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You Can Have A Creative Life If You Follow These Rules

You Can Have A Creative Life If You Follow These Rules
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We all want a creative life, but actually living one can feel like a challenge at times. The thing to remember though is that living a creative life is a habit more than anything else, and as with all habits there are certain rules you can follow that make sticking to it easy.

If you’re wanting to life a more creative life, follow these ten rules and you’ll soon find living a creative life to be easier than you imagined.

1. Learn to say no to things that don’t light you up

To live a creative life you need to be specific about what you do and don’t let into your life. By saying no to things that don’t light you up and excite you, you’ll be making room for the things that do. You can’t do everything, so make sure the things you are doing are the very best for you and your creativity.

2. Let curiosity guide you

Let your curiosity guide your creativity and really take the time to explore. Being creative is all about exploration and discovery, so let your imagination run wild and be open to the possibilities of what could be. You never know what amazing opportunities might come your way.

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3. Expect, accept & embrace your natural imperfections

Nothing is perfect, and neither is your creative work. It’s easy to fall into the trap of lamenting your imperfections but they are natural and completely normal. Creative work isn’t meant to be ‘perfect.’ It’s meant to be real and raw, made by a human being not by a machine. Embrace the imperfections in your work and you’ll see yourself flourish creatively.

4. Don’t compare yourself with others

Comparison can be a huge trap in living a creative life. The problem when you compare is that you’re not comparing like for like. When you compare your work, with all its known inconsistencies and struggles, to someone else’s carefully curated presentation of their work, you are comparing two completely different things. It’s simply not a fair comparison, and you will lose every single time. Remember your creative work is wonderful and unique just as it is, there is no need for comparison.

5. Make the space and time live a creative life

Living a creative life is easy when you have the time and space dedicated to make it work. Even if you work a full time job and live in a tiny apartment, you can still make a small time and space for your creativity. It might be as small as a simple desk in the corner of your lounge room and small daily commitment to show up and create.

6. Create a daily creativity habit and stick to it

There’s amazing power in forming a daily creativity habit, and it doesn’t need to be a huge time commitment either. If all you have time for is 30 minutes a day, start with that. Commit to a specific time of day every single day and make that your time to create. Schedule it in like an appointment and stick to it as part of your daily routine. There is amazing power in forming a daily habit, it’s time to start harnessing it for your creativity.

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7. Stop being your own worst critic

For all the criticism you might get from others, it’s quite likely that you are actually your own worst critic. Think about the way you’re talking to yourself about your creative work and consider whether it’s negative or positive. If you find it’s leaning towards the negative end of the spectrum, put an end to it by affirming some more positive thoughts. Your work is good enough, you have enough time and you will get there!

8. Keep learning

To live a creative life, it’s important that you never stop learning. There are so many great creators who have come before us and there is a lot you can learn from them. Whatever your particular creative field, make an effort to learn something new every week. It could be as simple as reading the story of a great creator in your field or as in-depth as learning a completely new style or technique. Learning keeps your creative mind active and your ideas fresh.

9. Expose yourself to new experiences

Living a creative life and creating every day means you need to expose yourself to new experiences. Drawing an idea from within during the creative process can be difficult at times, particularly when you are lacking experiences to draw from. Living is what informs your creativity. It is where you will draw your inspiration from and its importance cannot be underestimated. So get out there and do something new!

10. Keep showing up no matter what

If you want to live a creative life, you need to keep showing up and creating no matter what. We all have down days when we’re not feeling inspired but the most important thing to remember is that inspiration comes from doing. The more you show up and engage with creative work, the more inspired you’ll feel.

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11. Connect with a creative community

Creative community is so important. It will keep you on track, motivated, inspired and give you an amazing support system. If you want to live a creative life, find some creative people in your area to connect with.  They’ll be there for you to support and encourage you in your work, while you’re cheering them on with theirs too.

12. Don’t restrict yourself to one creative medium

Just because you consider yourself to be a writer, painter or designer, does not mean that’s all you should ever do.  If you’re feeling like you want to explore a new creative area then let yourself do that.  Living a creative life isn’t about pursuing one creative medium relentlessly, it’s about experimenting and finding what works.

13. Share your creative accomplishments

Always share your creative accomplishments with others! You’ve worked hard to get there and your good work shouldn’t go unrecognized.  Show off your creative work with pride.

14. Let your creativity evolve over time

Your creativity should be ever evolving, growing and changing. Don’t box yourself in just because you think your style or medium is all you should ever do. The magic of living a creative life is that you can steer it in any direction you choose. Let your creativity evolve with time, it might surprise you.

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15. Don’t forget to have fun (because creating is meant to be fun!)

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself, creativity is meant to be fun! Let your imagination run wild, experiment with different materials and when the pressure is getting too much, create something just for the fun of it. No goals, no pressure – just creativity running free!

Photo credit: Abby Lanes, Flickr, CC

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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