“I’m Too Creative To Be Organized!”

-1There are a lot of legitimate mental barriers to being organized, but being creative is not one of them.  Sorry, I’m not buying it. Why do I say this? I say this because I’m creative. In fact, I am more naturally creative than I am organized. I’m not bragging. Put a spreadsheet in front of me and I’m an idiot. Back to creativity.

I actually started my quest to be more organized because I wanted to carve out more time and space for my illustration.  I found myself enjoying the means more than the ends.  I’m not suggesting anyone else do that, but I do firmly believe that organizing is not only compatible with creativity, but it also enhances creativity.

Let’s put aside the performing arts. There may be a case for enhancing creativity, through organizing there, but I am just confining this post to a discussion of creative pursuits that require a work surface.  A work surface is vital for processing, whether it’s painting, drawing, or crafting.  A work surface should never be squandered on storage.

Oh, I know the argument. You haven’t finished the project yet, so why put it away? OK, if you really are focused on just one project and you’re only taking a break to eat lunch, fine, leave the unfinished project out.  However, what I find is so often the case with creative people is that we need to occupy ourselves with several projects at once.  I find a terrific solution for this situation is a frame system containing mesh desk drawers. You can temporarily free up your work surface, but still keep your project together and visible, until you are ready to return to them.

I have heard the argument that being surrounded by stuff helps creativity and there’s some truth to that, when this stuff is reference material, but not if it’s  junk. I absolutely agree that when you’re “in the zone” you don’t want to stop and put stuff away, but it’s important to do that, when you’re done for the day. Here’s why. You’ve got to come back to that work surface at some point, and when you do, you are going to be discouraged by a pile of junk, not inspired by it.  A clear surface, on the other hand, makes you feel in control and gives you the focus you need to jump to a new creative project or return, with a fresh start, to yesterday’s project.

Of course, keeping a clear work surface depends on having a place for all your supplies. A side table and some shelves are usually necessary.  I also like the 6 Drawer Mobile  Organizer. You can see what you have and the smooth surface accepts labels for further clarification. When you can find everything reliably, you spend less time searching and more time creating.

What organizing tools and tips do you use to maximize YOUR creativity? Or do you find creativity only comes out of chaos?