Prescott Perez-Fox takes productivity seriously. As the host of the podcast, The Busy Creator, Prescott prides himself on seeing inside the minds of top creative professionals and figuring out what helps them get stuff done. While many designers know Prescott for his package design, he’s becoming a bigger and bigger name in the creative community for his podcast and productivity training.
That’s why, when Josh Miles sat down with him for an episode of Obsessed With Design, the first thing he wanted to talk about was productivity for creatives. Not all productivity tips are created equal, and in the creative space, it can be really hard to increase productivity without decreasing quality. In this episode, Prescott Perez-Fox provides his best tips on how to overcome creative block. You can download this episode and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes.
A common theme across several of our episodes is productivity tips for creative workers. Throughout this episode, Prescott shares his best productivity tips, both from his own life and from what he’s learned through his podcast. Ultimately, if you suffer from regular bouts of creative block, Prescott has three key suggestions to help you overcome creative block.
Prescott’s first and biggest piece of advice for creatives who are suffering from creative block is to get out of their own house. It’s important to surround yourself with people, whether they’re peers, mentors, or clients.
“I’ve discovered the hard way that when I’m left alone... that’s a really bad place for me to be,” Prescott told us. “I will dwell on things and replay conversations and scenarios.”
This makes sense. Without the novelty of seeing new faces, bouncing ideas off of people you admire, or talking things out with your client, it’s easy for ideas to become stale. While you may romanticize the idea of isolating yourself from the world so that your genius can bubble to the surface, undisturbed, the truth of the matter is that isolationism suppresses creativity. It’s worthwhile for your mental, emotional, and creative strength that you surround yourself with the right kinds of people.
“It’s just the fact of being part of something again. That can be a sports team or a dance group or a conference organizing committee,” Prescott said. “Just being around other people who are going to push you to be back on your regular form, but even on your aspirational, best form.”
It’s hard to tackle a big creative challenge when you’re not even sure you can tackle small, every day challenges. Most creative projects can be mentally and emotionally daunting at first, so building easy wins into your day is a great way to train your brain to expect success.
“What are you doing this morning? Break it down to half-day blocks,” Prescott advised. Are you backing up your files? Are you keeping your calendar tight? Is your room clean?”
By building easy wins into your day, you can stay productive and encourage yourself to tackle bigger, more difficult challenges. When done well, this helps you focus on the fundamentals, get more done, and increases your confidence when working on your biggest projects.
“Do the absolute basics that can help you feel like you’re getting somewhere. That you’re doing the right things.”
Finally, there’s no substitute for just unplugging from the Internet for awhile. While the Internet can be an incredible tool for communication, research, and even seeking inspiration, it’s more commonly used as a distraction. Not only does it distract you from today’s work, however, it can also discourage you from doing your best work in the future.
“There are so many things out there in the world that can distract you,” Prescott warned. “You can feel the FOMO. You can feel that professional envy.”
Instead of being inspired by Pinterest, Dribbble, or Behance, a lot of designers are deterred by them. It’s easy to get online and see designers with a decade more experience creating really cool, interesting projects and get discouraged. This is counterproductive and puts a governor on your future potential.
“Don’t get bogged down by things you’re not doing,” Prescott said. “Actually take hold of the next hour, think ‘What can I do in the next hour that actually makes a difference?’ ”
For more insights on productivity, the creative process, and more, download this episode and subscribe to Obsessed With Design on iTunes.