Are Your Habits Helping or Hurting Your Creative Output?

Whatever your creative job or project, we all have habits that either help us or hurt us.  Some of us are highly disorganized – keeping us from staying on task.  Others can’t say NO – so they spend too much time doing what other people think is urgent and not what is really important.  Still others don’t protect their creative time.  They allow interruptions, phone calls, emails, and more to break up their focus.

You’d be shocked at the amount of time it takes to regain your concentration after an interruption.  Some research says 30-40 minutes is what it takes to get back to that same level of focus.  It won’t take many of those to wipe out your entire day.

That’s why you need to begin today making notes of all the things that keep you from hitting your creative “zone.”  Creative time is far more fragile than time you spend making phone calls, doing paperwork, in meetings or interviews.  Build a fence around it and protect it.  Otherwise, you’ll get to the end of your life without having accomplished your dream or left a legacy.

If all you do with your life is leave a trail of emails and iPhone messages, that does not constitute a life of significance.  

What habits HELP or HURT your creative output?

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  1. A couple of months ago I followed my best friends lead.  He doesn’t take phone calls (unless expected) nor answer emails until the afternoon, AFTER he’s finished with the days tasks.  It’s amazing how much more productive you are, putting this one simple discipline into your workday.

    That being the case, reading this and commenting has disrupted my flow for today. :o)

    1. Thanks for the interruption Joe!  I do something very similar.  My best creative time is in the AM, so I block that time as often as possible.  I can do phone calls, meetings, and other things later in the day…

  2. I’m not as bad as I used to be about this (age can teach you many things,) but my biggest problem was always one word- delegation. Getting to the point of admitting that someone else can do a job I thought only I could do. And while it may be true that it may not be done exactly like I would have done it, it was more than acceptable. I now live by the principle that if someone can do something at least 80% as well as I can, I delegate. That leaves me a tremendous amount of time to be far more creative in those things I’m best at. It’s not always easy, but it’s far more productive in the long run.

    1. Brilliant advice Ron.  Until one learns to delegate, he or she can never rise above their current situation.  Anyone who won’t release tasks because “they can do it better” is only limiting their potential and their future.  Thanks for posting…

  3. I am a junkie for “crossing things off the to-do list”. Consequently, I gravitate towards small tasks that I can complete quickly. Though I find most fulfillment from the more involved creative projects, committing to the “emotional labor” is sometimes/often a highly disciplined step.

  4. I am a “pencil sharpener” i.e., my non-productive office habits must be met before I can be productive…

    …but something always pops up.

    That’s why I’m writing this on my smartphone on the gym’s exercise bike…

  5. Wow Phil!   Thanks for revealing to me what I need to do in order to quickly put an end to those destructive habits that keep me from having creative time. It won’t be easy with family commitments; however, I am determined to: “Build a fence around it and protect it.’

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