You make yourself a priority when you stop focusing on noise, and start focusing on your inner landscape. You can’t grow as a creative as long as you’re spending your energy and attention on things out of your control.
It’s hard to fill your creative well or level up to the next best version of yourself if you’re constantly distracted and hindered by the external world.
This article discusses the reasons you want to make yourself a priority throughout your day and how you can start doing that right now for joyful creative living.
Let’s hop to it!
STARTING YOUR DAY ON A “YOU” NOTE
What is the first thing you do when you wake up? Do you lie in bed for a few indulgent moments, stretch lazily, feel grateful for another beautiful day, and think about the coffee you’re going to have in just a few moments?
Or are you immediately “On” and you check your phone to see what notifications came in while you slept, what’s happening in the news, who liked your latest IG post?
How we start our day sets a critical tone for everything that follows. When we reach for our electronic devices before we’ve even nourished our spirits, what do you suppose we’re training ourselves for?
Starting our day with electronic devices (or any kind of force from the external world) means we oil our gears with reports and moods from the outside world. We’re starting our day based on something that has nothing to do with us, personally, and yet it becomes the foundation of our day.
Five Reasons Starting Our Day with Noise is Detrimental
- Our electronic devices train us to focus on the external world for gratification, sustenance, and sense of belonging. We become addicted to the way the information is delivered to us, and with this “push a button to learn more” culture, our electronic devices are like fast-food restaurants for our minds.
- We train ourselves to let distractions dictate our schedule, rather than setting specific periods of time to catch up on the news or social media. When you do scroll through social media, are you able to get off within five minutes, of your own accord? Or is it really difficult to put the phone down? Starting your day with an activity that has a never-ending feed only makes it more difficult to get your day started on time and productively.
- More often than not, you’re going to read something negative because that’s the nature of social media. News outlets are designed to give us the most dramatic, negative, and “need to know more” headlines and links to keep us reading, keep us clicking, until we’re down the rabbit hole with Alice.
- Because we have no control what we’ll run into when we’re on our devices, we run the risk of reading or seeing something that we’re not prepared for, and that can completely throw us off our game. Our moods are shaped by our thoughts, and our thoughts are easily generated from our experiences.
- We condition ourselves to be ruled by outside influences. We can’t start our day until we look at our phone. This can set us up for the same excuse throughout the day—we can’t end our lunch break until we check Facebook. We can’t dive into our creative project until we read the news. It won’t matter that we set up a morning routine or a fantastic set of habits if we can’t control our urge to pick up the phone just because it’s sitting there.
THE MIDDAY SLUMP
It’s easy to want to reach for the phone or check your email during your midday slump. This is a time of day when your creative energy is low and you’re lagging. The danger, when performed often enough, is you can condition yourself to manufacture slumps just so you can say, “Well, crap, the creative juices aren’t flowing right now. Might as well see what’s happening on Twitter.”
You must find your pivot point.
End whatever task you’re doing and take fifteen minutes to move your body. Dance, walk, weed the garden, wash dishes, prep dinner. Something that gets you out of whatever was dragging you down.
Physical movement encourages creative movement. Once you’re refreshed, return to your creative project. Are you able to bust through that block? More often than not, you’ll be successful.
Two main reasons you’ve hit a midday slump:
- Could be what I call your “witching hour” when energies just go haywire. You simply need to step away from your current activity/project, refresh by moving your body, then return to the activity/project.
- Could be the task is dragging you down. Re-evaluate the task. If this is a common occurrence, it might be worthwhile to move that task to another time where your energy is higher.
You want to schedule tasks/projects that align with your energy levels. I write first thing in the morning. That’s a high creative time for me and I’m never interrupted, so potential for distraction is really low.
I save tasks that don’t require a lot of brainwork when my energy is low and my day is clogged with stuff. This is the time I check emails and social media or create graphics in Canva.
Using a Goal Sheet to Boost Your Mindset
Setting daily goals boosts your mindset because you’re putting energy into things important to you. Not wasting your energy on time-sucks like scrolling through endless feeds on Tik Tok.
Keeping a record of your goals you’ve accomplished sets you up to accomplish bigger goals because you’ll see the path you’re making. You’ll also feel good about the wins you’re collecting.
You can easily draft a goal sheet on a piece of notebook paper:
-Write out your “MUST” goals first, and plug them into the hours of your day. Hint: one of your MUST goals should be “CREATIVE SESSION”.
-Write out your “BONUS” goals next, and add them in to other areas of your day. Hitting bonus goals in addition to the non-negotiable goals will help you veer into the zone of productivity. You aren’t just doing the bare minimum here; you’re making the most of your day.
-Next, ask yourself some questions to be sure you’re picking the best goals for the day.
- Purpose of this daily goal in relation to the week:
- Natural creative forces to help me achieve my goal:
- Potential blocks/distractions:
- How will I overcome them?
- What do I need support with?
ENDING YOUR DAY ON A “YOU” NOTE
How do you top off your evening? I’m mainly referring to the final hour before you turn off the light for bedtime.
Do you realize that this hour before sleep is prime time to fill your creative well? You have the opportunity to strengthen and enlighten your mindset, which will also give you a better chance at having a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling good.
But it depends on what you’re filling your mind with prior to bedtime.
-avoid television or your phone or anything with a screen
-if you like to read, try choosing light poetry, personal or spiritual development, or inspirational content
-script your next best version of yourself
-journal four pages of things you’re grateful for
-recite positive affirmations or mantras
While devices aren’t the only external factor that lures us away from nourishing our inner landscapes, they’re the main source of our distress. You don’t need to ban electronic devices from your life, but try to limit its influence on your daily schedule. Small doses to start will make a big impact overall. Try it and let me know how it goes!