How to create a productivity system in 2022 (4 QUICK tips for creatives)

If you are a creative and you're looking to build your productivity system for the new year, I'm going to share with you my four special tips so that you can get organized in the new year.

Hi, I'm Jenny Famularcano. I'm a designer and educator and I help people like you organize your creativity, so you can communicate with more clarity, all of the tips that I'm going to be sharing today is going to be mirroring our design process.

1. Know the brief

The American Institute of Graphic Arts, also known as AIGA, created this ebook called design business and ethics. And they define the design brief as a design brief is a written explanation given by the client to the designer at the outset of the project, where you spell out your objectives and expectations, it makes it a lot easier for you to figure out, why does this thing need to exist. That's why we always start off our design projects with one, I actually have one here right here for you, which I'm going to call the productivity system design brief.

The Productivity System Design Brief (in a nutshell)

So creative, I know

This is going to be a really easy way for you to remember what to include when you're diving into creating your own productivity system, something that we like to include in those include our audience, and in this case, you're going to be your own client. So you're going to be creating this for yourself, you need to know the ins and outs of this productivity system has to be unique for you, and whatever businesses and roles that you are utilizing at the time, also accessing any resources that you have available to you. So this is going to be your unique space, your unique system for yourself. The way that I like to tackle it when I first started was, how will the feature me appreciate all the work that I'm doing today? How will feature me like just find this note or this information and find value out of it? So the second question on the brief is, what problem are you trying to solve? Or what are you actually trying to achieve when developing your productivity system, my initial goal was to collect all of the notes that I needed, so that whenever I went into my quarterly check in, I had all the notes on the projects. And I always go into those conversations with like, their seats, or I felt really comfortable. And where I felt like I grew. So I would always have like this really elaborate note with me whenever I went to those meetings, some other things that you might want to include is the resources that you already have available to you you already have an application or an app that you already like to use and is going to be feasible for you now. Are you willing to invest in this new process of developing a productivity system? Understanding what resources you have will make it easier for you to be like, No, I don't want to go that route. I myself, I use Evernote for years, I was on like the bottom tiered plan until I discovered notion, because I just realized how much more powerful of a tool it was the payment between them. They were comparable, it was almost exactly the same. And I was getting a better experience. So understanding your brief for the whole endeavor will make it easier for you to make your decisions. And so you understand why is it important for you to be doing this whole feat of upgrading your productivity system in the first place. If you want to be in a free training in our free live training, sign up in the link in the description below. So you can know exactly what I do to create my productivity system and hopefully get you organized in the new year.

2. Develop the right system.

Whenever we're designing we talk about typographic systems, when we have like a hierarchy that we want to establish clear ideas, also utilizing a harmonic color palette for illustrations, just like any of these visual systems. So you're really designing this whole experience for yourself to make it easier for you to find this information. When I first started building my my productivity system, I started with building a second brain where they introduced the four folder systems and you can check out the video of when I talk about it here. And this is a really great start if you are building your productivity system because of the ideas that you only have four main folders in which you're contributing to making that the very simple way that you are creating all of your information. The problem with this though, as creative workers, our work tends to really change and change very rapidly. And there's a lot of demands from people like our clients and our teams in which they're demanding information. Another system that I was looking at and that I utilize the horizons of focus provided by David Allen's getting things done. These are different tiers in which you start with tasks, projects, areas as well as vision objects. His mission and stuff like that. And that also helped me identify how to bring purpose into what we do and think creatively. So developing something called this hierarchy of fulfillment makes it easier for you to like know, okay, what is this for everything has a place and where it needs to go check out this video, I think I have it linked, where I talk a little bit more about the hierarchy of fulfillment, that brings these two concepts all together in into one. And what every level means whenever we're designing something, we're always starting off with something really simple. And it always has to be something that you build up. And just because there's a bunch of different likes, standardized things out there, it might not work for you, because it's like just understanding what each level needs to be at for you, and whether that makes sense.

3. Communicating to your audience

We have the hardest time being able to communicate what our needs are to our clients and to our teams. That's why websites like clients from hell can exist and why they thrive is because we're all united under this frustration of trying to communicate when we ask and communicate our needs successfully. This is when our productivity can really shine, if we're able to request the resources, whether that be time or money, that's when we can spend the time and spend our resources, being able to do the work and have the space to do the work that will be ultimately fulfilling in real life, we also have to juggle this concept of feedback and how that can be a consistent drain on our energies because of what a stakeholder might say, if we can't have any change to the time or resources that we need, then we request to change the scope. But a productivity system should help us manage those expectations, and at least make us feel more competent to go into those conversations feeling like we don't need to do those things. And for the managing the feedback, the feedback that we received from others, that also needs to be treated in handled in a way that is edited by us. I'm using that space as a barrier and area for me to think about, what do I really want to take action on based off of the feedback I received. And this is a way from the prying eyes of all of the different users that have access to my design files, and actually a place for me to be like, like, if I were really honest with myself, I would really like not want to do this or be like, Yep, yeah, that's good. I can be blunt, I can be like straight up, I can highlight where there's an issue, I can just break that down and just be really transparent with myself. So I know to raise an issue when it's really important if

I'm noticing a pattern, but kicker is is that we don't always have to implement the feedback that we receive, we have that choice of implementing the feedback as we'd like to please don't take this as a way to be like eff all of all the peeps that are that are paying you and no, you could totally do this within reason you focus my attention on these bigger ideas and bigger experiments that are about to happen. I was able to like talk to people and like, Hey, this is this is an issue that we're going to either need to raise to our point of contact, we need to talk to their boss, we need to talk to our boss like is this gonna be an issue. But having those data points, having collecting every single idea and separating them out has made it so much easier for myself. And the last tip that I have is..

4. Test and iterate.

Now I started building my productivity system in 2014. It's still changing, maybe you're like changing jobs, you're transitioning, maybe you're taking on a new hobby, or you're just finding you're having different interests. Because of this Evan flow. It's a constantly evolving organism continuously use your system. So into the thick of it, when you're reflecting on what's working, you're allowing yourself to delete things that no longer serve you, I had set up an automation for things that I would read, like my Instapaper. And it would automatically like transmit all of the things I would highlight in from Instapaper into my notion, and then I would just start collecting this long list of highlights that I never wanted to go through again, you're just not saving things forever. Your notes, even one type of note can really evolve with you, the more that you're using it and the more that you're seeing the value of it.

P.S. I'm hosting a FREE training on the 3 step method for designers to create with purpose so you can learn how to create a productivity system that works for you.

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