10. Log in, log out! This is how I track my time. I have a little notebook and I just write down the date and time I arrive in my studio. Then I make a note of the time when I leave. This little habit has been hugely helpful for me, even though all the things I do outside the studio aren’t noted in this little book. It has helped me get a clear picture of how much time I’m spending in my workspace. For a self-employed, homeschooling, distraction-prone mama like myself, this kind of information is powerful feedback.
9. Turn up the tunes. Sometimes I forget how beneficial music is for my focus! Pandora is a godsend. I like to listen to strange music while I’m working, or my favorite podcasts, though not when I’m writing–that would obviously clog my brain’s language channel. The other day I was jamming out to Brahms’ Requiem, this morning, Shovels & Rope’s, O Be Joyful. Loveliness all across the musical rainbow!
8. Avoid distractions. There is a time and a place for Facebook, email, and all that other stuff. But these little distractions can destroy focus and prevent diving deep into creativity. I know this, because Facebook is my number one bad habit.
7. Surround yourself with inspirations! Artists of all sorts are always putting their deepest hearts out on the line. That’s huge. Our willingness to be vulnerable enriches the world. The flipside of our willingness to be vulnerable is that we must become masters of self-care! And we must constantly feed our creativity with beauty and belief. I have a collection of quotes on Goodreads.com that I refer to often. When I have low energy but want to be doing something, I go to Goodreads and search for more juicy quotes. In my studio I have a little clothesline with tiny red clothespins from which I hang images gleaned from calendars, cards, and books. I’m also in the process of collecting prints from some of my favorite living artists: Geninne Zlatkis, Mara Berendt Friedman, and Charles Gilchrist to name a few. That’s just good artist karma!
6. Warm ups. Runners do it, singers do it, and you need to do it, too. Read a little inspiration. Crack open a poem. Flip through a gorgeous book. Go for a short walk. Spend ten minutes or two in a creative visualization. Whatever you do, make it your intention that this time is priming your creativity circuits.
5. Distribute your time among your different projects and duties. Measure it out. You are baking the cake of life. It takes more than just sugar. Commit to 30 minutes, one hour, whatever, for the different aspects of your work.
4. Get up, stand up! Sitting down is bad. Bad, bad bad. Stretch your legs and your imagination. Go outside and read a poem by Mary Oliver. Do a little yoga. Shake your booty. Its especially helpful to do this when you are shifting gears from one aspect of work to another.
3. Take photographs of what you are up to. You may not use them all, but it will be a nice way to document your progress.
2. Clean up time. Really. Make time to clean up, so that when you return to this wonderful space, it will be ready for you. You can even leave your future self a little present, like a quote you love, or a sprig of lavender.
1. Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! Yes, chocolate supercedes all other rules. Sometimes I eat way too much chocolate, but that’s OK. It is gooood for you. Did you know that chocolate boosts blood flow to the brain and makes you feel more awake and alert? My sweet husband calls it “art fuel” and I am glad to be the art machine!
So, what are your studio rules? Do you have any practices that keep your creative juices flowing and your tasks managed?