As a creative, being productive is the crux of our success. If we're not being productive, it's most likely due to a halt or block of creativity. The end of October 2015 going into the majority of November 2015 was by far the most unproductive season I've ever had. I was already progressively declining in productivity over the previous few months, but this dry season was the final straw. I became fed up and determined I was going to create new habits/strategies that prevented me from EVER getting back in this place.
So what does the hamster have to do with anything lol? I literally felt like a Hamster. I was incredibly busy toppling over myself trying to make a variety of things happen, but it seemed like I could never accomplish what I set out to do. I was going in circles. But, I was determined to get myself off of that hamster wheel! It took alot of self-discipline, but I am now bursting with productivity/creativity! Through overcoming this situation, I've learned 5 KEY tips that I think will dramatically help all creatives.
Tip 1: Get Up Early
If you want to be productive, it all begins with how you start your day. Getting up early allows you to get the ball rolling before the distractions (emails, calls, etc) come pouring in. I personally made a habit of getting up at 5AM, but choose whatever time works best for you. In my opinion, getting up early and going to sleep at a reasonable time is much more productive than the popular "no sleep" adage people cling to. Your body works better when you have a consistent sleep schedule.
Tip 2: Feed Your Mind First
I've made a habit of using the first hour of the day to feed my mind. This is my time of studying scriptures, prayer, doing research, mapping out my objectives for the day, sharpening overall goals, reading/watching motivational content, etc. Basically, do whatever works for you to get your mind right during the first hour. This helps to keep you laser focused on accomplishing your objectives for the day. As a side note to feeding your mind, keep social media activity at a minimum when being creative. Social media is an excellent tool but too much time spent there can be detrimental to progress.
Tip 3: Stay Light
When it comes to creativity and productivity, nothing hampers you like a heavy diet. Your body can't put a pronounced amount of resources into being productive if it's working hard to digest heavy food. Especially food that isn't healthy for you. You have to feed your body(nutrients, vitamins, etc), not just your stomach (being full). This was something I had to change primarily for health reasons, but it made a huge difference in productivity/creativity. I made a habit of drinking fresh homemade veggie juice and eating healthy light meals every day. It's time-consuming making the juice, but I've disciplined myself to wash/prepare produce and make a days worth of juice (64 Fluid Ounces) every morning. In case you're curious, my juice contains the following: Celery, Spinach, Kale, Zucchini, and 2 small green apples (to lightly sweeten but keep sugar content low). Sometimes I add carrots and other veggies but this is the bulk of it. I also take a multi-vitamin, B12, and drink lots of water as well. Feeling better helps you do better.
Tip 4: Stay Moving
Getting some form of exercise daily helps to keep your body running fluidly in every area the way it should. Most creative work requires sitting down for long periods of time so if you don't get up and get moving every day, your creativity (and waistline lol) will eventually suffer. I made a habit of hitting the gym every morning before I get into my work. These first 4 tips equip me with what I need to successfully execute tip 5.
Tip 5: The Creative Blitz
Any creative worth their salt has a passion to create excellence. Sometimes that pursuit of excellence can prompt us to put so much time/energy into one idea that it stunts our output. I've discovered a new creative strategy that allows you to still chase excellence while maximizing your output and time expenditure. This is what I call the creative blitz.
- Instead of putting all your time into creating and finishing one concept at a time, use the first 2-3 hours of your creative time to come up with 4-5 concepts. Create whatever comes to mind. Don't think too hard just be in the moment and go with the vibe. No creative boxes. Go with whatever comes out at the moment. It's totally ok if you create a WACK concept lol! The point is learning to just let go and let your creative juices run wild without over-analyzing every move. Over a short amount of time, your percentage of good concepts will increase.
- When you have a nice frame for the concept, move on. Don't get stuck. Totally forget about the last concept and move to the next one. Then the next one. Then the next until you have 4 or 5 concepts.
- When time is up, store the best concepts in a specialized folder and focus the rest of the day on completing one of them. Now is the time to put in the long hours needed to analyze, cultivate, and perfect the most minute details of your concept.
- Repeat this process every day.
Thanks so much for taking time to read this post! Seeing how these things have helped me so much, I thought it only right to share the knowledge. I hope this post encourages someone! Be blessed! -Tone