Most Common Unproductive Habits in the Creative Industry

We all know the drill; in the office by 9:00am, coffee/tea/beer (don’t judge) by 9:15am and then off into cyber space until who knows when. Being in the creative industry, it’s hard not to pick up unproductive habits, and I’ll tell you why.

The question is, where’s the fine line between “I’m here analyzing their social media strategy” versus “I’m here because this was on my Facebook feed”.

Being in the creative space, we are trained to have our minds wander, to fetch, to borrow, and to create ideas. This skill is a double edged sword, however. Staying on task and committing unproductive crimes can be a blur.

But fear not, Here are 5 unproductive habits we’re exposed to and what to do about them.

Social Media

The Facebooks and the Reddits are good examples. Link after link, connection after connection, you slowly wander off topic. We’d be lying to ourselves if we think we can avoid social media as a creative agency. I say, pick your poison wisely. Jumping link to link on LinkedIn (no pun intended) is likely to be a lot more productive than from cat video to cat video on youTube.

Daily Dose of News

News, news, news! You have good intentions, you’re going to read up on the latest marketing flop, the latest “oh no he didn’t!” blog, the most successful Twitter campaigns. But after a shameless plug of the latest Apple product or a mention of the commercials for the Super Bowl, you start your hunt to find ends to those rumors. Caught! Those darn clever creative people fished you out and now you’re off track again. I recommend using a newsreader to separate your news into categories. At the very least, this helps sort your news and the content you’re expecting.

Smart Phones

That gosh darn cell phone! In a world of texting, WhatsApp’ing, emailing, and Facebook-status-liking, it’s an easy habit to glance over at that notification light on your cell phone. Before you know it, a “quick check” turns into a conversation, then into planning a night in to watch The Bachelorette. Personally, I turn off notifications for messages but allow calls to come through. That way I’m not glancing at the non-sense but I also don’t miss the important calls.


YouTube and the awesome content that comes along with it. You watch a video and think, what a great commercial that was! But you don’t stop there; you get tempted and click on the related videos at the end. If you’re looking to market your own content, consider using a banner creator to make an eye-catching advertisement for your video. Whether related or not, productive or not, those extra little videos have taken you away from the original purpose. A counter-habit I find helpful to combat this distraction is to write down the pros and cons of each video as they finish. This helps you retain what you saw and the slight break in between gives you a chance to reassess if watching another is such a good idea.

The Water Cooler

Water cooler talk is almost a must have. It’s like a cheat meal, some extra playtime, another 5 minutes in bed or just pure distraction. Keep them short, body language helps. But remember, it takes two to tango so if someone is giving you the hint to get out, get out!

And there you have it, my compiled list of unproductive habits. Let me know if you catch yourself in these acts of time thieving!

This article was contributed by former Function Point employee, Gary Tong.

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