https://garrottdesigns.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/GarrotDesigns-1.jpg 338 600 Garette https://garrottdesigns.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/GarrottDesigns-Space.png Garette2015-01-03 14:47:342017-02-02 19:00:10Creative Thinker/ List Maker
It’s a common misconception that creative people aren’t organized, goal oriented or even make lists. This may have been the case in past generations but I can tell you within my broad community of professional artists, designers, authors and industrial engineers it is farthest from being the case. They are the most motivated and goal oriented people I know. Today, more than ever, creativity drives business. At the New York Decoded Fashion event in November, Bre Pettis CEO of Maker Bot said of the competition, ” Creativity is the skill that will win”. To stay on top of the industrial game you must maintain optimal flow. That is; the flow of ideas and the flow of action. It’s easy to get lost and confused, especially when you have too many ideas, or hit a complete brain block and have NO ideas. In the past, people thought there was no way to control this ebb and flow. Today, psychologists, entrepreneurs and gurus have plenty of reason to believe otherwise.
” If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” -Yogi Berra
Creatively successful people don’t have all the answers to the the many questions in their heads. They do have a road map, a plan, and habits that will take them there. Some people are born with this ability, the rest of us can LEARN it. Ever feel like Matthew Broderick in “War Games” with you’re own brain?
As a serial under achiever in my previous life, I can tell you, it IS possible to learn. The human brain is very much like a computer. Just ask, Ray Kurzweil author of “How to Create a Mind“. Neuroscience reveals that our minds operate much like twitter, with links, tags and pattern recognition hierarchical processing. See, you are already more advanced than you thought! All you have to do is recognize how your brain works and outsmart it. I do this with lists.
I have a lot on my mind day to day. I am fortunate enough to site trends and design dresses for a living, and unfortunate enough to want to paint, design and manufacture EVERYTHING for fun! So I keep a running journal of my goals, and most importantly, LISTS of things to do when I have a moment no one is looking (including myself). The more you can “automate” your tasks, the better off you are.
There are a lot of little task that go into finishing a project. It can be overwhelming to think of accomplishing all of them at once. The road of “Start/Finish project” isn’t as easy as it looks. Breaking up your project in micro tasks goes a long way to getting it done. Having a clear picture of what’s missing allows you to hit the ground running the minute you have a free moment. Ever find yourself starring down a project with the whole weekend in front of you and not being in the “mood” to do anything with it?
It’s because you haven’t thought about it in a while and you aren’t sure what’s next. This is where outsmarting yourself with lists comes in.
Painting takes planning, it may look spontaneous when done best, but that is because there was a lot of planning involved.
As you can see here I’ve found my way to a rough idea and sketch using collected reference and Pinterest. I hit a road block and had to write a list of what I’m missing. If I had created this list during the week, I could have flowed right through the project and had a final comp by Sunday. As it were, I was dead in my tracks by Saturday night.
1) What does my background look like?
1 actionable) Find reference for it.
2) What are the supporting elements that tell my story?
2 Actionable) Get reference of those elements.
3) How do these elements fit into the picture plane?
3 Actionable) Draw it out on tracing paper and move the elements around.
Having your actionables mapped out in front of you helps flow from one thing to the next. It answers the “WHAT” and gives you the “HOW”.
Sometimes I’m so overwhelmed with the problem, I’m not even sure WHAT the problem is. In this case I made a list of everything that was wrong with my reference filing system. All of these problems were slowing me down. Once listed out I was still horrified that I’d never get to my project if I had to fix all of these things first. So I made a visual map of each problem and each solution. This helped me break down each section and take care of them one by one as I had time. It helped me see the most urgent problem and fix it first. My tablet, desktop and phone images were finally synced up and I was ready to fly with my portable studio in hand.
I could go on all day about the value of lists in the creative process but I think you’d benefit more from the experts who taught me. Paula Rizzo’s new book “Listful Thinking” is coming out January 16th, and is available for preorder now. You can also glean valuable daily tips by subscribing to her blog at Listproducer.com.
Another powerful influence on me has been “Getting Things Done” author David Allen with his filing system. He helped me organize 15 years of fashion swipes and visual inspiration that would choke an archivist.
…and if you’d like to learn more about how to learn, here are some of my favorite neuroscience books about creativity and how the mind works:
“Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
“Imagine: How Creativity Works” by Jonah Lehrer
“The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg
“How to Create a Mind” by Ray Kurzweil
“Mastery” by Robert Green
“The Power of Full Engagement” by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
“The Brain and Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman
“Brain Training for Runners” by Matt Fitzgerald
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey