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How to Use Those Noisy Creative Voices in Your Head to Succeed

How to Use Those Noisy Creative Voices in Your Head to Succeed


    Many creative people, in an effort to calm the voices in their head so they can be more productive and find joy, turn to meditation only to find themselves face to face with instructions with works like “calm” and “clearing” their mind.

    For many individuals this method can work. But what if it doesn’t work for you? What if you find that you are always cluttered with creative voices in your head and ideas that have no intention of going away? You might feel frustrated with so much head-noise and so many ideas floating around that you feel like a failure at your inability to stay on a single track for success.

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    If you belong to this group, there is no reason to panic!

    There are ways to work with your, let’s call it creative ADD, to boost your productivity and find your way to success; and not despite those noisy voices in your head and creative muses that seem to have taken up permanent residence in your head, but because of them.

    What you need to do is stop trying to follow the Zen-trend and longing for quiet creative production. In Psychology Today, Cultivating Creativity, author Dr. Lara Honos-Webb says:

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    “When an adult creates her own rules it’s called leadership.”

    Don’t clear your mind, fill your mind!

    We talk because we want people to listen. The voices in your head are talking because they want you to listen. The more you try and shut them up, the louder they will become, because they are, after all, you. When intense creativity is a big part of who you are, embrace the gift, forget what people will say about you, and take note of what you’re hearing inside because it will lead you to greatness. Stop trying to run from your internal clamor and really listen. Let your mind fill up with all the thoughts and strangeness and ideas.

    Find the meaning in the noise

    The more you listen to the creative goodness that is you, and the more you take big actions on behalf of your creativity, the better chance you have of getting your important work done. Think of it like walking into a party; noisy, countless conversations going on covering unconnected topics. You might catch a word or phrase that makes sense but mostly it’s just noise. And then you focus in on a single conversation. The words flow together in a way that has meaning. Then you drift to another conversation and another and by the end of the night you know what all the conversations were. When you focus on the party in your head and then pay attention without trying to banish anyone from the party, you will find meaning for yourself.

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    Take action

    Once you’ve begun the habit of actually listening to yourself, allot chunks of time where you are taking action on behalf of some of your ideas: start that book, write that weird post, doodle with crayons. Don’t take action at this point with an end in mind, rather take action as a way of honoring the voices in your head; as a way of honoring yourself. Feel free to jump from activity to activity.

    Now take bigger actions

    If you give yourself a few weeks of random actions in response to the ideas in your head, you will begin to find that there are creative impulses which come up repeatedly. These are ideas you should pursue because they are important to your creative self. Now take directed big actions; go all out. Write those 5 books, start that non-profit, or do at all once. Just keep doing!

    Your personal success

    When you have the gift of intense creativity it’s important to stop trying to “find yourself” by doing what others are doing. By honoring your inner creative voices, you give yourself the opportunity to get on a path to success that is personally meaningful to you, gives you more control, and is filled with your personal brand of creativity and passion.

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    Those voices? They are a good thing, after all.

    (Photo credit: Blank Speech Bubbles via Shutterstock)

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

    More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

     

    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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