Move from “Crazy Busy” to “Crazy Creative”

Views from the F.A.A.E. Conference

Views from the F.A.A.E. Conference: window, notes and rocket fuel, awesome rug.


This is what I was promised during a recent session at the Florida Alliance for Arts Education Leadership Summit. Was this tailor-made for me?  I’m constantly running around – switching materials in the two minutes between classes, creating power points, emailing parents, entering grades – before I collapse on the couch at home with the nagging feeling I’ve forgotten something. During the three-day conference, this presentation, given by Eric Smith, was the most useful break out session I attended.

So, what is the secret to being an organized person with time for your own art?

Smith suggests the following 5 habits:

#1 Use Good Tools and Put Faith In Them

  • Whether it’s an electronic calendar or good old-fashioned paper planner – don’t write it down if you’re not actually going to do it.

#2 Create Inboxes

  • Two email inboxes: work and home. Two physical inboxes: work and home. One mobile inbox – the iPhone has specific apps for this.
  • The physical inboxes create a vertical mess. This helps teachers like me who have the constant problem of tornado desk. Ask yourself the following questions when organizing the endless papers on your desk:
  1. Can I do it right now? (a task that takes 5 minutes or less)
  2. Can I do it later? (add it to calendar or list)
  3. Is there nothing I can do with this? (file it or TRASH it)

#3 Make To-Do Lists Based on Location

  • Categories like errands (all the things you can do while out and about), at home or at school

#4 Take Time to Reflect and Make Adjustments

  • Each Friday, Smith suggests asking yourself if you’ve gotten everything done, what’s still nagging you and if you can clear out anything remaining in your inboxes?
  • A Friday calendar review can help you plan. What are you going to do over the next two weeks? What are you going to do over the next two months?

#5 Take Care of Yourself to Have Even More Crazy Creative Ideas

  • Ahhhh, the elusive 8 hours of sleep. It’s important! I haven’t mastered this yet.
  • Be honest with yourself – don’t work on things that get your mind wound up right before bed
  • Exercise – even if it’s just a walk around the block
  • Give yourself mental energy – appoint a time to check emails, don’t do it every 3 seconds from your phone
  • Most importantly, reconnect with your personal art form


I’ll let you know how these habits work for me – I make no promises about the sleeping part.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s