Archive for the 'Creative Time Management' Category

Push the Creativity Reset Button Every Day

I’m rerunning one of my most popular posts today (originally published August 16, 2012):

Has this ever happened to you? You’re determined to start writing or painting or pursuing another creative passion on a regular basis. So you sit down to treaty negotiations with your Muse, and the two of you draw up a plan: Your Muse agrees to visit you for half an hour before work every day to provide inspiration, and you agree to show up with paper and pen or paints.

The two of you sign and notarize the document, your Muse flits off to study the funky aardvark dance that’s sweeping Madagascar, and you give yourself a celebratory high-five in the mirror before going to bed feeling great.

Things work wonderfully for the first week. You set your alarm early, get up, and write or paint your heart out.

The next Sunday night, your cat has a hairball emergency requiring your middle-of-the-night supervision. Obviously, after all the midnight drama, you’re way too tired to get up the next morning and be creative. But that’s okay. You decide to write or paint for a full hour the next day.

On Monday night, however, after a late-night salami pizza with extra garlic and anchovies, you keep waking throughout the wee hours between disturbing dreams of monkeys juggling hamsters, and pigs in tuxedos giving speeches at state dinners.

Too exhausted to get up early Tuesday morning, you tell yourself you’ll just write or paint for an hour for the next TWO days. No problem. But the next morning, you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock. Really, can anyone be expected to get up at this ungodly hour? You see your Muse standing next to your bed, tapping her foot and looking put out, but you ignore her. For two mornings in a row.

The next day is Friday, and you really deserve a break – it’s been a tough week, what with all the hairballs and talking pigs. Not to mention the terrified hamsters. You’ll double down next week and catch up on all the creative time you missed.

Once Monday morning rolls around again, the amount of work you need to do to catch up seems so daunting that you bury your head under your pillow while your Muse screams into your ear. Finally, she gives up and flies away with a pout.

You’ve broken your Creativity Treaty. Your Muse is drowning her sorrows at the Muse Pub, and beginning to flirt with an artist who speaks in haiku while turning napkins into abstract art.

Meanwhile, you’re stuck under the covers. You wonder if you are even meant to be a writer/artist/musician. What were you thinking? You’re way too busy. The world seems set against you pursuing your creativity. You’re not really even a very good writer/artist/musician anyway.

This is when you need to push the Reset Button.

It’s time to text your Muse and ask her to come back and renegotiate. This time, include this clause in your treaty: “Every Day is a Restart.”

If you miss a day, you start fresh the next day. Do the already-planned 30 minutes that morning, not 15-and-a-half hours because you’re so far behind.

Because the thing is: You won’t do 15-and-a-half hours. And feeling that you should just adds creativity-killing pressure.

Creativity-killing pressure has been known to cause people to curl up into tense little balls while their Inner Critics hurl horrific insults at their tender insides. And creativity-killing pressure always frightens muses away.

But if you can treat every day as the first day of a new treaty, you lower the pressure on yourself and put a smile on your Muse’s face.

Muses love daily restarts. Because muses exist in the Now. Creativity exists in the Now. Every day is a fresh start. Every moment is a fresh moment.

So, hit the reset button, pick up your pen or brush, and start. Now.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

Advertisements

Push the Creativity Reset Button Every Day

Has this ever happened to you? You’re determined to start writing or painting or pursuing another creative passion on a regular basis. So you sit down to treaty negotiations with your Muse, and the two of you draw up a plan: Your Muse agrees to visit you for half an hour before work every day to provide inspiration, and you agree to show up with paper and pen or paints.

The two of you sign and notarize the document, your Muse flits off to study the funky aardvark dance that’s sweeping Madagascar, and you give yourself a celebratory high-five in the mirror before going to bed feeling great.

Things work wonderfully for the first week. You set your alarm early, get up, and write or paint your heart out.

The next Sunday night, your cat has a hairball emergency requiring your middle-of-the-night supervision. Obviously, after all the midnight drama, you’re way too tired to get up the next morning and be creative. But that’s okay. You decide to write or paint for a full hour the next day.

On Monday night, however, after a late-night salami pizza with extra garlic and anchovies, you keep waking throughout the wee hours between disturbing dreams of monkeys juggling hamsters, and pigs in tuxedos giving speeches at state dinners.

Too exhausted to get up early Tuesday morning, you tell yourself you’ll just write or paint for an hour for the next TWO days. No problem. But the next morning, you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock. Really, can anyone be expected to get up at this ungodly hour? You see your Muse standing next to your bed, tapping her foot and looking put out, but you ignore her. For two mornings in a row.

The next day is Friday, and you really deserve a break – it’s been a tough week, what with all the hairballs and talking pigs. Not to mention the terrified hamsters. You’ll double down next week and catch up on all the creative time you missed.

Once Monday morning rolls around again, the amount of work you need to do to catch up seems so daunting that you bury your head under your pillow while your Muse screams into your ear. Finally, she gives up and flies away with a pout.

You’ve broken your Creativity Treaty. Your Muse is drowning her sorrows at the Muse Pub, and beginning to flirt with an artist who speaks in haiku while turning napkins into abstract art.

Meanwhile, you’re stuck under the covers. You wonder if you are even meant to be a writer/artist/musician. What were you thinking? You’re way too busy. The world seems set against you pursuing your creativity. You’re not really even a very good writer/artist/musician anyway.

This is when you need to push the Reset Button.

It’s time to text your Muse and ask her to come back and renegotiate. This time, include this clause in your treaty: “Every Day is a Restart.”

If you miss a day, you start fresh the next day. Do the already-planned 30 minutes that morning, not 15-and-a-half hours because you’re so far behind.

Because the thing is: You won’t do 15-and-a-half hours. And feeling that you should just adds creativity-killing pressure.

Creativity-killing pressure has been known to cause people to curl up into tense little balls while their Inner Critics hurl horrific insults at their tender insides. And creativity-killing pressure always frightens muses away.

But if you can treat every day as the first day of a new treaty, you lower the pressure on yourself and put a smile on your Muse’s face.

Muses love daily restarts. Because muses exist in the Now. Creativity exists in the Now. Every day is a fresh start. Every moment is a fresh moment.

So, hit the reset button, pick up your pen or brush, and start. Now.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

Push the Creativity Reset Button Every Day

Has this ever happened to you? You’re determined to start writing or painting or pursuing another creative passion on a regular basis. So you sit down to treaty negotiations with your Muse, and the two of you draw up a plan: Your Muse agrees to visit you for half an hour before work every day to provide inspiration, and you agree to show up with paper and pen or paints.

The two of you sign and notarize the document, your Muse flits off to study the funky aardvark dance that’s sweeping Madagascar, and you give yourself a celebratory high-five in the mirror before going to bed feeling great.

Things work wonderfully for the first week. You set your alarm early, get up, and write or paint your heart out.

The next Sunday night, your cat has a hairball emergency requiring your middle-of-the-night supervision. Obviously, after all the midnight drama, you’re way too tired to get up the next morning and be creative. But that’s okay. You decide to write or paint for a full hour the next day.

On Monday night, however, after a late-night salami pizza with extra garlic and anchovies, you keep waking throughout the wee hours between disturbing dreams of monkeys juggling hamsters, and pigs in tuxedos giving speeches at state dinners.

Too exhausted to get up early Tuesday morning, you tell yourself you’ll just write or paint for an hour for the next TWO days. No problem. But the next morning, you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock. Really, can anyone be expected to get up at this ungodly hour? You see your Muse standing next to your bed, tapping her foot and looking put out, but you ignore her. For two mornings in a row.

The next day is Friday, and you really deserve a break – it’s been a tough week, what with all the hairballs and talking pigs. Not to mention the terrified hamsters. You’ll double down next week and catch up on all the creative time you missed.

Once Monday morning rolls around again, the amount of work you need to do to catch up seems so daunting that you bury your head under your pillow while your Muse screams into your ear. Finally, she gives up and flies away with a pout.

You’ve broken your Creativity Treaty. Your Muse is drowning her sorrows at the Muse Pub, and beginning to flirt with an artist who speaks in haiku while turning napkins into abstract art.

Meanwhile, you’re stuck under the covers. You wonder if you are even meant to be a writer/artist/musician. What were you thinking? You’re way too busy. The world seems set against you pursuing your creativity. You’re not really even a very good writer/artist/musician anyway.

This is when you need to push the Reset Button.

It’s time to text your Muse and ask her to come back and renegotiate. This time, include this clause in your treaty: “Every Day is a Restart.”

If you miss a day, you start fresh the next day. Do the already-planned 30 minutes that morning, not 15-and-a-half hours because you’re so far behind.

Because the thing is: You won’t do 15-and-a-half hours. And feeling that you should just adds creativity-killing pressure.

Creativity-killing pressure has been known to cause people to curl up into tense little balls while their Inner Critics hurl horrific insults at their tender insides. And creativity-killing pressure always frightens muses away.

But if you can treat every day as the first day of a new treaty, you lower the pressure on yourself and put a smile on your Muse’s face.

Muses love daily restarts. Because muses exist in the Now. Creativity exists in the Now. Every day is a fresh start. Every moment is a fresh moment.

So, hit the reset button, pick up your pen or brush, and start. Now.

DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE CREATIVE BURSTS WORKBOOK!
And receive free creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week.
CLICK HERE!   (To learn more, click here)

Creativity Time Management

I’m on vacation for a few days, so I’m offering one of my most popular posts:

Most creative people struggle with finding time to let our muses soar and still meet all our work, family and life responsibilities. I’ve tried so many different ways of organizing my schedule over the years. But what I always come back to, both when I worked in an office and with freelancing at home, is putting my creativity first. Doing something creative before I start writing for my clients, or paying bills or tweeting.

I found that getting up an hour earlier and writing first thing worked best for me when I had to commute downtown. Now that I freelance at home, I divide my work day into three blocks: creativity first, urgent work second and everything else third. These blocks can expand and contract depending on the day. On a busy deadline day, I may only spend 15 minutes journaling or sketching before getting to my freelance writing work. If I’ve just met a deadline and don’t have another one breathing down my neck, I may spend half a day on my writing. (Love those days!) I also make a point of sprinkling moments of self-care throughout my weeks: yoga, meditation, walks, 10-minute crazy-dancing breaks when I need them.

I don’t always succeed in organizing my day this way, but I often do. And I find the “Creativity First” model is the only schedule that keeps my creative mojo flowing. What works for you?

For some wonderful insights and advice on this topic, download Mark McGuinness’s free e-book, Time Management for Creative People. I highly recommend it.


Shape Your Week Creatively

I admit it. I’m a huge list maker. I like organizing. And once I’ve written something down, I can banish it from stalking through my mind, putting up traffic cones as creative thoughts try to flower and mate and turn into something whimsical or weird or beautiful.

But I sometimes find myself stressed out and overwhelmed by my lists. I tend to be a bit unrealistic about how much I can get done in a day. And I often forget to leave escape hatches for my muse when I write straightforward To Do lists.

So I like to experiment with different ways to manage my time. I generally hit on alternatives to To Do lists that work well for me for a while. But I’ve realized I won’t find one method that works for the rest of my life. Because as I evolve, I need to let my time management methods evolve as well.

Lately I’ve been using what I’ll call the cloud method, and it’s working well for me these days. So I thought I’d share it here.

The cloud page above illustrates a typical week. I create one of these every Sunday night or Monday morning, capturing my most important things for the upcoming week. I make a point of leaving off anything that doesn’t have to be done this week and keeping my descriptions simple. I leave blank space to fill in extra items that come up.

The two clouds at the top cover things I’ve committed to doing every day. The green Daily cloud reminds me of self-nurturing things I must do, while the purple Creativity cloud contains anything creative that’s striking my fancy this week. I probably won’t do all of these creative items, and I may add others as the week goes on.

The orange square in the middle covers my most urgent work for the week—things that must be done. This includes my freelance writing work as well as chores (paying bills, cleaning, etc.).

I pencil in e-mails, phone calls and social networking connections I need to make in the heart at the left, erasing them when I’m done to make room for new things that come up. My other clouds remind me of errands and dates, and there are always a few items that don’t fit neatly into a cloud that I list at the bottom.

This cloud page continues to evolve throughout the week, and by Sunday, I’ve added extra items in most of the clouds and in some of the surrounding areas.

What I love about this method for now is that it reminds me of my most important goals—those contained in the top two clouds, while keeping my urgent work and other commitments clearly in focus. I look at it each morning and tweak it to fit the week as it’s shaping up.

And, because I can’t quite get rid of all the longer-term To Do items that pile up in my mind, I do keep a long list that I look at each week when I create my cloud page. I enter any priority items into a cloud, then forget about the rest of the list until the next week.

I hope sharing my cloud page helps anyone struggling with unwieldy To Do lists or other organizational methods that may be hampering your creativity. I’d love to hear how you organize your days and weeks, and how you keep your creative goals in the mix when other items sometimes yell much louder…

Copyright © Sandy Ackers, Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World, http://www.stranglingmymuse.com

Just Don’t Do It

I found this fantastic “To Don’t” pad at a bookstore yesterday, and I think it shares a wonderful lesson through humor. I’ve filled in some items I plan to avoid in the next 24 hours. What can you put on your To Don’t List today?

Copyright © Sandy Ackers, Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World, http://www.stranglingmymuse.com

Creativity Time Management

Most creative people struggle with finding time to let our muses soar and still meet all our work, family and life responsibilities. I’ve tried so many different ways of organizing my schedule over the years. But what I always come back to, both when I worked in an office and with freelancing at home, is putting my creativity first. Doing something creative before I start writing for my clients, or paying bills or tweeting.

I found that getting up an hour earlier and writing first thing worked best for me when I had to commute downtown. Now that I freelance at home, I divide my work day into three blocks: creativity first, urgent work second and everything else third. These blocks can expand and contract depending on the day. On a busy deadline day, I may only spend 15 minutes journaling or sketching before getting to my freelance writing work. If I’ve just met a deadline and don’t have another one breathing down my neck, I may spend half a day on my writing. (Love those days!) I also make a point of sprinkling moments of self-care throughout my weeks: yoga, meditation, walks, 10-minute crazy-dancing breaks when I need them.

I don’t always succeed in organizing my day this way, but I often do. And I find the “Creativity First” model is the only schedule that keeps my creative mojo flowing. What works for you?

For some wonderful insights and advice on this topic, download Mark McGuinness’s free e-book, Time Management for Creative People. I highly recommend it.

Copyright @ Sandy Ackers, Strangling My Muse: Struggling to Live a Creative Life in a Stressful World, http://www.stranglingmymuse.com


Download a Free E-Book! Click on the Cover Below for your Creative Bursts Workbook

And get fun 15-minute creativity prompts delivered to your inbox twice a week

About Sandy Ackers

Sandy

Kaizen-Muse Creativity Coach and Writer.

To learn more about Sandy, click here: About Sandy

Connect With Me On Facebook:

Meet My Muse

Click here to read the post discussing my relationship with my somewhat pesky male muse.

Inspiration in your inbox:

Blog Archive

Total Hits:

wordpress analytics
wordpress analytics

Share This Blog

Bookmark and Share
Add to Technorati Favorites
Writing Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Copyright © 2009-2017 Sandy Ackers. All rights reserved, with the following exceptions:

Writers retain all rights to any comments, stories or other original work posted on this blog in the comments sections or the Readers' Sandbox.

Many of the photos on this blog are in the public domain. If you'd like to reproduce a photo, contact Sandy Ackers at the email address listed in the ABOUT section of this blog for information on whether the image is under copyright.

Reproducing, copying or distributing the writing on this blog without the express permission of the author is strictly forbidden.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

%d bloggers like this: