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10 Things You Probably Do That Block Your Creativity

10 Things You Probably Do That Block Your Creativity

If you’re wanting to live a creative life but feel something is holding you back, you’re probably right. And guess what? It’s most likely you. That’s right, for all the obstacles you feel are in your way and block your creativity, it’s often the things you say to yourself that have the biggest impact and keep you stuck.

Today I’d like to share with you 10 things you probably say to yourself that block your creativity.

1. I’m Not an Expert in My Creative Field, So I Don’t Feel Ready to Put Myself out There.

You don’t need to be an expert to put yourself out there. All you need is a unique point of view, and you already have that; we all do. Your creative work is special and ready to share with the world, so stop holding back. You’re already expert enough.

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2. I Don’t Believe in Myself as a Creative Person.

The most powerful thing you can do for your creativity is to believe. When you don’t believe in what you’re doing it shows, and you sabotage your own work in the process. If you want others to believe in your creative work, you need to believe first.

3. I Feel Like It’s Not the Right Time Yet, But I’m Not Sure When it Will Be.

There’s never a perfect time, and if you wait for one you might be waiting your entire life. You can never know for sure when the best time will be, but the truth is the sooner you put yourself out there and start sharing your creativity, the quicker you’ll learn what you need to know to live your ideal creative life.

4. I’m Afraid Things Won’t Work Out.

You can never know if things will work out or not. But you need to trust yourself and believe that what you’re doing is worthwhile enough that whether you succeed or fail, it will be an experience well spent. Life is all about pursuing great experiences, and your creativity is something worth pursuing regardless of the eventual outcome.

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5. I Think About My Past Failures and They Rule My Thoughts.

Constantly rehashing past failures is a sure way to get yourself down. If you’re stuck in the past, it can be very difficult to move forward. Let your past failures be in the past. They taught you valuable lessons that you’ve learnt from. But they don’t need to live in your now.

6. I Don’t Think I’m As Talented As Other People.

Comparing yourself is dangerous because when you compare you are not comparing like for like. You’re comparing someone else’s highlight reel (the very best presentation of their work) to your work in its entirety, warts and all! What looks average to you will often look amazing to others from the outside; it all depends on your perspective.

7. I Am Scared My Friends and Family Will Judge Me and My Work.

Our friends and family usually mean well, but sometimes their judgement can feel harsh. Whether it’s disapproval of your creative life choices, a perfectionist parent who picks at every imperfection, or a friend who thinks they know it all, comments from friends and family can really get you down. Often one bad comment can scar us for years, but it’s important to remember that most people will be encouraging and accepting of your creative work. As for the rest? Ignore them. They likely have their own issues at play.

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8. I Feel Like I Will Make Mistakes If I Start Now.

We all make mistakes. And no matter how long you spend preparing yourself to start, mistakes will still be made. Mistakes are an inevitable part of the learning process. Go easy on yourself, and decide that it is ok to make a mistake.

9. I Feel Guilty When I Do Creative Work Because It’s Not Productive.

If your creativity isn’t making you money and something else is, it’s easy to feel guilt over doing your creative work because it isn’t productive enough. But you know what’s more important than productivity? Your happiness. Don’t let the pursuit of productivity rule your life. Start living and doing what you love because that’s what really matters.

10. I Need to Know All the Answers Now Before I Start.

You can never know all the answers before you start. No matter how much research and preparation you do, things will pop up that you never could have imagined. When you search for answers before you start, you are really just estimating what you need to know. To get most of the answers, you need to just dive in and start. There’s no other way to find them.

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Can you relate to any of all of these? Do you think saying some of these things to yourself might block your creativity and keep you stuck? Share your experiences of things that block your creativity in the comments below.

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Last Updated on May 20, 2019

How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

How to Prevent Inaction from Leading to Regret

Time.

When you think of this construct, where do you see your time being spent?

As William Shakespeare famously wrote “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me…”

Have you used your time wisely? Are you where you want to be?

Or do you have unfinished goals to attain… places you want to be, things you still need to do?

The hard truth is, that time once passed cannot be replaced–which is why it is common to hear people say that one should not squander time doing nothing, or delay certain decisions for later. More often than not, the biggest blocker from reaching our goals is often inaction – which is essentially doing nothing, rather than doing something. 

There are many reasons why we may not do something. Most often it boils down to adequate time. We may feel we don’t have enough time, or that it’s never quite the right time to pursue our goals.

Maybe next month, or maybe next year…

And, before you know it, the time has passed and you’re still no where near achieving those goals you dream about. This inaction often leads to strong regret once we look at the situation through hindsight. So, take some time now to reflect on any goal(s) you may have in mind, or hidden at the back of your mind; and, think about how you can truly start working on them now, and not later.

So, how do you start?

Figure Out Your Purpose (Your Main Goal)


The first important step is to figure out your purpose, or your main goal.

What is it that you’re after in life? And, are there any barriers preventing you from reaching your goal? These are good questions to ask when it comes to figuring out how (and for what purpose) you are spending your time.

Your purpose will guide you, and it will ensure your time spent is within the bounds of what you actually want to accomplish.

A good amount of research has been done on how we as humans develop and embrace long-term and highly meaningful goals in our lives. So much so, that having a purpose has connections to reduced stroke, and heart attack. It turns out, our desire to accomplish goals actually has an evolutionary connection–especially goals with a greater purpose to them. This is because a greater purpose often helps both the individual, and our species as a whole, survive.

Knowing why it is you’re doing something is important; and, when you do, it will be easier to budget your time and effort into pursuing after those milestones or tasks that will lead to the accomplishment of your main goal.

Assess Your Current Time Spent

Next comes the actual time usage. Once you know what your main goal is, you’ll want to make the most of the time you have now. It’s good to know how you’re currently spending your time, so that you can start making improvements and easily assess what can stay and what can go in your day to day routine.

For just one day, ideally on a day when you’d like to be more productive, I encourage you to record a time journal, down to the quarter hour if you can manage. You may be quite surprised at how little things—such as checking social media, answering emails that could wait, or idling at the water cooler or office pantry —can add up to a lot of wasted time.

To get you started, I recommend you check out this quick self assessment to assess your current productivity: Want To Know How Much You’re Getting Done In A Day?

Tricks to Tackle Distractions

Once you’ve assessed how you’re currently spending your time, I hope you won’t be in for too big of a shock when you see just how big of an impact distractions and time wasters are in your life.

Every time your mind wanders from your work, it takes an average of 25 minutes and 26 seconds to get into focus again. That’s almost half an hour of precious time every time you entertain a distraction!

Which is why it’s important to learn how to focus, and tackle distractions effectively. Here’s how to do it:

1. Set Time Aside for Focusing

One way to stay focused is to set focused sessions for yourself. During a focused session, you should let people know that you won’t be responding unless it’s a real emergency.

Set your messaging apps and shared calendars as “busy” to reduce interruptions. Think of these sessions as one on one time with yourself so that you can truly focus on what’s important, without external distractions coming your way.

2. Beware of Emails

Emails may sound harmless, but they can come into our inbox continuously throughout the day, and it’s tempting to respond to them as we receive them. Especially if you’re one to check your notifications frequently.

Instead of checking them every time a new notification sounds, set a specific time to deal with your emails at one go. This will no doubt increase your productivity as you’re dealing with emails one after the other, rather than interrupting your focus on another project each time an email comes in.

Besides switching off your email notifications so as not to get distracted, you could also install a Chrome extension called Block Site that helps to stop Gmail notifications coming through at specific times, making it easier for you to manage these subtle daily distractions.

3. Let Technology Help

As much as we are getting increasingly distracted because of technology, we can’t deny it’s many advantages. So instead of feeling controlled by technology, why not make use of disabling options that the devices offer?

Turn off email alerts, app notifications, or set your phone to go straight to voicemail and even create auto-responses to incoming text messages. There are also apps like Forrest that help to increase your productivity by rewarding you each time you focus well, which encourages you to ignore your phone.

4. Schedule Time to Get Distracted

Just as important as scheduling focus time, is scheduling break times. Balance is always key, so when you start scheduling focused sessions, you should also intentionally pen down some break time slots for your mind to relax.

This is because the brain isn’t created to sustain long periods of focus and concentration. The average attention span for an adult is between 15 and 40 minutes. After this time, your likelihood of distractions get stronger and you’ll become less motivated.

So while taking a mental break might seem unproductive, in the long run it makes your brain work more efficiently, and you’ll end up getting more work done overall.

Time is in Your Hands

At the end of the day, we all have a certain amount of time to go all out to pursue our heart’s desires. Whatever your goals are, the time you have now, is in your hands to make them come true.

You simply need to start somewhere, instead of allowing inaction waste your time away, leaving you with regret later on. With a main goal or purpose in mind, you can be on the right track to attaining your desired outcomes.

Being aware of how you spend your time and learning how to tackle common distractions can help boost you forward in completing what’s necessary to reach your most desired goals.

So what are you waiting for? 

Featured photo credit: Aron Visuals via unsplash.com

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