B&N Week 192: What Are Your Keys To Productivity?

| August 26, 2014



It’s another Tuesday! It’s been pretty cloudy and rainy here in Tucson, and to be honest, I’m loving it. It’s not all sun, all the time just most of it. If you like sunny weather that doesn’t change all that much, this is the place to be. Just putting it out there.

This week’s question: what are the keys to your productivity?

Let me start out by stating the obvious, because even though it’s obvious to some, it isn’t always obvious to others. Ready?

Everyone’s situation is different.

For the majority of us, we have a full-time job in order to pay the bills, and creating comics is something we fill in around the edges and cracks of that. Sometimes, it feels like a second job [because it is!], and with that feeling, there are ebbs and flows to when we can create, how much time we have to create, how much attention we can spare when we create, and so on. Sometimes, we have to steal that time.

The full-time job doesn’t even take into account the home life for many of us. If you’re single, you have it relatively easy. If your day job pays the bills, you get to come home and create. If you’re married, or married with children, then you have a whole host of other complications.

So, what are the keys to your productivity? What are the things you do so that you know you have the time, energy, and willingness to do the work that’s before you?

A lot of us will go into the office and close the door. The closed door is a sign of a creator doing the damned thing. That’s if we have an office. Some of us, the closed door is a small corner of space in the kitchen or the living room. We do the work when and where we can.

For me, the keys to productivity are a short timeframe, and pressure. For me, working under pressure gives me a thrill, because I want to see if I can do the work in the time I have. Getting something of quality out in a short amount of time that’s my key to productivity. I procrastinate and think, but if it’s writing, I rarely write it until it’s due, or near its date. That’s what works for me. If it’s writing/editing for a client, then I get it done as soon as I can.

I don’t need quiet. I don’t need a special place. I just need a minimum of interruptions. Enough time to get complete thoughts down on paper before an interruption comes. This, among other things, is why I can do a lot of my extra work while at my day job. (You’re lucky.) [I know.] (Not just about being able to write while at work.) [I know.]

For writing, the good thing is that it can be done anywhere. I’m reminded of an LL Cool J lyric from I’m Bad: You want a hit, give me an hour plus a pen and a pad. I know I went to the Wayback Machine [and even mentioning the Wayback Machine is pretty old], but the point is simple: writing can be done anywhere.

Art, on the other hand, is much more of a challenge to do anywhere. Computers have made it easier to be portable, but you still have to have a steady surface in order to steady your hand. Being productive is more of a challenge.

The most important things for an artist are time and location. If you have a location, often you don’t have the time to do what you need to do, for various reasons. I know one artist who had a location to draw, but didn’t have the time, so they started getting up very early in the morning in order to have some time to themselves to draw. An hour or two early, and they felt energized and got work done. They found their productivity went up.

What are the keys to your productivity? Are you as productive as you could be? What would you need to change in order to become more productive, if that’s your goal? What would you need to rearrange or sacrifice? Or, what have you found that works for you? Do you think others would benefit from your approach?

Personally, I don’t recommend others do the last minute approach that I take. If you’re not good with it, if you underestimate the amount of time it takes to do something, if something unforeseen happens, then you’d run into the possibility of blowing a deadline, and that’s never fun. Please, don’t do as I do. I take no responsibility for what happens, good or ill.

Share your thoughts and your own personal keys in the comments.

See you in seven.

Click here to comment in the ComixTribe forums at Digital Webbing!

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Category: Bolts & Nuts, Columns

About the Author ()

Steven is an editor/writer with such credits as Fallen Justice, the award nominated The Standard, and Bullet Time under his belt, as well as work published by DC Comics. Between he and his wife, there are 10 kids (!), so there is a lot of creativity all around him. Steven is also the editor in chief and co-creator of ComixTribe, whose mission statement is Creators Helping Creators Make Better Comics. If you're looking for editing, contact him at stevedforbes@gmail.com for rate inquiries.

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