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The Artistry of Discipline

Discipline: Structured rituals to enhance Creativity

Woody Allen is famously quoted for saying that 80% of success in life is "showing up"

...Showing up for the work, that is.

While some may find this constant act weightful and stifling, to find a higher level of productive creativity it is essential to employ discipline.

Discipline is a set of imposed rules and behaviours that help us keep our energy and time focused on what is most important. It is an essential tool in making ideas happen; the application of centring routines does wonders in all aspects of our lives.

I am talking about the practice of habits that complement, not hinder, our creative process. The key is knowing ourselves, knowing our boundaries and to integrate discipline within our daily schedules in a way that works for us.

Studies have shown it takes thirty days to build a new habit– meaning you could be a month away from taking your creativity to the next level. Why not start now with these tips:

  1. Do the thing!

Starting steps can be as small as clearing off your desk or your space before you work each day. begin here.

2. Schedule

You can’t be a success and have a chaotic lifestyle. There must be aspects of order.

A weekly schedule, which maps out your daily activities between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm, can do the trick. Organized work always wins the day!

3. The List Routine

Creatives spend a few minutes plotting down any ideas that they might have into a sketchbook or diary, ideas that might inspire a new something later on.

The List routine not only ensures an organized tackling action but also lays the basis of creation:

  • A To-do list at the end of the day is a great way to finish up your day’s work and start up the next day right into the action without getting derailed from your main goals.

  • Write down whatever was left out the day before, ideas, insights, etc. assigning 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning of your day, every day to journal insights and/or ideas, sets up your creativity to be steady in the long run.

4. Time to do something else

  • Taking up classes in subjects that are different from our craft can give a fresh angle to our work, these spare time activities can be scheduled regularly into our routines to keep our interest revitalized, by trying something new that is creativity-related, we can help ourselves re-engage our work with broader insights.

  • It is okay to say “no”. Please learn how to say ‘no,’ if you haven’t already. It is necessary because doing too much can overwhelm us and eventually by taking every project that comes our way, the quality of what we produce or give may begin to diminish.

  • Scheduling time to do nothing is a cornerstone habit. In this sense, it’s necessary to take a break from our work because we need to experience things in life and hopefully become inspired by them to become better creators.

5. Work, work, work

Coming back to Woody Allen’s quote, the best piece of advice will always be to work hard. It’s easy to talk the talk and then not produce anything when push comes to shove.

Nine out of ten times hard work trumps skill and talent. I know a lot of talented individuals who are not doing much with their lives.

We can’t expect success to just fall into our lap, but we can cultivate working toward it by putting ourselves in the right mindset and that too, is achievable with a discipline of its own.

Jennifer Zea for The Creative Workshops Blog

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