Managing Your Creative Project

Tuesday, 06 November 2012   |   Creative Thinking

PonderSo you've come up with this awesome idea.  It's funky as anything and you're pumped.  But then it gets to starting and it all goes downhill from there.  You dive in at a hundred miles an hour but later on take a look back and realise it's not quite going how you had hoped.  That great vision you had to begin with is not what is materialising in front of you.  What you need to do is take a step back and think about how you are managing your work.  The difference between mediocrity and completely awesome is often just the way you choose to manage.

There are many approaches to how you manage yourself and your work.  I don't think there is a best way to do it.  It all depends on you, your preferred style and this particular project you are working on.  You need to make sure though that you have means in place to keep yourself on track with that original vision.

Here are a few approaches for you to ponder.

  • Progressive levels of detail - first off do a rough draft of the whole thing.  Then go back and do it again with a bit more detail.  Repeat until you have sufficient detail.  The benefit of this approach is that at every stage you have a completely whole thing.  It is easy to stay on track with the big picture.
  • Bit by bit - break the project down into chunks and complete each chunk individually before moving onto the next.  Great if this is a hobby and you have no set finish date. 
  • Plenty of prototyping - plenty of side projects with simple, temporary incarnations to test ideas and theories.  It does mean you will be doing a lot of extra work that will not be part of the final product but it does mean the final product can be done right.  A good approach to adopt of you're being really creative.
  • Side projects for experience - if there is a particular aspect of the project that is completely new to you, maybe you should do a few simpler projects first to gain some experience in that area which you can then apply to the big project that really matters.
  • Promotion - do you tell others about your projects or not?  Sometimes discussing your projects with others allows you to draw inspiration from their opinions.  Other times it's better to wait till you have something more finished to show them.
  • Progress management - how do you keep track of what still needs to be done?  Sometimes complex project management tools are required such as gantt charts etc.  Other times just a simple todo list will suffice.  Other times just keeping it all in your head is perfectly fine.
  • Motivation - you're most likely excited about the project so motivation in general should not be an issue.  Having said that, there will probably be times when the particular thing you are working on is boring.  Approaches such as the Pomodoro technique can be useful here.

Now it's your turn.  How do you prefer to manage your work, or how would you ideally like to manage your work?


You're on your way to becoming a Highly Creative Person.