You hear it all the time, or maybe you don’t hear it enough, but your peak creative periods should be protected fiercely.
From other people.
We all work in cycles of high and low creativity and productivity, finding your rhythm takes time, patience and awareness. For some it comes without warning, for others it falls at the same time every day. Whatever the case, whenever it is your creative time, embrace it and don’t let things get in the way.
One of my high creative times is an hour or so after I wake up. Too often however I spend the first creative block of my day taking care of problems rather than creating. I answer emails, perform menial tasks, network (read: Twitter & Facebook), and squander that precious time for other people.
Instead I should be writing, sketching, designing, choreographing. I can fill my low creative time with tasks instead of feeling empty of creative energy.
Protect your creative time from distractions.
This means focusing. Close the door. Turn off the internet. Put the phone in the other room. Whatever it takes to remove distractions. For me it’s leaving the apartment, sitting at my favorite cafe with its pure white tables and walls, a nearly empty surface on which I place everything mindfully and putting in my earbuds (even if I don’t play any music on them).
Protect your creative time from other people.
Don’t answer email. Don’t fix problems that aren’t yours. Don’t manage other people. Don’t schedule your meetings or phone calls during these periods. Other people are important to share your creative works with, to spread your creative work, to engage with and give feedback but they are not helping you create.
Protect your creative time from yourself.
As many freelancers or solopreneurs will tell you, sometimes you are your own worst enemy. We sabotage our own creative time by not putting it at the top of our priority list. We put the needs of others, the distractions available to us, the needs of a business or the day to day tasks, above the act of creating.
Your creative time as an entrepreneur, a freelancer, a business owner, an employee is your most powerful and precious commodity.
Protect it like you would protect your own child, for that is what your creations are.
Thanks for the article. This is definitely something that I am guilty of. I spend the most engaged part of my day doing activities that require the least creativity. And I often find myself sapped of energy when I FINALLY get to the stuff that is of the most long-term value.
I’m going to work to correct that.
Financial Samurai says
Hmmm, my creative time is usually on the internet, but I will close the door and hide myself in my house.
I find 5am-8am is the best time to write (it’s 7:15am now on Sunday) before the masses wake up.
If everybody just spent 10 minutes a day in silence, brain storming some ideas, I’m sure we’d all come up with something incredible!
Adventure-Some Matthew says
I will be moving into a 2-bedroom apartment at the end of this month. It’ll be great, because that second bedroom is going to be an office/studio! I will have a dedicated space to create (whether that means digitally or painting/drawing). I can’t wait!
I find that my most creative times are about an hour after I wake up, and then in the early evening.
It’s always great to have a dedicated creative space. Having been on the road nearly all of last year and still not having a space of my own, I can vouch that without a constant space to work in and make your own studio is sometimes harder.
Good luck with your new space Matt!