sarahdahlinger@gmail.com

How to Win at Creative Adult – The Two List Method

Comments (4) How to Win at Creative Adult

For the past year, I’ve been experimenting with increasing my productivity. I’ve listened to dozens of podcasts on the topic, read many books, and even checked out a few things on youtube.

The trouble with being a creative adult is finding time to create, maintain the house, workout, make food, etc. The lure of busy work is strong. It’s hard to sit down and make something when your home looks like a bomb hit it, or maybe you have a to-do list with a million non-creative tasks that need to get done.

If I tackled my menial task list or cleaned my house first, then I had no energy to create when I was done. Now, I don’t do one then the other. I handle both to do lists at the same time.

This is my new favorite way to work. I’ve been using it for a few months now and it is by far the best way to tackle a creative session that I have used.

It’s a combo of Pomodoro and best practices for avoiding, or living with, RSI — repetitive strain injuries like tendonitis or carpal tunnel.

Here’s how it works
1) Get a timer. Just type “timer” into the search bar on Google and it’ll pop up, or download an app for it.

2) Make two lists – big tasks and small tasks
– the big tasks are creative tasks and exercise, basically anything that takes 25 mins or longer
– the small tasks are all the annoying chores that need to get done

3) Perform one of the big tasks for the time limit. I need 45 mins for writing since it takes me longer to work with words. For drawing, it’s recommended that you rest every 25 mins for arm health, so that works out well.

4) When the timer goes off, immediately switch to the small task list and do as many as you can in 5-10 mins. The larger movements required in these tasks are perfect for breaking up the smaller movements and stationary position required for drawing.

5) When the timer goes off, immediately switch to the big task list and continue with your creative session.

Once I do about 3-5 cycles, I start to feel very accomplished, and feeling good about yourself helps you create more.

Here’s and example of a rare Saturday work session. I had a whole day free. A weekday session is 1/4 to 1/2 of this. I work like this every night after I get home from my 9-5 job.

List

What are the extras?
I have an additional feature I like to add onto my lists – the extras. For the “must have” list items, I work very diligently – zero distraction or interruption. Once I’m done with those, I usually grab a tea or a beer and slow way down. If I still have gas in the tank, I’ll pick off a few of the extras, if I’m too tired, I won’t.


What do you think about this way or working? Can you see a way to improve it? Comment below.

🙂

If you’d like to get a timer that isn’t on your computer or phone, these might work well for you.

Consequently, there’s also a notebook designed specifically for this purpose! I just found it and I’m getting one. 😀

Edit: 4/6/16 – I now have the notebook and it is epically pink and black polka-dotted. Expect photos of my amazing lists soon!

If you liked this post, you might like these others.
How to Win at Creative Adult – The Two List Method

How to Win at Creative Adult – Mindfulness and Fighting Stress

How to Win at Creative Adult – Exercise

How to Win at Creative Adult – Drawing at Zoos and Aquariums

How to Win at Creative Adult – Dealing with Frustration and Fear

How to Win at Creative Adult – Focus

How to Win at Creative Adult – Finding Inspiration

Share on: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrPin on PinterestShare on RedditBuffer this pageShare on Google+

4 Responses to How to Win at Creative Adult – The Two List Method

  1. Sarah says:

    Timers are fantastic for keeping on task! I used to use them when I was working long stints to make sure I’d take breaks or switch tasks.

    Now that I’m at home full time with the baby, I’m all over the house all day. I have work stations set up on each floor of the house, sometimes in each room, so no matter where we are, there’s something I can be doing if given the time. This includes things like cleaning the dishes, doing laundry, and other housey things as well as any art I need to do.

    I also break up my work between day tasks and night tasks as usually I can’t be at my computer during the day with the baby so that stuff has to be done after she goes to bed. I’ve been using Habitica to keep track of my To Do list, but I also have breakdowns of tasks on paper lists. I always try to remember to take photos of them with my phone just in case they go missing. I love physical to do lists, but they do have their drawbacks if they vanish. :O

    • Sarah Dahlinger says:

      The picture of the to-do list is key.

      I do that as well. Mostly because I often make them during my lunch break at work, and then leave it at work :/

  2. “If I tackled my menial task list or cleaned my house first, then I had no energy to create when I was done. Now, I don’t do one then the other. I handle both lists at the same time.”

    Oh my gosh, why didn’t I ever think of making two lists and alternate between them? This problem has plagued me for far too long. *eye twitch* I’m definitely trying this out today. Great post, Sarah!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *