Two weeks ago, I started a new article series where I round up all sorts of project implementation and management hacks from some of the best entrepreneurs, product managers, and creatives. In the first article, I shared a few project implementation secrets from managers at Bannersnack, Squarespace, Smartketer and a few others.

For today’s article, I asked a few awesome Teamweek users to share their secrets on team motivation and self-discipline. Last week while I was in Amsterdam for TheNextWeb conference, I got to meet some of our clients. These people are the creative minds behind agencies like Bannerboy, Johnnywonder, Voormedia, GoudUberConnected and StudioDoen.

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I asked them two major questions. First, how do they keep themselves disciplined, and second, how do they keep their team motivated and creative?

Here are their answers.

1. How do you keep yourself disciplined?

“Setting priorities helps me a lot, even just the top 3 for a day. Also, finding a quiet place without people around is super useful if you get easily distracted or you work on a tedious task.” 

– Agatha Hartendorp – Johnnywonder

“That’s easy, pay attention to distraction in a scheduled way. Distractions are part of the world around you. They help to keep you inspired. Incorporate time in your daily schemes for this. It’s not a sin.”

– Cees van Leeuwen – Studio Doen

“Minimising distractions can be very difficult indeed! Personally, I am often very productive during my commute by train. When pair programming with a colleague I find that background noise can really help! Some of the most productive days were in a busy café or pub.”

– Rolf Timmermans – Voormedia

“Embracing the distractions! Keep at least 40 browser tabs open and just deal with it.”

– Jurre Haak – Goud Uberconnected

“Embrace distraction and keep forward momentum. I answered this question last, the second question first, only started because I needed a break from the actual thing I’m doing that’s due in an hour, and I’ve checked Reddit at least twice before finishing. It’s like if you try to not eat sugar, all you want to do is to eat sugar.”

– Abel Buko –BannerBoy

2. How do you keep your creative team motivated and – well – creative?

 

“We want to work on projects that we can believe in. If you don’t believe in what you’re building, it’s impossible to create something excellent. For our own product – https://tinypng.com, an image optimization service – that means we will go to great lengths to make it as simple to use as possible. Users should not have to configure or tweak anything to get good results. The optimization engine should just figure out what is necessary without the need for opaque ‘quality’ settings, for example.

“It also applies to projects we do for our consulting customers. Occasionally that means we will try very hard to convince our customers to do things differently, because we feel there is a better way to solve the problem. It can be hard to say “no” to a customer, but in the end it’s worth it: we are very proud of the products and applications that we have built for our customers.”

– Rolf Timmermans – Voormedia

Real creatives just stay creative/motivated when they can be creative. That sounds logical but is a real challenge. It’s a matter of what kind of jobs or what kind of briefings do you accept or not. “

– Cees van Leeuwen – Studio Doen

“I try keeping them free in their creative process, but borders are important. If you don’t set the right expectations you create an environment where you have to reject idea’s because they don’t actually fit the client’s requirements. So a good brief is important, as nobody likes to work without setting a clear goal. “

– Agatha Hartendorp – Johnnywonder

“I keep my team motivated by inspiring them with new (technical) possibilities and allowing them freedom in schedule and budget from time to time.”

– Jurre Haak – Goud Uberconnected

“Storytelling. A great storyteller has the ability to make the most boring topic wildly exciting. Not every step of a creative project is going to be fireworks and dance parties…on the surface. The trick is to find the glitter and mystery in every step. For example, engage the team with humorous anecdotes about the client/brand/yourself and then rely on them as buttons to crack a smile or at the least a knowing eye roll.”

– Abel Buko – BannerBoy

Andrei Tiburca

Andrei Tiburca

Andrei is a Growth Hacker on Teamweek's marketing team. He is the person behind most of Teamweek's SEO-driven projects, including the budget calculator and the worst productivity tips generator. He enjoys writing about project management, graphic design, and anything tech.
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