Cultivate creative habits that will change your life
Creative masters keep a schedule, they treat their work seriously, and get to it whether they’re inspired or not. You too can cultivate creative habits that change your life, and here’s how.
1 -Sacrifice the Non-Essentials
So you want to build lasting habits that change your life?
Well, you might enjoy sitting down on the couch each evening to watch comedy or a film or even play a video game, but now things are different. You will replace old habits with productive activities. You won’t have as much free time as you used to. You must commit to spending some of your free hours alone in your room or studio, even if a boss or lover wants to know what you’re doing. Are you prepared to sacrifice watching television, playing games, spending time on social media, reading trashy books, enjoying late nights out or pursuing side projects that have nothing to do with your creative passion?
Because when you sacrifice the non- essential parts of your day, you will gain the momentum you need to progress your big ideas.
2 -Tame Your Environment
If you’re not in the habit of keeping a creative schedule, you’ll encounter mental resistance when you try to do your work. Go easy on yourself by setting up an office or studio with mental triggers. Remove anything from this environment that distracts, for example, television or a games console. You could even go as far as disconnecting internet access in advance.
Willpower is a finite resource, and you don’t want to expend it wrestling with distractions. Remove anything from your environment that has nothing to do with your big ideas. Leave visual clues about your work and ideas. Write notes to yourself each night about what to work on the next day.
3 -Create Space
Working on your big ideas can be messy; you need a clear space to create this mess in the first place. When you finish working for the day, reset your workspace and sort through what you’ve worked on. Just as a master craftsman puts away his tools after work, you must tidy your desk or studio, file your notes and reorganize everything. Then, lay out the following day’s work and ideas and the tools you need before you go to bed.
4 – Become More Efficient
The creative process is sometimes sloppy and disorganised. Both good ideas and bad ideas appear at unusual times like at 03:23. They arrive in unexpected places too, like in the shower. So, you must be efficient about your routine. To do this, anticipate what you need and then arrange everything so it’s too hand. Organise your tools and your supplies so that everything is in one place that you can easily access. Then, check that you have everything you need such as pens, pencils, paints, paper, books, your notes, a firm resolve etc. before you start working. You don’t want to waste time looking for your notes, research or buying supplies online when you could be working on a big idea.
5 – Reward Yourself
The Hindu spiritual text, the Bhagavad Gita tells us, “You have the right to work, but never to the fruit of work. You should never engage in action for the sake of reward, nor should you long for inaction.” So, it’s no surprise that creative masters feel motivated to continue even if they’re working alone or progress is slow. One of the best ways to foster this inner motivation is to mark small victories, like keeping a new creative routine or reaching a little milestone such as a targeted word-count or a finished painting. You can mark these milestones by taking a trip to a museum, a walk in the park, a lie in on the weekends or by enjoying a night out with friends. The goal here isn’t to work on an idea solely for a reward; it’s to build a mental link between your new creative routine and positive experiences.
6-Commit to Your Ideas
You can’t count on creativity to appear at will; it takes months or even years to develop the mental resources you need to come up with or recognise quality ideasconsistently, but here’s the thing: Turning up every day sends a signal to your subconscious that you’re dedicated to the virgin canvas, the blank page or your medium of choice. Like a long distance runner training for the Olympics, by turning up each day, you prepare your mind and body for your creative, hard work. Then, when an idea arrives in a dream or when inspiration strikes, you’ll have the resources to recognise it and act on it.