Carpenter Creative
Damien Hirst at Tate Museum

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Creative Work First

For years I've spent the first part of my day, and likely the most creative part of my day, checking emails, catching up on blogs and tweets, and knocking out administrative tasks. Usually by the time I checked these items off my list, I had a whole new list of tasks that were someone else's priorities...and just like that, my plans for the day were shot.

Over the past year and a half I've wondered how can I be more productive, specifically in the areas that mattered to me and not someone else. I've tried a lot of different things, but recently I came across this quote by Mark McGuinness in 99u's Mange Your Day-To-Day:

"The single most important change you can make in your working habits is to switch to creative work first, reactive work second. This means blocking off a large chunk of time every day for creative work on your own priorities, with the phone and e-mail off." (Mark McGuinness, Laying The Groundwork For An Effective Routine, Manage Your Day-To-Day p.26)

While this is extremely difficult in practice, especially since my first reaction when I wake up is to grab my iPhone and see what emails are waiting, it has been working for me. The days I start with the "creative work" and do the "reactive work" second, I find that I accomplish more of the work that is important to me. Those are the days I really enjoy work and am able to leave it behind when I get home to family.

I would challenge you to give this a shot and see if it helps you to accomplish more of your creative work as well.