By now I’m sure, or I hope, that we all understand that everyone is creative or has the ability to add more creativity into their life no matter the job, task or situation you’re in. Something I’ve been thinking about lately is what makes one person create a huge amount of work/art/content while another struggles to begin or find flow in their work or in pursuing their passions. I think there’s a lot more to it than just finding what you’re passionate about because that alone, at least for me personally, is not a magic pill that gives me the drive and energy each morning to get up early and be productive all day.
I’ve always admired people who work on their craft each and every day, it almost seems like they were born that way and aren’t as easily distracted by everything else going on. I’m sure some people are built that way, but in the interests of finding hope for the rest of us, I think we can each find a way to create consistently that works for us. There’s lots of ideas and methods and books on this topic, which is great because I think for each individual the way to increase their creative output is going to be different. We each have different beliefs and levels of confidence about our work which will also affect how much of it we bring out into the world. One negative comment might be enough for one person to stop what they are doing for fear of more negative feedback, another will shake it off and keep creating for the countless others who do love what they are doing.
I think one of the key issues we have is making everything much more complicated that it needs to be, creating page long to-do lists and saying yes to too much. What if, for one day, or series of days, there was only one thing on your to-do list? It would feel pretty great to tick that baby off and then choose how you want to spend the rest of the day or evening. Just one task completed, one baby step, can be all it takes to lead into becoming motivated to take on another, or grant you permission to say ‘I’ve done enough, I’m proud of my progress, I’ll now go read a chapter of that book that’s been sitting beside my bed for weeks’. I think that even doing a little can lead to doing a lot more. Completing even a small task can make you feel better about yourself, and more confident to continue on.
Thinking back to recent years, the time where I most felt connected to what I was doing and could easily sit down and be truly focused on what I was doing, was when I took part in a month-long social media rehab. No Instagram, Facebook or Twitter for 30 days. Even if I did procrastinate, it took the form of doing chores around the house, which is far better than losing a few hours on Facebook. It really did amaze me how awesome I felt for that whole month and I’ve always wanted to do something similar again. Hmmm… maybe a September Sabbatical should be on the cards?! And while I really love connecting with others, sharing with and supporting each other, I just wonder how to do that in a way that doesn’t impact my own thoughts, beliefs and confidence as much.
When I’m not freely creating, I can quickly fall into what feels like a lengthy hangover. It leads to self-sabotage, unhealthy habits, negative thoughts, and low energy. So it’s really important that I don’t fall into that space, because doing even a small amount of work each day is much easier than getting back out of that again. What helps me is to always carry a sketchbook around with me and write and draw anything, even if it looks crappy, because it will eventually lead to the next step or idea. I’ll often go into my studio over the weekend to just play around which always makes it easier to get going on Monday. At times when the last thing I feel like doing is to stare at my laptop, I’ll ask friends to meet me in a cafe to work which always makes it more fun.
I’d love to hear what helps you become more productive in your work or increase your creative output, please comment below!