Are you creatively stuck? Do you get bored easily? Are you searching for a daily routine to feed your inner artist? Well if you are, look no further.
I have been a big fan of daily routines for a while now. From waking up earlier in the morning and writing while my brain is still in that in-between state of being creatively malleable to working out daily. My appreciation for daily habits and routines began once I started to juggle more things in my day-to-day life.
I felt like I wasn't giving all the things in my life equal attention. It wasn't balanced. My relationships seemed surface level, my workout was non-existent, money had me stressed. Passion projects were fueled by anxiety rather than love, and I felt artistically complacent.
One night after I listened to an episode of The Model Health Show it all instantly made sense. I was letting my life control me not the other way around. I allowed for my work on set to define the structure of my days. Now anyone who has been on set, even as a background actor, knows how long anything on a film set takes. It can take 8-hours to film a thirty minute episode or 19-hours to film a thirty second fight scene! Its an inescapable process that leaves its parts exhausted, anxious, nervous, scatter-brained, and at the mercy of someone else's beckoning call.
Sound familiar? I realized that a daily routine was the exact thing missing from my life. I had the work ethic, passion, and drive to follow it through—I guess I was waiting for someone to help me realize it was structure I lacked. Once it dawned on me, here's what I came up with.
Go To Bed Early
We've all heard the war stories of pulling an all nighter, you might be guilty of having pulled one last night. Studies show that pulling all nighters are actually detrimental to your brain, mood, productivity, and overall health. They have also been proven to not be a successful method for retaining information because the hippocampus (the area of the brain where short-term memory turns into long-term memory) thrives on sleep. So if you think you're learning anything at 4:30 in the morning you're in for a rude awakening.
In college I was duped into thinking that pulling all nighters must be the tried and true method of studying and writing. The truth was I barely completed the papers and assignments this way. Worst of all, I was a ZOMBIE the following day.
The best way to avoid pulling all-nighters is to set a time to be in bed, lights out. If you're an early riser say 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. start winding down by 10 p.m. and get in bed by midnight. That still gives you 14 hours of productivity with 7 to 8 hours of sleep, which is the recommended amount of sleep adults should get.
Studies show that blue-light emitting stimuli a.k.a phones and computers too close to your bedtime actually adds hours on to the amount of time it takes to fall asleep due to a suppressed release of melatonin. Skip the late night stalking to plan your next day, journal, take a warm shower, or my personal favorite...tackle all those books you are currently in the middle of.
You'll surprise yourself with the amount of high quality things you will accomplish by getting good sleep every night and waking up early. It will make the difference between the artist you are, and the artist you want to be.
The 30-minute Rule
We have a tendency as humans to want to tackle one thing until completion, however long it takes. This is due to many factors, one of the most common reasons being procrastination. And guess what??
Your inner-artist is screaming at you because you haven't done anything creative. There is a solution to this lack of preparation and cramming mentality. First, get a white board schedule planner—it works wonders—the second thing is start utilizing The 30-minute Rule.
The 30-minute Rule is inspired by The Pomodoro Technique which states that people can get a lot more done during the day if they break their days into 30 minutes segments and set 1 task that needs to be completed into those 30 minutes. However, unlike The Pomodoro Technique, our technique focuses on timing everything— even your breaks.
By actually timing yourself, you will see that most tasks can be done in less than 30 minutes, but because of our over stimulated lives these tasks balloon past thirty minutes and could take hours or worst days to complete.
Doing the laundry or working out may take longer than thirty minutes and it's ok to see those tasks out to their full time. Don't be that person who leaves their laundry in the dryer all day, you will find it on top thinking, "Who handled my underpants?" However, it is important to consider these tips into your routine:
- Tackle your biggest project of the day, first. This can also be your passion project. The amazing feeling of having your passion project done and out of the way before the world wakes up is a great feeling.
- Don't immediately put yourself in reaction mode by checking email and social media the moment you wake up. Allow yourself to slowly wake up with some lightly stretching and plenty of water.
- 30 grams of protein for breakfast—again try not multi-tasking—just give yourself 10-15 minutes of unfettered breakfast/thinking time.
- Force yourself not to waste hours of your day scrolling through Instagram. Block off a time for that.
- F.o.c.u.s- Following One Course Until Success (for thirty minutes.)
When you properly allocate time for everything—so that none of your time during the day is being wasted—the more you will get done and the more successful you will feel. Period.
Have A Spontaneous Spirit
You may be reading this and saying to yourself, "I already have a routine and it's working really well."
To that I say, "Congratulations, but would you like to take it a step further?"
Ever hear the phrase "Been there, done that" or the more common one "I feel stuck?" They both come from feeling a lack of spontaneity in our daily lives. We are constantly trying to chase that impulse as humans and even more so as artists.
So I've been experimenting with this technique of creating a daily routine for certain days of the week, that way my days don't feel conventional and my artistry is reinvigorated everyday.
As you can see above the structure of my days remain relatively the same. Writing is a passion of mine—so I like to get writing done as soon as I wake up—but I am open to day to day changes with no restriction on attacking the same project two days in a row or two months in a row.
Your goal is to pursue your passion for a while every day so that when bedtime rolls around you can sleep content knowing you got it done. By modifying your daily routine, not only will you complete plenty of tasks, but you will be creatively charged by the end of them.
Art takes inspiration and drive. You will have more of that and less of "artist block" by utilizing the methods above. Our best work comes from those "aha" moments where our artistry seems to pour out of us onto the canvas, screen or stage. The key is to harness that "pouring" sensation—that may happen only once a week— to one that naturally flows every day. When you inhabit a spontaneity mindset, you are also giving each of your creative endeavors a vital moment to breathe and grow while you continue on to something else, never missing a beat. Each day you will find more clarity, more stamina and more eagerness to remain in a creative zone. The bottom line is that every day can be a day for your art, if you know how to plan right.
Have a really great routine? Share it with us below, for a chance to be featured on this blog post!