Yesterday I wrote about the importance of accountability and the major hindrances that I create to ruin my own progress. Today, I’m going to talk about a mantra I learned in a book I read called The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp.
This book was a fast and informative read. I read it years ago when I was struggling to get a job after I graduated in the thick of the Great Recession. (That phase of my life was no the easiest, but we all have our struggles, and that certainly hasn’t been the only one.)
I found this quote from GoodReads. It sums up how if you want to be creative or express yourself, building a framework so your system knows what is coming and won’t take up extra power to do simple tasks and find simple things, a habit-lined routine is in your best interest to make.
I don’t believe you need to be an artist to use a routine. In so many mundane aspects of home and work life, people are asked to get creative and solve problems. The word creative has become such an arbitrary descriptor and actionable word that it is used as often as rain pelts shingles in a storm. Getting creative or being creative isn’t daunting. There are a few things you can do and already unconsciously recognize/do that make you creative and sprout those “creative” ideas you need or you boss needs.
Have you just went for a walk for were doing some mundane chore like washing the dishes, raking leaves or picking up your dog’s poop? Have you noticed that ideas pop into your head during these times? Have you ever solved a problem or answered a question during these boring activities? If yes, as I have, then these chores, even habits in some cases—like the dog walking and leave raking—are the pillars to building you a foundation of a routine spur more creativity. You are automatic when you walk during your lunch break and your mind wanders. You are automatic when you take the dog for a walk or rake the leaves. These are all great chores that can be used to garner inspiration and creativity because when you take your mind off the creativity you are searching for your conscience or unconscious can reach back into the recesses of the mind to retrieve lost information. The mind can also process new information and start linking the old and new together to spark that creative solution or new business idea.
Building a routine will put those little chores into the same category as the dog walking one. You will become numb to thinking about them and that is when your mind can escape and be more productive and creative.
A simple routine in the morning is a great starting point. If you are anything like me, structuring a routine is easy, but maintaining it is hard. I’ve become better, but am slowly building on it. I just focus on waking up in the morning at a certain time, no matter when I go to bed and doing a few basic morning chores. My chores include making the bed, stretching, oil pulling for 20 minutes and drinking 16 ounces of water. These are simple, but if I don’t wake up on time, I rush and skip one or two.
It is not perfect yet, but I’m hoping it opens me up to have more time in the morning to write and fit in this challenge in the AM instead of the PM after an exhausting commute to and from work. 100 minutes!
So, in the words of Twyla: “To get the creative habit, you need a working environment that’s habit-forming. All preferred working states, no matter how eccentric, have one thing in common: When you enter into them, they compel you to get started.”