GTD Artist Progress

'Project Support Folder'

Some aspects of GTD are tricky to meld with the creative process. Because firm statements like 'pay electricity bill' appear to have so much more authority, and fit so much more easily onto a written list than 'think about how to investigate clouds through drawing', I seem to have spent much more time on the 'managing' part of my life than the 'making' part of my life since starting GTD. The good news on this is that I have finished many tasks that I have been putting off for incredibly long periods - years in some cases, I have to say I have not got much actual art done.
Part of this problem is that in creative work, much of the 'to-do's arise from the process of doing the work rather than planning & managing. Another part of the issue is one works using a visual mode rather than a verbal mode. So a task like 'explore the relationship between purple and orangey colours more deeply' is unnatural to express in words, and translating the thought into words while one is right in the middle of painting breaks the visual train of thought that is so important to this work.
There is a good article on handling the different modes of 'making' work and 'managing' work here. This article emphasises that during the creative blocks of time, one shouldn't focus on goals but rather focus on the process of your work.
Yet another issue is that my inbox and letterbox rapidly fill up with 'managing' tasks while emails requesting more of my art with the same firmness of an electricity bill are rather rare. Like many artists, I have to actively search for opportunities to show my art. The world does not notices if you have not made art that day.
To mange these issues in a GTD (but still creative) way, I think of my sketchbook as an 'inbox' to fill with possible leads on new projects. I also find tidying up my studio for 15 minutes each morning useful for more than mere tidyness. My studio is a giant in-box in itself, full of great ideas captured in all sorts of forms. Sorting through old drawings and objects remind me that I could try this idea out in another media, or this new juxtaposition of objects sparks a relationship that could be exploited in an installation.
Many artists and designers have pinboards up, but I now use my whole wall space as 'project support'. I will have a couple of projects at different stages of development up and the wall & the space is well segregated into separate 'folders' for each project. This is the perfect place for test paintings of 'purple with orangey colours' to act as visual to-dos', rather than those clumsy written lists.

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