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Creativity takes effort.
Some of my friends are surprised by how much effort it actually takes to publish daily, and marvel at how I’m able to pull off such a feat while running a business, serving clients, and making new products.
If you want to remain creative, stay inspired, show up daily, and crank out the work, it would be wise to adopt certain habits. Here are five I think are worthwhile.
I’m a big believer in reading. Because the human potential and capacity for learning is often underestimated. People regularly assume because they’ve reached some arbitrary age or stage in their life that they can no longer learn anything new.
Further, they also assume that it’s easier for kids to learn, which isn’t necessarily true. It’s just that kids don’t have any awareness of time yet!
A growing body of research indicates that reading literally changes your mind.
It goes onto explain that reading can help prevent age-related cognitive decline, reduce stress, alleviate depression, and even help you live longer.
Many creatives wrestle with anxiety and depression in some capacity and I even had an entire conversation about this on my podcast with Katie Zaccardi, who has it as her mission to empower women in music to ditch overwhelm, self-doubt, and burnout.
As you’ll see, several of the habits mentioned here don’t just help with creativity – they also help you stay in a better mood overall, which is where creative ideas tend to come more easily.
By engaging in the act of reading, you can learn something new daily. It’s easy, and if you want to invite new experiences into your life, it should be a priority.By engaging in the act of reading, you can learn something new daily. It's easy, and if you want to invite new experiences into your life, it should be a priority. Click To Tweet
My mentor, like me, is also an author. He said he journals often, as this is where ideas for his writing come from.
What you log today may seem of little consequence to you now. But if you were to come back to it a month, a year, or even a decade from now, you might look at what you’ve written and go, “what was I thinking?”
Those are the outlandish ideas that turn into timeless poems, songs, paintings, and so on.
As a creative, surely you know how important it is to capture your ideas before they are gone. Inspiration comes and goes, so if you aren’t ready for it, it can pass you by.
Journaling serves an important function in that sense, too.
I have often said that meetings are pointless unless you come away with something – be it a book recommendation you want to check out, an action item, an inspired idea, or otherwise. Here, too, your journal will prove immensely valuable.
There are many psychological benefits to journaling too. Nicola Knobel of My Inner Creative wrote about 11 reasons creative journaling is awesome for your mental health.
And to cap this section off, I’ll quote Bryan Collins, former Forbes contributor:
Journaling is a useful practice for writers, artists, musicians, and anyone engaged in creative work. It encourages capturing ideas and self-reflection, both key skills for creatives. It’s also a useful skill for entrepreneurs and busy executives, as it fosters clear thinking.
Creatives often report coming up with new ideas while they are “busy doing other things.” Walking certainly tends to fall under that category.
There are countless mental, emotional, and physical benefits to walking, and I have talked about them at length in some of my stories.
Going for a daily walk can improve your overall health significantly. If you can, walk for 30 to 60 minutes per day. Being in the sun is great for you, regardless of what the weather is like.
As you are walking, you will find that ideas flow more easily. But you will also find that your mind will start to organize itself, and you’ll gain more clarity and perspective on your current problems and challenges.As you are walking, you will find that ideas flow more easily. Click To Tweet
Business magnate Steve Jobs was said to conduct all his meetings while walking. Aristotle, Charles Dickens, Henry David Thoreau, Ludwig van Beethoven, and other famous thinkers were all said to have valued walking as well.
Again, I know many creatives who say ideas have hit them over the head while they’ve been showering.
It might seem inane to remind you of this, but in these strange, isolating, work from home days, it’s easy to become undisciplined and forgo the daily shower.
Hey, I get it. I’m guilty as sin.
But maybe it would be a good idea to shower every few days regardless, just so you can unplug from work, binge watching Netflix, or otherwise.
Medical News Today says the benefits of showering extend well beyond idea generation, though. They say it improves your immune function, eases muscle aches and pains, reduces swelling, increases blood flow, improves concentration, lessens fatigue, and makes it easier for you to breathe.
I can’t confirm or deny all that, but I can say for sure a hot shower is quite refreshing.
I understand that this might not even be an option right now depending on where you live. But I have found that being stuck in the same house for too long leaves me feeling sad and a little claustrophobic.
I also know that driving may be an environmental concern, and I’m not suggesting increasing your ecological footprint.
But going for a quick daily drive has helped me stay sane. On my short journeys, I will often just go to a drive-through and back, in search of a snack.
As with walking and showering, I have also found that ideas come a little more easily while you’re driving, and that’s another worthwhile benefit.
Further, getting outside, if and where possible, is a good idea. I’m not saying you shouldn’t stay safe, but if there is an opportunity, you should take advantage of it.
Even experts are saying driving is vital for mental health during COVID-19, and I tend to agree.
So, in summary, the five habits are:
If you’re struggling with generating ideas, these habits will help. They will also support your overall health, and it’s always easier to engage in creative work when you’re happy.
This list should not be considered comprehensive, as there are many other habits that can help you be more creative.
What have you tried that has worked for you?
Leave a comment and let me know.
Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.
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