what all my steps are, but I like continuing to use the list because I can schedule the date or dates I’m going to do each step in Todoist. Thinking is hard; why do more than I need to? 🙂

Seriously, though, by creating a template to follow, I ensure I can be more proactive and productive in the studio because I don’t have to waste time thinking about what to do next.

In closing…

The hacks I’ve mentioned above are just a tiny sample of the ways I use productivity to create my art. There are only so many hours in the day, right? The more productive I can be in the time I have, the more art I can make.

I’m always looking for ways to work smarter and not harder because, like I said in a previous article, I’m a lazy artist (add link). By leveraging processes, apps, and my innate organizational skills, I’m able to spend more time creating art and less time trying to figure out what to work on next. I call all of things I do The Hilary Method and I could teach it to you if you’re interested.

With The Hilary Method, I can help you find the processes, apps, and innate skills you already possess that work best for you, so you too can increase your productivity. By ramping up your productivity, you’ll find time to be more creative, spend more quality time with family, get more done at work, fit in time to exercise, or whatever it is you’d like to have more time to do.

P.S. If you could use help to be more productive, get in touch and we’ll set up time to talk about what I call The Hilary Method, my process to help you become more productive and proactive so you can be more creative.

P.P.S. If you liked what you read (or watched if you chose the video), please share with the one person you absolutely know would like it too!

Author: Hilary Clark

Artist, coach, poet, and writer. Creating feelings out of fiber. Aiming for modern renaissance woman. Will likely miss.

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