Welcome to Part Two of Creativity and Me, and thanks for joining me again! This week I’m following up my last article with ways to combat the obstacles between you and creating. I’m going to focus on my big three: distraction, exhaustion, and options. So, let’s dive right in!
When it comes to distraction (at least on my phone), I’ve installed app blockers. I’ve set time limits on multiple apps and once my time’s up, I can’t do anything else until the next day. Now, I haven’t been so brave as to lock my settings to where I can’t go in and change a limit until the next day because I have decided I want more time. Plus, I’ve gone in and extended my time limits a time or two. But for the most part I follow the boundary. My time limit is thirty minutes for Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Chrome’s web browser. And it’s helped! I used to always hit my limit and see the blue screen pop up to tell me I’m done for the day. But these days I hardly ever reach that limit; I’d call that success. Since I know I have a time limit, I save it for when I know I’ll need a break. And, in the meantime, my mind starts thinking of other ways to fill my time-- how to practice creativity. So, find an app that works for you to limit the things you know you’re wasting time on. And play around with the restrictions. For example, my time limit excludes weekends. I found that I needed more time on those days because most of the time I’m using those apps for my creative work. Do what fits your schedule.
I battle with exhaustion in waves. Sometimes I’m great at pushing myself to do things when I’m tired and other times I ignore what I need to do in order to veg out with a favorite tv show. The funny thing is once I’ve set my boundaries like waking up at 6 am to write, my body adjusts. It forgets it’s supposed to be tired early in the morning. And suddenly, I’m excited to wake up and get started on what I have planned for the day. Those seasons are the best! However, as quickly as my body adjusts to the new early wake up, it reacts the same to when I decide I can sleep in due to circumstances forcing me up later the night before. And this throws me off until I find the will to get back on track again. In fact, I’m in this season now: January to midway through March I kept up with my schedule. Then something happened mid-March and here we are in May with me still not waking up early enough to work on what I want to. It’s no wonder I haven’t created much since then! All that to say, I haven’t perfected this yet. But you’ll be surprised what your body and mind can do when you just start. Start out easy by waking up earlier by fifteen minute increments until you get to the time you want. Or if it’s midday exhaustion that’s got you down, try the Pomodoro method. With this method, you set a timer for 25 minutes to focus on work, take a 5 minute break, do another 25 minutes, then have a longer 15 minute break before you repeat. This can help break up that overwhelming feeling that can lead to exhaustion because you have so many ideas you want to work on. Whatever your schedule, just remember: your body listens to you and is extremely adaptable, so start telling it the right things!
Ah, options. They are a great thing to have, but as Rachel Hollis says, “You can only focus on one thing at a time.” And I’m going to combine that with the concept of having multiple lines or projects. You may be able to focus only on one thing, but the fact that you are literally putting all your eggs in this one basket puts an enormous amount of pressure on you! It builds up the feeling that if this doesn’t succeed, you’re a failure. It stops you from maybe really getting it off the ground because you spend so much time planning for every possible outcome out of fear. Have multiple projects that you can fall back on. When one aspect of an idea fails, use that knowledge to grow your other projects. It’s a delicate balance of focus and flexibility. For example, right now I’m still figuring out how to make everything I want to do fit together. I’ve got this blog, my social media accounts, and I have several ideas for services I want to offer. I comfort myself with the thought that even if one thing doesn’t take off, I still have something else I want to try. Right now, I’m focusing on writing for this blog and growing my Instagram following. And it’s been such a relief to take the pressure off myself to have everything together and working in sync.
Now, that we’ve covered the problems of distraction, exhaustion, and options. I want to briefly touch on fear. God gave me the gift of creativity; He did not give me the burden of fear. God works all things for His good, even our failures. So, there’s no real need to be afraid of losing, not being good enough, or not being successful. God doesn’t measure us that way and neither should we. All we can do is use His gift the best way we know how with His help and see where it leads us. Harperanne may never grow outside my small circle. And honestly, I’m okay with that. I don’t mean to say I don’t want it to grow and impact people’s lives, but I”m happy where I’m at. And God’s gonna do what God’s gonna do. So, forget fear. It has no place here!