Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thursday Review—A Book to Help Creatives with Productivity

by Lynn Blackburn @LynnHBlackburn

I have a soft spot for anything that will help me improve my productivity. As a task-oriented nerd, productivity books warm my geeky heart. You may not feel the same way. I understand that. (Sort of).

But this book might change your mind. (A little).

A productivity book specifically for creatives?

Sign me up.

Now, you may not think of yourself as a “creative” (I’m still struggling with that term) but if you are a reader of The Write Conversation, you are. Go ahead and make a note of it. Write it down if you need to.

I’ll wait.

Done? Great. We’re in agreement. We have creative minds.

The problem? Creative minds have a wee tendency to be super creative but not super productive. The reasons are countless. Distraction, fear, resistance, distraction. Did I mention distraction?

Manage Your Day-to-Day doesn’t have a ton of information that was new to me and it didn’t provide me with a tidy “do this and all your productivity issues will be solved” conclusion.

So you may be wondering why I’m even telling you about it.

Here’s why.

I highlighted half the book.

Just because the information isn’t new doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable. Sometimes, I need someone to remind me of things I already know.

Things like:
  • “The single most important change you can make in your working habits is to switch to creative work first, reactive work second.”
  • “It’s better to disappoint a few people over small things, than to surrender your dreams for an empty inbox.”
  • “Use creative triggers. Stick to the same tools, the same surroundings, even the same background music, so that they become associative triggers for you to enter your creative zone.”
  • “Establish hard edges in your day. Set a start time and a finish time for your workday—even if you work alone.”
  • “Frequency makes starting easier.”
  • “When you work regularly, inspiration strikes regularly.”
  • And one of my favorites
  • “Lots and lots of people are creative when they feel like it, but you are only going to become a professional if you do it when you don’t feel like it.”

The book is broken into four chapters dealing with routine building, finding focus, taming your tools (think social media and email), and sharpening your creative mind which covers dealing with blocks and letting go of perfectionism, etc.

Manage Your Day-to-Day is not a long book. It’s a series of brief essays from multiple authors and it’s one that I recommend you download as an e-book and highlight with abandon. Then you can scroll through your own personal list of “ah-ha” moments anytime you need some inspiration, or a kick to the seat of the pants.

So, how about you creatives out there? Got a productivity issue? Want to share your favorite productivity tip?

Don’t forget to join the conversation.



Lynn Huggins Blackburn has been telling herself stories since she was five and finally started writing them down. She blogs about faith, family, and her writing journey on her blog Out of the Boat. Lynn is a member of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild and the Word Weavers, Greenville. She lives in South Carolina where she hangs out with three lively children, one fabulous man, and a cast of imaginary characters who find their way onto the pages of her upcoming novel. She drinks a lot of coffee.


  1. Wow--some really good tips. Thank you!

  2. Probably just sold me. My Kindle is at home where I'm not, but I bet it's downloaded by tonight. Thanks for the recommendation! Oh, and the part about "distraction" is what grabbed me. You might have seen my picture next to the word distracted in any dictionary.