4 Ways to stay focused in your creative work













Wing growing ~ 12×12 mounted print on Etsy

In September I always feel like I have to re-grow my wings.

Summer is a time of rejuvenation and lingering with my family away from the hustle of my studio. As a result, a lot of my big goals don’t get TLC and seem to remain at a standstill. I don’t regret the months loving on my children and PH, the many books read, or the awesome travel adventures we had. I do get a little anxious about heading back in to my work life, but I also feel tremendous excitement about the creative work that will transpire at the Girls’ Clubhouse this year.

Being an Artsy Girl  I have a little trouble with that little guy focus. He seems to elude me from time to time…playing hard to get…leaving me in the dust. YET, this right-brained girl has a plan and has enlisted the help from some online gurus. I thought I’d share them. If you are my sister in scatterbrain-ness, maybe you’ll find them helpful.

1) Blogger Leo Babauta is a fabulous inspiration when it comes to accomplishing big goals. I read The Power of Less and it made sense to me in a very uncomplicated, simple way. He talks about doing one goal at a time and not moving on to the next goal until it’s complete. It sounds ludicrus if you’re a multi-tasker like me…but I am finding that multi-tasking is making me stupid! Yet, I do find that I like big projects and I even tend to give them catchy names—remember 31 Portraits in 31 Days?. This taking on one thing at a time idea is starting to grow on me. Yes, there’s the random email check and nuts and bolts thing that comes with being a self-employed artist, but those should be pushed to a later time in the day…which leads me to my next tip I got from…

2) Julie Morgenstern‘s book Never Check Email in the Morning. I hid this book under a stack of papers because I didn’t want to read it, but knew I should (hence the reason I bought it…strange logic, I realize). I couldn’t imagine not plastering my face to my gmail screen at 5:00 am every morning to see what the heck I missed in the 7 hours that I was asleep. Guess what? Usually nothing….or if there is something in an email that gets my goat, I can’t let it go. I tried an experiment this summer and only checked email at 10:00 am every day for several days. I did not die! It was awesome. The other great news is that I actually had my quiet writing/study time at 5 and I was completely all in because I wasn’t chewing on email crap-ola. Awesome again! My next challenge is to only check it twice a day…once at 10 and then again at 4:00. Good luck on that one–my iphone is such crack…Self-control, Lara, self-control!!

3) I learned about a time management technique from Jamie Ridler’s podcast (love her and her shows…good for the am run). It’s called the Pomodoro Method (as in my favorite pasta meal). All you need is a quiet place to work with all of your gear at the ready and a kitchen timer. 25 minutes of focused kick-a#$% work and 5 minutes of downtime (thinking Pinterest might be involved there). Turning off all audio cues from your computer (FB ding and all) is really helpful, as well as letting those around you know that you’re “goin’ in” for 25 and need peace. Of course, I’m alone at the studio a lot, so it usually means saying out loud to my sleeping dogs that IT IS TIME TO WORK. Silly, but it works.

4) Sometimes it’s hard to sit in the same place staring at the same mess on my desk when I’m trying to create or write. Rut-city. I found last spring that it is very helpful to head to a public place that has white noise. My favorite spot is a coffee shop that has HUGE windows, which is so terrific for my sun & light deprived self. The din swirling around me, not to mention the three espressos I polish off, seems to inspire writing ideas. Simply getting out can change the whole creating thing. Love it.

Hopefully you’ll find something above that can help in your own creative world–‘would love to hear what works for you! I’m game for any ideas that can propel me forward.

Happy Labor Day, Lovelies!




On the Ignited Heart blog this week: 4 Places of solitude to find clarity and peace

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2 Responses to 4 Ways to stay focused in your creative work

  1. Great tips – and exactly the “Gurus” I follow as well! Focus is a difficult thing – your mind is always playing tricks on you… But especially the Pomodoro technique has also been helpful to me.
    Thank you for a great post!

  2. Pam says:

    I definitely need to wait on checking the e-mail and getting online thing. I try and stick to a certain amount of time but sometimes I look up and UH-OH an hour or two has gone by! My little guy is going to school all day this year so I am looking forward to being able to focus without all the toddler drama going on 😉 I definitely finish more of my creative projects when I have a focus, otherwise they sit and sit and I may get to them. But if I have a deadline or I am participating in a group project or class I somehow find the time to complete them! I have learned in the last year or so that lots of noise other than music and interruption to do outside tasks totally puts a wrench in my creative wheel. That is why I plan on working when no one is home now. That will also let me focus on them when they are home and give them 100%.

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