In your ruthless quest for efficiency don’t eject what is effective — like I almost did.
Do you do this?
You come to your work space. You set your bag down. You move items on your desk, just so. You prune your work surface the way bonobos harvest nits from body hair.
Pen, planner, sacred rock, work station, you want it perfect before you launch into your creative work.
I eleminated this fliff fluff by doing the setup the night before. This way I could come to my desk al dente, ready to bite into my project! Oh, had I ever outsmarted my distracting ways. No more would I fritter precious minutes while arranging and sorting. Nay. I would leap like a rock wallaby and ascend that much faster to my creative peak.
I’ve got a tight timeframe to write in the early morning. Forty-five minutes at best most mornings, before I dash off to the gallery. So it felt important to open that creative work window a bit wider.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
When I leapt straight into work something odd happened. Nothing. Nothing happened. Lots of nothing in fact.
It turns out the get-started ritual is a powerful trigger. It’s a step-by-step auto hypnosis. When I come to the desk and clear the space, I’m clearing my mind. When I put items in place — the laptop, my notes, my phone off to the side — I’m turning on the parts of my brain that sparks lightning.
It’s like revving an engine. You can’t do that till you’ve unlocked the car, strapped in, started her up, engaged the gear shift, hit the gas.
That’s the efficacy of repetition. I’ve repeated those simple preparatory steps so often that by the time I’ve booted up the laptop my brain is primed to produce. And it gets right to work.
It’s like a horse let loose from its stall after anticipating release — yet having to wait for the fumbling owner to slide open the barn doors, amble to the pen, unlatch the gate…. It will dash for it once allowed.
Without the hypnotic pre-work actions my focus just isn’t there.
A note for you: If you’re having difficulty launching into your creative work, maybe you need to find ways to ease into it.
If an artist, simply make marks — on paper, on canvas, on board — till your creative self engages.
If a writer, maybe it’s writing 3 paragraphs as fast as you can about whatever.
If you’re not engaging with your work soon after starting, consider crafting a satisfying ritual to ease your way into your work — something that slows your everyday persona down and allows your creative side to take the reins.
A get-started ritual could be the key to your best work. Your consistent best work.