“Simplicity boils down to two steps: Identify the essential. Eliminate the rest.” - Leo Babauta
THE PROBLEM WITH PRODUCTIVITY
One of the most difficult aspects of creativity to cope with is that creativity and productivity doesn't always work the way you want it to.
Why is this?
Because creativity isn't always a linear process.
It comes and goes, it has peaks and troughs, success and failures.
So, how do you build a routine and optimise your life to maximise your creative output?
Many people fail at habits because they don't create the habits and environments that distract them enough.
If the time you've scheduled and the work you do isn't enough to distract you from actually procrastinating then you need to work on creating better habits.
START SMALL. WORK EVERYDAY
I know of many people who have been guilty of not working at something every day and as a result their project becomes a long and difficult task (sometimes taking years!).
They think that they can wait until inspiration strikes or that the muse will provide them ideas in her own time.
As Steve Pressfield write in his book 'The War of Art', “The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”
Because they don't work at it everyday, procrastination, rather than work, has become the norm. It has become the habit. It has become comfortable to be unproductive.
Their work isn't distracting enough.
This is not about finishing a task - that can wait.
This is about working at something consistently.
Creativity and productivity has to become more appealing than distraction. Habit-building often fails because habit-forming itself is an accomplishment.
GIVE YOURSELF A DIGITAL MAKEOVER
Notifications from email, Facebook, Twitter, etc., I think most people would agree, are probably one of our greatest distractions.
Unless your work involves customer communication, they can demand and claim much needed attention, time and concentration.
Switching between tasks and notifications takes time and energy.
Research has shown that it takes around 25 minutes to get back to focusing on a task after being distracted.
Which app do you spend most time on on your smartphone? I'll almost guarantee it's Facebook.
But, if you own both a desktop computer and smartphone, do you really need the Facebook app on your phone?
And vice versa; do you really need log into Facebook and email so often on your desktop if you have a smartphone?
Try making your smartphone "less smart". Delete your social media apps, if only for a few hours.
Remove Facebook from your bookmarks bar on your desktop.
Turn off email notifications
Turn on Silent (or Airplane) mode, unless it's essential for your work.
Log out of apps, rather than just close them.