I’ve been thinking about creativity more than usual.
After what seemed like eons of inactivity, where my creative impulse was stalled, I’ve come full circle, regaining some control over my creative life, producing content, not just consuming it in loads. It’s easy to get pulled by the force of social media, YouTube and the access to entertainment always at our finger tips. Sure, it can be a great source of inspiration, but it can also freeze us in a creative paralysis. For me the solution has been to rekindle my love for the power of a schedule.
Let’s come clean. Since I got back from my summer abroad, and then, after a hurricane raked havoc on the island where I live, I’ve been aimless. I had all the symptoms of aimless living: lack of focus, anxiety about not knowing what was coming next, what to do with my time, feeling useless and finding little space and energy for making progress.
It all felt wrong. I was looking for answers, anything. Then I remembered Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography.
That single idea changed my outlook of the last two months of this year, and hopefully of all the months and years to come. I looked for inspiration elsewhere. So much has been published about organization, decluttering and time management. Everyone has a strategy. Everyone has something to add to the self-organization salad. And every strategy can and should be improved upon.
Even Ben Franklin went back to the drawing board of his daily schedule repeatedly. The rest of us are no different. The process of evolving, assessing and getting to know ourselves it’s ongoing. And there lies the self-empowering truth.
The structure of our creativity will take many forms throughout the days, weeks, months and years. The point is to harness the powers that it unleashes. This doesn’t happen by chance, but in the process of building, tearing down, and building again the kind of creative and fulfilling life we want.
Having enjoyed the empowering feeling and freedom of a daily routine for the past two months, these are the four powerful keys that have unlocked my creativity:
1. The power of purpose: Having a clear intention, for your day and your life in mind, gives you a target to commit to and work toward.
2. The power of progress: Setting achievable, daily bite-size goals for yourself, and tracking those goals, will boosts your confidence and keep at bay the procrastinating elephant in the room.
3. The power of knowledge: Having a measure of control over your day, in the form of a simple routine, gives your mind a mental energy break, provides you with a sense of self-made security, a sense of control over some aspects of your day and life, and the flexibility that leaves space for surprises. This power also opens the doors toward greater self-knowledge through re-evaluation of our progress and purpose.
4. The power of a single day: We must rethink the 24 hours’ time-frame. Breaking through its “limits” with wise time management, mindful rituals and moments of gratitude.
Where should you begin? I began with a blank page on my tablet. I wrote the hours of the day and the tasks that should take place at those times. I put the schedule in motion and reviewed it. I then wrote a second version and copied it on a medium size white board in my creative space, for quick self-checks. It will change, as I learn more about myself, the hours I’m most productive in certain activities, like writing or learning something new, the activities I want to keep and those that must go.
Everybody’s scheduled creativity will come out looking different and authentic, and that’s its brilliant result. By taking the time to embrace these empowering keys, by developing your own schedule and assessing it and yourself daily, you’ll find new ways to getting to know you, what your purpose is, what gives meaning to your life, what vast room there is inside you for all your passions to breath and bloom.
There are days when I cannot hit all the base tasks on my schedule. There are days where other responsibilities have priority. There are days when I move tasks around. I have total control and authority to do this. And you’ll have total control and authority over yours.
And, there are days when I manage to check off every task, hit every note. When I manage to complete every bit-size goal. When every simple ritual gets done and every one of my life’s passions gets its time and attention. Those are days when these passions bring forth unexpected surprises. In those days, anything is possible.
Make room for that kind of day in your life!