Creative structure vs. breaking habits: getting into your creative work mode
By Sanne Clifford
As human beings we tend to create habits. There is nothing wrong with that. We need those habits to function well and prioritize in each little moment. Being aware of your habits or checking your habits if they still work for you is something else. Some patterns can be helpful and give our creative minds structure to focus, other day-to-day actions can hold us back from growing. Sometimes you need a change, other perspective or some fresh input to get your creative mojo going. So are we thinking inside or outside the box to to push ourselves into a creative state of working?
Looking at your existing habits and ways of working also means looking at your personality. Are you often overwhelmed by your own ideas, so many coming at you and having a hard time to choose or stay with one at the time? Your box (read mind) receives a lot of input but gets messy. To structure your thoughts and making decisions probably costs you quite some effort and your working environment might be like your way of thinking: full, colourful, kind of knowing where things are stalled but not easy to access right away. Maybe you’re more of a searching type, looking for ideas, trying new courses, addicted to learning new things. It’s not coming to you as a fall into the right place, but your eager and looking for playtime and diversity. You can probably plan and organize well, as all these ideas, courses and actions have to fit into your weekly schedule.
Recognize some of this? See what things calm you down and what gives you energy. Clean your desk, put things into boxes or maps with labels on it. It might not be fun to do this at first and it sounds very simple, but distraction is not your best friend here. Other things that can help you are writing your thoughts down in daily sessions without looking back at them for at least a week (longer might be more effective!), guided meditations (less chance your mind wonders off), or a walk in the park (alone and without a phone or book). Make a list of at least 10 items each (calming down and giving energy) and keep writing if you can. Then start observing your behaviour, the things you do before you are into creative work mode. Do you often eat something before you sit down to write that blog or article? Do you first have to make space at the table or desk? Do you need a deadline to get you active and what happens if you change one of these steps in your daily pattern? Try it and let me know in a comment below.
Yes, these tools might not all be new inventive ways you never heard of, but if you look at your daily routine: do you actually make time, space and awareness for yourself to get into your creative mode? Do you know how your system works? Did you ever try to change it? Probably most of the time you’re not or you didn’t. It’s not always about the big changes that make miracles happen. It’s about the awareness on the how, listening to your personal needs and being patience. Personally I mainly struggle with that last one, nobody said it would be easy! But isn’t that what we like: the challenge, the process, the development itself? We are capable of so many things, we have unique sets of talents. So bring it on, let’s create a box with open windows and doors. There are always several ways to travel into creative and productive wonderland.