The ebb and flow of creativity productivity is a common
theme among those in the creative arts.
One day, the ideas may be flowing freely and the work
is completed effortlessly. The next day, even with the
same resources and environment, creativity may feel
stagnant and progress grinds to a halt.
This inconsistency can be frustrating, but it is a normal
part of the creative process.
The flow of creativity & productivity is not constant
Creativity is not a constant state, but rather a cycle that
ebbs and flows. For Example, people tend to be more creative
at certain times of day, with some people being more
productive in the morning and others finding their peak
creativity in the afternoon or evening.
In addition, different people have different natural rhythms
when it comes to creativity. Some people may be naturally more
productive in bursts, while others may have a steadier
stream of ideas.
Mental Energy
Another factor that can impact productivity is the amount of
work that has been done in the recent past. People tend to
have a limited amount of “mental energy” that can be
expended on creative tasks, and when that energy is
depleted, productivity comes to a halt.
A big contributor to this is “decision fatigue,” and it can
be caused by a variety of things, including multitasking,
working for long periods of time without breaks, and trying
to solve particularly difficult problems.
Taking breaks, setting aside dedicated time for creative
work, and using strategies like the Pomodoro Technique can
help to manage decision fatigue and maintain productivity.
This technique involves work intervals of 25 minutes
followed by a 5 minute break. I use this myself & find it to
be massively helpful in many situations.
Distractions
In addition to internal factors, there are also external
factors that can impact productivity. External distractions
like phone notifications or loud noises. Stress and personal
issues can also drain mental energy and make it difficult to
focus on creative tasks.
It also takes time to get back into your groove after a
distraction, so you want to limit what you can be distracted
by ahead of time.
Creativity is not linear
Creativity is not always a linear process. Inspiration can strike
at any time, and it is not uncommon for people to have
breakthroughs or moments of inspiration at random times,
instead of the time they have set aside to create.
Give yourself permission to take breaks and step away from
work, even when things are going well. It can be tempting to
try to force it, but this often leads to burnout and
decreased productivity in the long run.
Ups and downs are a natural part of the creative process. By
understanding the factors that can impact productivity and
using strategies like taking breaks and setting aside
consistent dedicated time for creative work, you can manage
the ebb and flow of productivity and continue to create
meaningful work.
Smaller goals
It can also be helpful to set specific goals and targets for
each work session. This can help to keep you focused and
motivated, and it can also provide a sense of accomplishment
when you are able to meet your goals.
I like to make 2-3 “micro” goals, this way you aren’t taking on
too much. Setting big creative goals without a path of small
breadcrumbs can be pretty overwhelming.
My approach is to stop a session before you run out of
energy. This will leave you excited for the next session. I
like to set my micro goals for the next session at this
time, so I have no questions about what to do the next time
I sit down to work.
Organization
Having your studio and DAW organized in a way that you can
quickly access the exact sound or tool you need without
endless time wasted can really keep you in the flow as well.
It’s something I dive deeper into with my coaching & may
write more about in the future.
Self Care
Never underestimate self-care as a way to maintain
productivity in the creative arts. This can include things
like getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and
finding ways to manage stress, like journaling or
meditation.
Take breaks often
Taking breaks and engaging in activities that nourish the
mind and body can help to recharge the mental
batteries and keep you feeling energized and focused. You
need to get out of the studio & get some fresh air & new
experiences to keep your creative juices flowing.
The ebb and flow of productivity is a normal part of the
creative process. By understanding the factors that can
impact productivity and using strategies like establishing a
consistent routine, setting specific micro goals, being
organized, and practicing self-care, you can better manage
the ups and downs of creativity and continue to create more
meaningful work.
Happy music making!

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