How often do you find your creative productivity hindered by the overwhelming amount of data needed to reach an end product? Many of us, regardless of if we’re a “business type” or “creative type” buckle at the thought of a three month work load… Or even a six week deadline.
During a recent flight to Houston, an inspired article, and a run to catch a late flight lead to this five day plan to knock your idea, project or pitch into the sky.
Rules of Flight for Creative Productivity
With this process, remember, during your 5 day blocked out plan at no point (while you’re working on the project) are you to have a smart phone, tablet, lab top, etc. These electronic gadgets, while cool, will cause more of a hindrance to this releasing maximum creative productivity.
Everything should be on paper, dry erase, chalk, etc. (unless you are creating a website… Then by all means use a computer because making a website with paper is hard).
This visceral connection with what you are creating will help with the next point in the project. Our purpose here is to get your “rough draft” or your prototype in place.
Point of Reference – Beta Website Creation
As it always helps with structure of a story to have a point of reference, let’s say hypothetically speaking that our project is to create a new website for beta testing (so not the final product but still up on the web for tweaking). Our team consists of three people, Marge the Director/Graphic Designer, Homer the Programmer, and Lisa the Copywriter.
Day 1 – The Structure of the Week
It is the beginning. So much work ahead it makes you want to scream! Whether you are working alone or with a team it, of course, pays bank to map out your time for the next five days. This includes prioritizing and delegating. While this process may not seem to be gushing with “creative productivity,” remember, the purpose of this 5 day crunch is so that the stress of “getting it done” is alleviated allowing for true creative productivity to emerge withing the following weeks.
Marge creates a schedule for herself and the rest of the team for this five day crunch. During the creation of the schedule Lisa takes into account the needs for the client and starts researching and creating a keyword list that will prove effective for the needed SEO on the site.
“I have decided we’re making this a WordPress site,” Marge tells the team. Homer spends his first hours setting up the skeleton of the site with a simple menu and blank pages filled with some generic text.
Day 2 – Brainstorming, Alone Time and Teamwork
During this day Marge has blocked out time for the team to develop ideas together, take them in their own direction individually and bring them back together for review and critique by the rest of the team.
The back and forth of this day is imperative because leaving someone alone to themselves for too long may end in their veering far off course or worse yet feeling stagnate. Flip side of that is, groups are great but a lot of talking and sharing limits what you actually get down on paper.
Homer feels that the team has got some “great ideas that are ready for the initial stages of development.”
Day 3 – Development
Here it happens. Marge drafts the initial logo for the client, Homer begins coding for a special calendar for the client and Lisa’s creative productivity is through the roof creating content for pages.
“I can’t do anymore copywriting today and I’m starting to feel the crunch-time because we’re already on day three,” Lisa shares.
Marge reminds everyone that the purpose of the crunch is to get the prototype up online. This is not a crunch for the end product. It is a crunch for the initial product.
Day 4 – Continuation and Integration
The individual projects continue to grow and flourish and the team’s creative productivity thrives as graphics, copy and coding come together pretty seamlessly on this day. While not entirely finished with the rough draft of the website there is still an entire day left to finalize how everything comes together.
Day 5 – Finalization of Rough Draft
Here the team sees it and begins to notice what is working and what is not working. And guess what? That is where they leave it.
Marge is happy with one of the versions of the logo she created for the client and Lisa is more than pleased with the majority of her copy and the overall “online voice” for the company’s target audience. Homer continues to struggle with the online calendar but has set it up where it works for about 70% of the business requests.
Rather than feel pressured by how much work remains, everyone feels the burn of the week and knows regardless, they already have a complete rough draft and still have five weeks for more tweaking, integration, testing, re-developing and approval. The prototype is finished which creates a feeling of ease allowing for creative productivity to flourish within the coming weeks and months.
Marge leaves the office with this. “Now, I order you to leave this project alone for two days. It’ll open our eyes to more areas for opportunity.”
Burning Questions About the Five Day Crunch
This whole article was inspired by reading a related article about “The Sprint,” and how the process can work for individuals or as a team. Like everyone’s process, this one tweaked to fit the idea of a hypothetical team building an initial draft of a website for a new client.
Make some alterations and see how the idea of a five day crunch process can apply to your creative productivity.