If you want to gain perspective and control over your creative process, keep inventory. Meaning, any system that gives you an objective account of everything on your mind and in your life. Any tool that helps you assess things immediately within the context of everything you do. This keeps you from being overwhelmed at any given time.
MISSION CONTROL — A snapshot of everything that’s important to me, helping me understand the relationships between the various buckets of my life.
Each day, often multiple times a day, you can walk the factory floor. You can run a regular review process, taking time to see all your various inventories in one place. It’s a mission control for your existence, and it goes a long way in alleviating boredom and instilling focus.
Here are a few of my mission control examples. There’s my meaning inventory, which is a list of existentially nourishing activities and tasks that are guaranteed to provide me with the experience of meaning. There’s my project inventory, which is a list of interesting creative ventures and commitments that flood me with a set of intensely positive emotions like happiness, exhilaration and even bliss. There’s my sales inventory, which is a list of prospects and potential collaborations with whom I expect to do business in the near future. There’s my intellectual inventory, which is a system of ideas and notes and sentences that fuel my daily creative efforts. There’s my financial inventory, which is a breakdown of accounts payable and receivable within my business. And there’s my ambition inventory, which is a list of one hundred goals and dreams for the current year that tells me a story about the ideal future I want to see.
Your creative life is more organized than you think it is. Spend some time bucketing your work into mission control format, and you'll immediately feel less overwhelmed. What kind of inventory system do you have?
Gain a objective account of everything on your mind, in your life
Assess new information within the context of everything you do
Reduce overwhelm when new tasks or projects come in
Keep perspective and control and achieve integration among your various life buckets