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I used to think refining my process was a waste of time. But then I discovered that investing time into the way I work gives me back significant time in the long run. This investment helped eliminate distractions that normally took away from my creative process.
While figuring out our to-do list and daily schedules is extremely important, it can create a shadow over the achilles heel of the creative process.
In short, a weakness is when a creative individual or productive worker doesn’t take the time to study the things that interrupts their workday. They allow the cycle to keep repeating itself. They don’t study the changes that need to be made for a greater output.
Now, I am a big advocate for not feeding the hustle, workaholic culture that Western civilization has tossed into modern play. The intention of discovering this part of ourselves is not to become these idolatry-productive gods, rather, give us time back.
I want you to spend time with your families. I hope you shut the computer every night and get excited about the evening hours, or the weekend plans.
Identifying distractions and focus inconsistencies can be one of the most game changing things you can discover about yourself.
By getting the things done, structured under healthy standards (reasonable goals and tasks) you will end your day increasing your self-satisfaction and mental wellness.
This does not include consideration for any mental or focus related conditions, but I imagine that in conjunction with a mental health professional, these supplements can help.
As someone with severe Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), the below has really helped me learn about how I operate.
I’m going to walk you through 5 Steps on what to do moving forward to help resolve distractions and increase your focus. These will be your exercises for today, Day 4.
It’s no secret that your body’s health plays a role in your mind’s functionality. Perhaps you’re rolling your eyes at this, and it’s understandable, we hear this a lot. But have you actually done something actionable about this tip? When I got honest with myself, I sighed. I really needed a change.
The reality is: Many of us get comfortable with our own complacency that we are slow to change, or make no change. For example, you’ve accepted you are unable to get reasonable sleep, and you’ve built your life around that to accommodate that “truth.”
Now, sometimes we are in temporary situations where yes we can’t make a change. For example, new parenthood. However, I think many of us can identify physical/body health elements that we’ve slacked on. These impact; energy, focus, space and time for creative thought, research time, discipline, and good habits.
When we accept a bad habit, we are also accepting that we are able and allowed to make another bad habit. As a creative person, you’re often seeking new ideas and inspiration, “Why can’t I find it!” Is a phrase I used to ask myself mentally a lot. But I realized that a lot of my “ideas” and “inspiration” were buried under poor habits.
Poor habits take up more time in the long run then healthy habits.
Let’s look at an example. If you skip eating meals, you’ll start getting agitated, or your blood sugar will crash. You get hungry. Maybe the hunger strikes when you’re mid-paragraph in a profound thought or drawing. But you stop, get up, and abandon the thought.
Something else in the kitchen distracts you, and suddenly an hour goes away. You realize this, rush, grab something unhealthy, and head back to the writing element. You inhale your unhealthy snack.
And then get frustrated because not only did you forget your thought process/idea, but you feel guilty for eating your unhealthy snack, and you ruminate. Now you’re thinking about that, and you’ve completely derailed your energy. Then your body crashes again an hour later.
I want to say, by the way, unhealthy snacks are totally cool in moderation. But I find food-guilt and body goals are something many of us have to a capacity, so this is a common example. It overlaps a lot.
I’ve learned that is not a good enough reason because taking care of ourselves is productive, healthy and more important than your to-do list.
There’s going to be distractions you have zero ability to handle, prevent or monitor. We don’t need the most peaceful days, or perfect environments, to achieve something or be creative. Sometimes high stimulation helps people; such as in busy environments.
But I am talking about distractions. You know, the text messages. The phone is being picked up every 45-seconds. Music that works against you, not with you. Or even picking your workspace everyday (we’ll cover that more later).
Remember that the more you give into a distraction, or the more you accept its existence, you are picking that experience over your creativity.
By checking Instagram every two-minutes, you are telling yourself that it’s more important than your writing assignment.
Sure, maybe it’s more engaging, or relaxing, but is that your equivalent to important?
You might think, “OF COURSE!” But ask yourself, if you don’t finish your writing assignment or goal, is that going to make you feel better or worse at the end of the day?
Mark Twain famously said, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
Having a productive hierarchy has been my new crucial element in my workflow process.
Productive hierarchy is the process of assessing the weight, value and time of your tasks. This allows you to counterbalance them with specific parts of yourself.
For example, as someone with anxiety, and knowing I work better in the mornings, I will do my most laborious, stress-inducing tasks earlier in my day, then later. It gives me peace of mind during the rest of the day, and I work faster in the morning to get it done.
I know I also hit an energy slump around 2:00pm, so I’ll incorporate a relaxing break or a relaxing working session.
You can speed up your mind or slow it down with your body, like breathing; you don’t need to always “power through” everything.
You may be wondering, what is a relaxing task/working session?
This is something I’ve created, which may or may not work well for you. So experiment.
Essentially, I identify tasks that are very sumientry, or don’t require a ton of thinking space. For example, cleaning dishes, deleting emails, or scheduling social media posts.
Maybe I’ll put on an episode of my favorite show while I do this, or get a fresh cappuccino and sip while I work. Other times it’s a podcast episode, or taking fifteen minutes to read while a video exports.
Your lighter tasks are great opportunities to slow down. But it’s important to keep going if you can with the small tasks. These guys can add up throughout our week, then overwhelm us.
This is a game changer guys. For so long I was making a crucial mistake, and that was not investing time in refining my workspace. Before COVID-19, like many, I was handed a workspace, and I forced myself into it, and slowly adjusted it to serve me.
Most of us are working in a space that is losing our energy, focus and time.
But now, we’ve learned we can control our environments more, regardless if you’re back in the office or not. One of the biggest investments you can make in your goal/success journey is to invest money or time into your workspace.
This is like picking the soil before you plant. Having water available, it’s all crucial to growth and consistency.
If you don’t set reasonable expectations, or goals, you’ll never feel satisfied with your creative process.
Part of fleeting motivation, and energy to complete a task, does rest in understanding your goals well, and setting healthy goals.
In the above article we cover a mindset shift, and I would encourage you to indulge so that serves as your action.
Written by Sarah Edwards (@setapart_company), TPCT Project Coordinator.
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