I have so enjoyed sharing with you on the topic of creativity and today I thought it might be good to explore what holds us back from the most creative life we could be leading.
We are such a connected people now, it is impossible to not know everything thanks to social media. As you explored in August with Sarah Mae, disconnecting from our phones and social media can be so rewarding in so many ways. Not only does it improve our family and friendships to be truly present in those moments, it is also can improve your creativity.
I can point directly to the things that hold me back from my creativity; they are social media and my own comparison of me to others in the creative space.
I remember when Pinterest first hit the scene; I was obsessively checking it and comparing my projects and images to others in my field. How could I possibly crank out anymore then what I was doing? How would my pictures ever be that good? How could I ever produce anything original if my vision was always clouded by the projects of others? When I attended a conference and had dinner with two other bloggers I truly admired, I asked them, “Don’t you hate how much time you have to spend on Pinterest? Isn’t it so hard to come up with anything original?” They looked at me bewildered and said that they don’t spend time there. They had outsourced it to their assistants or they just shared through other sites, never visiting the site itself and seeing the other people’s projects. What the heck?! No wonder they were more assured in their work than I was.
If you participated in tracking your time this week, I am sure you can see what is robbing you of your creativity, all written in front of you in black and white.
Some of our creativity robbers may seem like things we can’t help.
- I have to make my family meals to stay on budget.
- I have to drive my kids to school and activities.
- I have to keep up with my home.
What a snore, right?
Other creativity robbers are things we have put upon ourselves.
- I have to obsessively check Facebook and see what my friends are up to.
- I have to scroll mindlessly through Instagram repeatedly throughout the day.
- I have to keep checking my email to see if a new message has arrived every five minutes.
- I have to watch hours of hilarious YouTube videos.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Here are two things I would love to explore: One is, how can I continue being creative in things that I have to do? The second is, how can I establish boundaries on my poor habits that are robbing me of my creativity?
In the case of the things that we HAVE to do, creativity can still be fostered, but they require…you guessed it, CREATIVITY.
I have to make my family meals to stay on budget. Staying on budget requires creativity already—look at you demonstrating your creative skills! Be sure to tell your family to thank you for it. When you make a beautiful meal, you can add your own creative touches to the table or to the dish that give you a chance to demonstrate your creative skills.
I have to drive my kids to school. On the way back, could you listen to a podcast on other creatives on that might inspire your own creativity?
I have to keep up with my home. Routines are an essential part of leading a creative life. Waking early and tackling the hardest tasks firsts will free up more time to be creative. Consider listening to a memoir or biography on someone you admire in the creative space and see if it can spark you in your own creative life.
The second, and I think harder task, is to establish boundaries on creative robbers. As you can see, mine all lie within technology. I am showing off my poor habits to teach you. Here are some ways that I have been able to establish boundaries on these things for myself:
I have to obsessively check Facebook and see what my friends are up to. I am THE WORST about this. I feel like I need to be a cheerleader to everyone, but it robs me of my creative time. I added an extension to my web browser called, Kill News Feed (I am linking to the Chrome version, but you can also get one for your other browsers). What it does is it turns the News Feed off so I can do my work that I need to on Facebook for my job, but I don’t see anything else. This is exactly what it looks like. This has helped give me back so much time during my day!
I have to scroll mindlessly through Instagram repeatedly throughout the day. I really don’t need to do this and what happens when I am on this downward spiral? I begin comparing myself and my creative story to someone else’s. I turned off all notifications, to prevent interruptions, and I only allow myself fifteen minutes to scroll at a time.
I have to keep checking my email to see if a new message has arrived every five minutes. Nothing typically is going to happen if I don’t answer an email right when I receive it so I am trying to check my email three times a day (at specific times) and I must check it at my computer. I also only open my email when I have time to take action on it. If I can’t do anything with it (when I am playing at the park with my kids, for example), then opening it robs me of creative space in my head and creates a cloud of anxiety over me that is unnecessary.
I have to watch hours of hilarious YouTube videos. This needs to be my reward sometimes for a day of working hard. I don’t need to interrupt the flow of my day to do it though so I try to time my hilarious videos with eating lunch or my afternoon coffee.
ACTIVITIES & QUESTIONS
- What is robbing you of your creativity and how can you address it? Do you need to approach a necessary task with more creativity? Or do you need to break a bad habit to make room for creativity?
- How can you use things like the internet and social media to enhance your creativity rather than to take away from it?