How to Navigate
Your Creative Processes
with Realistic Scheduling

Starting-up a start-up from the eyes of starter-uppers.

Picture of Todd O'Keefe

Todd O'Keefe

Chief Content Officer

Table of Contents

Take Charge of Your Scheduling

Creativity is not easy.

But taking charge of your scheduling can be with simple best practices. An everyday schedule can quickly become cluttered and stressful when it comes to managing multiple projects and meeting client expectations—not to mention, hitting deadlines.

The freelancer, the copywriter, the founder—we all feel burnout. Too many starts and not enough finishes can do that to you.

We get it.

It’s the raison d’etre for why we are sharing this series on productive scheduling strategies for yourself, your team and your clients.

Like you, we see process as a guide—not a rule. It’s a series of well-planned steps that informs good decisions and allows buffer room for the creation of great work.

Here are tips and best practices on optimizing personal and professional schedules for creatives. Let’s start with practical and actionable methods to understand the everyday reality for you and your team.

Introduce realistic scheduling

Realistic scheduling acts as a natural planning bridge based on the typologies you will encounter on any given day.

It prepares you for managing all sorts of creative and motley crews—from the driven to the social or the free-spirit and even the no-nonsense characters.

Understand expectations

Schedule your day in anticipation of how different personality states receive different information. Shift gears and shape efficient ways to schedule in the job culture you and your team want—and cater to your client needs.

Expect varying work cultures to be traditional with rock and chisel, team-driven with agile sprints, more laid-back—or choose from a combination of all above.

Paces & styles

Leaders, product owners and managers face challenging demands. It’s up to them to figure out the best practices for creating and delivering a realistic schedule. And, of course, performing to that schedule.

Adapting it for success means paying attention to team paces and styles and offering flexible schedules. Establish scheduling strategies for the more detail-oriented, or split the day based on stimulation and creativity for the heads-down and locked-in types.

Habits take a long time to form. Learn to manage expectations, job demands and personal work styles of clients, team members—and yourself.

Avoid the tendency to want people to work the way you want them to work. One way to prepare is to become a student of personalities.

Adjust your perspective and adapt to needs. Managing frustration is easier when you are proactive versus reactive. Without a plan, you are at the demands of others.

Scheduling factors

Establish a centralized work calendar such as a printed wall version or a desktop and mobile application.

Google calendar is one suggestion since it synchronizes across various devices and desktops. It also offers personalized touches and document sharing with a simple click.

If you are the hands-on type, wall calendars are great for marking up with distinct actions.

Understand the day for yourself and your team. Account for opportunities and plan for possible pitfalls. Choose your moment and know when you need to account for balance and when you need to be diplomatic or direct.

Adjust for x-factors, such as clients or managers who throw occasional curve balls that arrive at inopportune times. Stay open and ready for any changes.

Pay attention to work personalities

Each type of work culture delivers information differently with varying expectations.

Your work personality, your work culture and your work style will rub off on your team.

Their work styles will add the basic ingredients that you need to start framing your day.

We exist in a creative and deadline-driven profession. Combat this with realistic scheduling and develop a better and more consistent daily outlook. Become a student of personalities and know—as well as understand—the paces and styles of your team, clients and vendors.

Interested in some more tips on schedules and routines for creatives?

Download our playbook for practical and actionable items to tackle your everyday schedule.


Our starter-upper blog is a place you’ll find creative trade secrets, shop talk and the trials and errors of a creative incubator.

Our goal is to make things people will enjoy and want to share—from storytelling and copyhacking best practices to articles, videos and white papers.

Join the Starter-Upper newsletter today and get more articles like these ones.


Take a deep dive into your
free copy of the 5 Fundamentals of Reputational Risk Management and start building a bulletproof brand reputation that stands the test of time.