Turning Inspiration into Productivity

I recently received the opportunity to write a guest post on how to find your inspiration for 22nd and Everett. While I was writing, I realized that inspiration and productivity are irrevocably intertwined for me — if I'm inspired, I'm productive, and if I'm in a rut, it's impossible to get things done.


However, I also know that it can be easy to let inspirational energy become misguided to a non-productive end. How often has a jolt of inspiration come from an afternoon walk only to be lost by the time you sit down to work? Or how many times have you been excited to advance on a project, until an interruption causes you to lose your zest?

When you can harness the power of inspiration and apply it to a task, you enable yourself to create a quality product no matter the job. From homework to board meetings to passion projects, channeling inspiration into productivity will allow you to create pieces you're proud of. Just as the journey to inspiration, that might look different for everyone — but finding your road is a step in the right direction.

  • Do Not Disturb. Do not disturb mode is one of the handiest features that Apple has introduced to their OS, and making use of it can revolutionize the way you work. Even if you've undertaken a notification cleanse, do not disturb mode will block everything — including system updates and the alert when iTunes switches to the next song. Inspired energy can easily be channeled towards gabbing in the group chat as opposed to your big presentation, so stopping these small distractions can help you hunker down and get it done.
  • Keep your schedule fluid. From grade school to the career field, humans have constantly been taught that a regimented schedule is a key to success. However, sticking to a schedule too tightly can be just as detrimental as not having one at all. Structure is great, but if you're excited to work on a certain project, give yourself permission to stay in that space a little longer (even if Google Calendar is telling you otherwise!). Enjoyment is part of being productive, so if your intellect is stimulated by something allow yourself to ride that wave as long as you can.
  • Write everything down. Keeping lists is regarded as the bread and butter of productivity, and even if it doesn't come naturally at first, it might be worth trying. Not only are all your tasks organized in a concise area, but you also allow yourself the satisfaction of crossing things off for good. If it feels like too much, compartmentalize! Try keeping separate lists for "today", "this week", and "this month" to keep the list from being overwhelming at first glance. Regardless of how many lists you make, keeping track allows you to watch your small accomplishments lead to big successes.
  • Look ahead. Working on what you love is gratifying on its own, but when you're trying to dial up the productivity, an external push can make all the difference. If you're not receiving external motivation from your employer, don't be afraid to design your own! Similar to rewarding the class with a pizza party at the end of the school year, knowing you're working towards a goal as opposed to aimlessly toiling will keep the motivation alive. Whether it's as large as a vacation or as small as a fancy coffee, knowing something exciting is on the threshold is a great way to spur yourself into productivity overdrive.

There are few things in life that are as gratifying as a job well done. Channeling the energy of inspiration into your job (or project! or craft!) will enable you to create things you're proud to put your name on — and that's a gratifying thing.