Be Less Busy: Productivity Tips for Digital Artists

It may be a cliché, but artistic types aren’t known for being the most organized creatures.

“Some of the most creative and prolific people are inveterate slobs, says the New York Times, and the Association for Psychological Science agrees, stating that a "messy desk may confer its own benefits, promoting creative thinking and stimulating new ideas.” When your art becomes your business, however, it’s time to put those stereotypes to rest and get on with it….at least digitally.

While the physical clutter surrounding your desk may not affect your workflow (heck, it may improve it), keeping your online affairs in order are essential to getting things done in a timely fashion. “When dreams are realized - on time, on budget AND without burnout – it’s very often the result of savvy project management,” says Chronically disorganized creative entrepreneurs can help themselves fight (at least a bit of) the chaos by being being prepared and getting a better process in place.

Inspiration Everywhere

Ideas can be lost as quickly as they’re found if you don’t record them anywhere. Ensure your moments of brilliance are documented and easily accessible.  The always useful Evernote is a solution to help capture ideas, thoughts and important information anytime, anywhere, and syncs it up across all your devices.

If you prefer sketching out your ideas on paper (but perhaps lose your notebook regularly),  then something like Moleskine’s Livescribe Notebook is for you. It brings your ideas from paper to screen, syncing up your handwritten notes with the corresponding iPad app.

Feeling artistically blocked can be a huge hindrance to getting paid, so get away from your studio space, change up your scenery, and let the creative juices flow.


Juggling various projects and clients at once? Need a better ‘To-Do’ list solution than the coffee-stained piece of paper next to your computer? Project management and personal organization tools are flourishing, and there are absolutely no shortage of solutions available to suit any type of need. Wunderlist and Trello are both fantastic personal solutions, while Slack and Asana are the team management apps du jour. Each of these applications offer integration with various other programs to streamline your workflow.

Back It Up

Technical glitches can happen at the worst of times, and even the most technically-savvy amongst us need reminding to back-up our files to cloud storage on a regular basis. The trick? Automate the process to save yourself the hassle and heartache.

Forget Everything You Know

If you already have a process or set up in place, change it.

Tweaking your environment and your processes regularly can help to move things along when you’re feeling sluggish.  Try standing instead of sitting. Change up your desk. Try two monitors instead of one. Try ignoring emails. Adapt your workflow to suit seasons, moods and projects; you won’t know what works best for you until you’ve tried.

Artists, what are your favorite productivity hacks?