It’s 6:00 in the morning – on a Sunday. The rest of my family is still asleep. It’s quiet and free from distraction – a rare thing. This is the type of solitude I relish in because it’s probably my favorite time to write. Like most parents, I can multi-task a lot of things but one thing I can’t multi-task (and do well) is creative productivity. I can’t write when there are constant interruptions. I can’t brainstorm when there’s noise.
Whether your creativity comes in the form of photography, writing, painting, sculpting or any number of other creative professions, knowing when to engage your creativity is a valuable skill!
When I’m sitting at my desk editing images, I don’t have a playlist going. I work best in absolute silence. There’s already so much going on in my head, I can’t handle any more input. Which of course means that if I don’t make dedicated time for productivity, I won’t accomplish anything.
I like to live life with a five minute rule: If something needs to be done and I can do it in five minutes or less, then I’ll do it right then. No procrastination.
It works for keeping my house clean, writing a quick email, practicing a bit of yoga, etc. But anything that needs more than five minutes can’t be done well in only five minutes so if five minutes is all I have, it’s best to skip it until I can dedicate more time.
Creativity is one of those things that takes more than five minutes. Sure, inspiration can strike anywhere and if it does, I hope you’ll have the good sense to write it down so you don’t forget (the Notes app on my phone is my secret weapon). But you’re unlikely to have the time to actually pursue that thought while you’re in line at the grocery store.
If you feel like you’re always “working” a creative process yet never really accomplishing your goals, I encourage you to take some time to evaluate how to set yourself up for success by discovering when the ideas flow most readily and when you are most receptive to them.
Creative expression doesn’t follow a nine to five. I can accomplish more in one hour during the early morning than in three hours during the afternoon. And knowing that means I don’t have to feel guilty if I use the afternoon to catch up on my favorite show.