Artist applying Getting Things Done to the creative process

Brad Blackman at Mysterious Flame has taken David Allen's book Getting Things Done (which I always recommend) and applied it to the creative process in five separate posts. Since  GTD is mostly about office productivity and making art is rarely so structured, it's an interesting look.

I'm wondering if it works better for artists who work with clients or on commissions?

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5 thoughts on “Artist applying Getting Things Done to the creative process”

  1. Michael Lynn Adams

    There are times when a don’t lament my years of management in the design field before starting my art career. Dealing with this issue is one of them. Great productivity systems seems to leave some artist a little cold. I suppose it rubs against our free spirited grain. The wonders of GTD is that it helps free up time and brain power to allow us to use our free thinking, creative side without being burdened by all the nagging crap that causes guilt and/or anxiety. Bravo! David Allen for GTD and thank you Brad Blackman for a great job in breaking down the GTD process for us creative types.

  2. I have the lovely experience of an undergrad in Business Administration (then husband said: art doesn’t make money) only 3 credits short of a minor in economics (changing schools and the focus of the particular school I graduated from). I’ve never regretted it. As a clay artist I’m always dealing with context because time is a part of the creative process – you simply can’t go from wet clay to kiln and trust you’re going to get the hoped for result…same with “the next step” – because with clay the process is a series of steps. It’s different when I paint. When I paint it’s usually an urge and done in one sitting. And I know that’s not necessarily the usual for all painters. Making jewelry is turning into steps (earrings, my least favorite, last). Further, my experience with artists who want to sell their work is that there has to be some type of organization to their chaos no matter what the outside world sees (except, in my instance, being able to keep on top of inventory for small pieces that move around to a lot of different spaces) or what story is being presented to the outside.

  3. I’ve been using pieces of GTD in my art life and businessofart life for about a year. The basic flow of handling “stuff” is useful to me but as an artist I find that my “stuff” is often not simply paper-based. It’s real stuff. Like a piece of fiber art to be shipped, supplies to take to a class, etc. I use a card table in my studio as my IN and OUT basket– and it also holds my 43 folders. The 43 folders are really the most useful think I have picked up and used consistently. Its so much easier to keep things filed in a time base rather than place based filing system. I also have used Allen’s basic filing system to good effect. This is for all the things like entry requirements, invitations to shows, etc.

  4. Wow, thanks! I just saw this today and was astonished. Thanks so much, Alyson! I know I’ve only scratched the surface of the whole Art + GTD thing, but I think there’s something to it. I agree with Alyson that GTD can really help with the administrative side of things, but I think there’s a good bit to be offered for the creative side of things. For example, I keep running lists of different creative things I want to try, grouped by photography, paintings to try, personal design projects, that sort of thing. Again, thanks, Alyson.

  5. Alyson B. Stanfield

    Michael: That’s the key–freeing your mind for creativity. Systems like GTD can definitely help when applied consistently. Susie: I’m glad to see the 43 folders are working for you. I haven’t graduated beyond the 12 (months of the year), but will consider adding the other 31. Brad: Thank YOU. You shouldn’t be astonished. I’m happy to link to posts that benefit my readers.

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