When my mind is lazy, I put Mundane Matters aside and try not to think about it. I’d cook a proper dinner (‘proper’ means no play with food), go for a walk, meditate. Random ideas and visions would then start popping into my mind and I become excited again to make something new.
It has become a cycle for me now. I am not sure if this is the right approach to keep a project going, as some might argue that one should always be motivated and consistent in what he/she is doing. Leave it to the strongest 1% of the population. The majority of us, like myself, could easily give up to the lazy side of our brain. In the past six months, although I’ve maintained at least one creation a day, I let that laziness flow in my brain, rather than trying to suppress it. The relaxing state it creates helps me build the mindset of ‘there is nothing to be scared of; ideas will come regardless’, which sets me free from the fear of running out of ideas.
There is no special trick or secret in the creative process. Just relax when you feel lazy. However, to let yourself get back on track, you will need to form the creative habit first. Below are my tips. I refer to whatever you are trying to do on a daily basis ‘this thing’ as I can’t think of any words.
Essentially, make passion the purpose of forming your creative habit.
I see passion the most important motivation in forming a creative habit. How can you do something everyday if you don’t love it? Do something you love. Do it for yourself. Do it to explore yourself. Don’t do it for others because you will end up chasing approvals from others.
Explore different ways of doing this thing on a daily deadline.
By exploring different ways, you will learn what works for you the best, the worst, the most fun and difficult. I enjoy making food sculptures, taking photos and posting them on Instagram as I go. I’ve also tried making 5 things on a row so that I can work on other projects while keeping my Instagram feed active. It doesn’t work for me as I don’t feel exciting working in that way.
A daily deadline will help stop you from procrastination. Be very strict on yourself. By a certain time of the day, you will have to finish this thing. I have my deadline at 9.30pm so I can at least procrastinate the whole day.
Consistently do it for 21 days
I am skeptical about the 21-day habit forming myth. I think they just give out a number so that there is a milestone to hit. However, I do think that perhaps mentally, this milestone hitting would make us feel a sense of achievement (so that we keep going). Try consistently doing it for 21 days. You might struggle if this thing you are doing is completely new to you. Don’t give up! Celebrate when you hit day 21. Make another milestone if it works for you.
In Nir Eyal’s Hooked model, variable rewards work as seduction. Rewards keep us wanting more and stimulate us to think of ways to get more. To myself, the reward is the excitement I get from creating something new that surprises me everyday. That is personal reward. There are social rewards. For example, the ‘likes’ one gets on social media – I am fully against going down that path. Remember the first thing, DO IT FOR YOURSELF.
Be observant of yourself and understand why you are lazy
Last thing, along your creative journey, you should practice self-awareness. Be observant of your feelings and thoughts. It is inevitable that we get lazy sometimes, or all the time. Understand the reasons why you can’t keep it going. If you are busy with other things, adjust your schedule and make time for it. If you don’t enjoy doing it at all, probably you pick the wrong thing. But if you are observant of yourself, you will find most of the time it is your inner fear that is demotivating you from trying new things.
Note: a shorter version of this article was also trending on BoredPanda.
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