Category Archives: Creative Management

5 Productivity Myths for Creative People

Graham Allcott, founder of time management training specialists Think Productive, takes us through some productivity myths.

myth-busting

Time management – it’s a myth

When someone is feeling overwhelmed and has too much to do, they often say things like “I need to get better at time management”, but time management is the wrong definition, and it leads to people chasing a problem that can’t be solved. As effective as the best business leaders are, they cannot manage time either: everyone has the same number of hours in their day. The problem is really how we manage our attention. If I focus on time, I may very efficiently schedule difficult work for Friday afternoon, when I’m so tired I don’t have the attention resources available. Likewise, we all have only 2-3 hours a day of what I call ‘Proactive Attention’ – where our attention, energy and concentration levels mean we’re truly on top of our game. It’s how we manage that resource, which is much more limited than time, which ultimately determines our productivity. A Productivity Ninja manages attention, not time.

Continue reading 5 Productivity Myths for Creative People

Useful Apps for the Productivity Ninja

Another post by guest blogger and author of “How to be a Productivity Ninja”, Graham Allcott.

Graham introduces different tools for productivity, many of which he uses in his own business. I have blogged about using Evernote which I use as an academic research tool, but as Graham states, it can do so much more.

Mobile apps are great tools to assist our thinking and organizing. When choosing which ones to use, check out as many YouTube videos, customer reviews, screenshots and product tours as you can, all of which will give you a good feel for the style, value and functionality of each app. Here are my top picks (I have no commercial incentive to endorse any of these, so this list is completely objective). Continue reading Useful Apps for the Productivity Ninja

Information Overload and How to Avoid It

When I think back to earlier in my career, there are hundreds of memories that spring to mind. In and amongst these is a vivid image of my desk, which zooms in on my computer screen to see hundreds upon hundreds of emails. Emails I’d read, emails left unread, but all piling up. It characterises how I used to work: controlled by my email inbox, struggling to lift my head above the parapet and consumed by the stress of information overload. It doesn’t have to be this way.  I’ve changed. You can too.   Continue reading Information Overload and How to Avoid It

In Praise of Happy Accidents

“So the devil sings higher – ‘Oh just look at what you’re doing!’

Yeah, he’s joined by a choir of doctors and statesmen

who plan their sorry lives till their last days’ end.

But look at all the happy things that happen by accident!”

Polly Paulusma, from ‘She moves in secret ways’.

I have written about serendipity and the work of Sebastian Olma before, but here, guest blogger Graham Allcott of Think Productive offers his advice on ‘happy accidents’.

When we think about accidents, our risk-averse brains take us straight to thinking about “consequences” and the mess we’ll have to clear up.  When we think about serendipity or happy coincidences, we think only that these things must be magical or that we struck lucky for a day.

But what if you could make your own luck?  And what if accidents weren’t bad, but were opportunities to be relished, celebrated and capitalised on? Continue reading In Praise of Happy Accidents

How to collaborate when working remotely

In the spring of this year, we set up Think Productive Canada.  It was a big step: our first foray into international collaboration and one that was nearly a year in the planning. It’s been a fantastic experience so far.  But even though at Think Productive we’re used to working with people remotely, it turns out Calgary is very different from Coventry!  So here are a few reflections on successful collaborations around the world:

Get the technology right

Make it easy to communicate and define your tools, so that it’s always clear what tech to be using for what purpose – and you avoid wasting lots of time choosing, selecting and setting things up.  We use a mixture of email, skype, join.me (for sharing screens) and whatsapp (for sharing more personal updates).  We also use a free conference call service called “United Conferencing” which means we can have a UK team conference call, and have our colleagues in Canada dial in on a local rate number.

Continue reading How to collaborate when working remotely

Freelancer’s Unite

10-01_resources_roadmap_freelancing_ld_imgFreelancing is increasingly common. In my research, I write about the precariouness of entrepreneurial and freelance work so I was very interested to see this post on the Islington Hub’s blog. The article is writen by Enda Brophy (Simon Fraser University), Nicole Cohen (University of Toronto), and Greig de Peuter (Wilfrid Laurier University), researchers working on a project called Cultural Workers Organize, and describes an event called “Freelancers Unite! What rights are we fighting for?”

 Taking inspiration from recent efforts in Berlin to ignite a freelancers’ movement, this event was part of the space’s “50 Days of Freelancing” series. Speakers gave a big-picture view of the spread of independent work and zeroed in on the flipside of making a living in a flexible labour economy. Among concerns that participants shared were clients who don’t pay, pressure to do work for free (or almost free), and uncertain access to contracts following maternity leave. One of the things that the “Freelancers Unite!” event demonstrated is that coworking spaces are promising places for gathering members of a workforce whose trademark dispersal can make it tricky to reflect—and act—on livelihood issues collectively.

Despite the challenges in freelancing, the authors are positive about the oppportunities individuals have through co-working and developing aletrnative models of work. There is a lot of inspirational literature about how individuals can develop coping mechanisms for a better work/life balance but they are not always feasible in a real world context. Joint action and collaborative initiatives have the potential to address some serious issues such as social protections and income security. At this stage, just raising awareness amongst freelancers and cultural entrepreneurs would be a good start!

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Avoid Information Overload

 

OverloadCartoon2

When I think back to earlier in my career, there are hundreds of things that spring to mind.  Memories of good times and bad, highs and lows, I’m sure you know the sort of thing.  In and amongst those memories is a vivid image of my desk, which zooms in on my computer screen to see hundreds upon hundreds of emails. Emails I’d read, emails left unread, but all piling up.  It characterizes how I used to work: controlled by my email inbox, struggling to lift my head above the parapet and consumed by the stress of information overload.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  I’ve changed.  You can too.  Continue reading How to Avoid Information Overload