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Monday, February 13, 2012

Using "Thermometers" for Creative Projects & Motivation

If you’re anything like me, you’re always trying to find a “new” way to stay motivated. A “new” way to stay organized, or some way to manage the multitudes of major and/or mini projects going on in your creative life. I wanted to share with you guys a fun and very simple tool I stumbled upon, while searching for task management videos on YouTube. I started using this about a month ago for all of my current creative projects (The Standard, The Hero Code, Shattered Myth etc.).

So, let’s get down to it!
Here are the tools you will need:

- Two different coloured pencils/pens
- A piece of paper
That’s it! Keep it simple and plain! No bells and whistles. In the photo, you can see I’m using Index cards. The only reasons are because I have a surplus of them lying around. I heavily use them for plotting scripts, and jotting down themes for possible story ideas. Also, they are cut to a decent size, and don’t take up a large area.

Next up, I draw some boxes. It’s easy to think about this like a thermometer. Try to fill up the entire sheet horizontally, so you have room to fill it in. The idea here is to break this “thermometer” into chunks. As we finish tasks, we colour in a box. Over time the box will get closer and closer to the other side. Just like a thermometer! What this does, is helps you visualize exactly how far along you are in any given project. You see how close you are to its completion, and are made fully aware of how much work you have already put into it!

In this final picture, I’ve shown how I’ve used it for issue 3 of The Standard. The numbers above the bar, represent the pages. Once I’ve finished the inks and sent them to my client and/or editor, they will send me back either an approval, or an email describing the changes needed for the page to be complete. Once it gets the thumbs up for completion, I fill in one of the blocks. It’s very motivating to see this puppy fill up. I keep these notecards infront of my monitor, or near where I'm working. At any given time or glance, I can always be reminded of where I stand with any of the projects.

I should also note that in the second picture I have two thermometers. What I’ve done here is break it up even more. The top thermometer equals the thumbnails that will be sent off to the client, as well as the cover thumbnails. Again, as the client approves them, I will add red filled blocks appropriately. Once I move onto the actual interior pages, I will do the same.

Another cool thing that you are able to do with these little suckers is save them! Think about it! You will have no choice but to start completing these tasks over time. That means projects are going to be completed. You are going to start seeing things come to fruition! This is fantastic, because one the thermometer fills up, the project is complete! If you keep these in a shoe box or an envelope as they finish, you can always flip through them again for some extra motivational juice! You can instantly see projects you’ve finished in the past, and that you had the guts to complete them!

Well there you have it! I hope some of you give this a try! It literally takes nothing more than tools you already have around the house, and does nothing but hopefully motivate you! I wish you the best, and please let me know in the comments if this works for you! Also feel free to share with me the tools you like to use as well!
Keep reading comics, and keep making comics you guys! Take care!

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