My Top 10 Tips on
How to Stay Inspired & Creative
The year is well under way now and everyone is back into the routine of work, school and juggling all the things that make up our lives. You may still be feeling full of energy and optimism and be kicking butt with your new year resolutions/ goals/ aspirations whatever you’d like to call them (find out my one word for the year). Good on you! Or you may be beginning to feel the drag of it all, starting to lose your shine, your inspiration and motivation quickly deflating. Or maybe you are just plodding along, getting stuff done but you can sort of feel a little niggling that you might need a little kick start again.
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Inspiration is such an energising feeling. You know that buzz you get when you get into something that really ignites your passions and you cannot wait to get working on it. That is the feeling we want to feel everyday. But inspiration, she can be elusive and it can be hard to pin her down some days.
I believe that if you can keep the fire of your passion alive you will be happy which in turn gives you inspiration which fuels your creativity which requires passion and round and round it goes. The key to keeping this blissful little world going round is to nurture it, feed it and essentially stay inspired.
Wherever you are at, this list of tips for inspiration is for you. A list of things I like to do to keep me inspired and to keep me happy. Some of this, probably most of it, is common sense, but it is good to be reminded of these things sometimes.
1. 5 Quiet minutes
Find 5 quiet minutes in your busy schedule. Make a drink – tea, coffee, a smoothie, G&T whatever your drop is and just take five un-distracted minutes to sit down and drink it. Take a few deep breaths and just stop. Calm yourself. If this doesn’t work for you and you are easily distracted maybe try having a shower, not a to-get-clean one, a just stand under the running water, sort of shower. There are no distractions in here, unless your kids keep making peek a boo faces through the steamy glass at you. (If this happens to you, see my hot tip at the bottom). Track down your beloved cat/dog/chook and give them a cuddle and a pat and sit with them for a bit – animal therapy really does work.
2. Write it down
Get all the jumbled thoughts out of your head and down on paper (or screen if you prefer). Then do a few of the smaller tasks on the list so you can quickly tick a few things off and feel motivated about getting everything else done. Productivity breeds more productivity. It is best if you can have your to do list ready to go before the day starts, so whether you do a weekly plan and divide your tasks up or write it the night before, wake up ready to go. I am still learning when enough is enough. I struggle to make achievable lists and tend to over estimate just how much I can actually get done in a day. This is not only a bit of a downer at the end of the day but the list tends to roll on to the next day and the next making each day a bit harder to get through. Do you have any tips for me?
Together with this, I encourage you to have somewhere to make note of any ideas, thoughts or tasks that you have to do. I like pen and paper, but you might prefer some electronic app like Evernote, it is up to you. But try to have it handy all the time, you never know when inspiration will strike or when you may come across something you need to record. Write it all down, the good ideas, the bad ones and the boring ones – it is all just a brain dump and you can rework it later on.
3. Go somewhere
As nice as it would be to jump on a plane and take off to some exotic location, for some of us (ok, most of us) that just isn’t possible. Just try to get out of your normal environment. Leave the house, the office, or your work space and get out. I like to go to the beach, there is something about the fresh air, sunshine, the endless waves rolling in, the people walking by, that is all extremely nourishing to me. You can’t always do it alone, so pick your place so that everyone can get out – go to the park if you have little ones with energy to burn, perhaps the shops with your teens, or a hole in the wall cafe with your partner. Make it an easy stress free outing whatever you choose.
4. Move it!
We have all heard it a million times before, exercise blah blah endorphins blah blah health blah fit blah mood booster blah stress relief blah blah blah. We know it, but do we do it? I like to go running but it isn’t always a practical option, neither is a regular yoga class or whatever it is you like to do. So I make sure I get moving in other ways, maybe turn up the music and dance around the house. Pretend you are on a reality TV show and you have 10 minutes to get all your house work done. Do everything your kids do, mirror them for just half an hour and you will be surprised just how much they actually move in a day (this may not work if you have teenagers). In little ways, get moving.
5. Freshen Up
When you feel a bit stuck in a rut it is amazing the difference a little freshen up can make. It might be as simple as changing all the sheets and airing out the house. Maybe getting a haircut. Rearrange the nic-nacs on your shelf, or even move the furniture around in the room. Plant a couple of new plants in the garden. Clean out the second drawer in the kitchen, the middle pantry shelf, the bathroom drawer, your underwear drawer – don’t tackle them all, just pick one and tidy it up. A good spot to start is your work space, a clean and tidy space helps you to stay focused, even better if you can add something pretty or inspirational to it to make it more inviting.
6. Break the Norm
If you sit down and do the same thing day in day out of course you are going to get in a rut. Variety is the spice of life. Instead of plonking on the lounge every night and flicking through your apps on the phone and watching whatever is on tv – try something different. If you like to cook, sit down with some cookbooks and tag a few new recipes to try. Read a book. Talk with your partner, no distractions allowed. Research a destination you’d love to travel to. Learn something new – a language, how to play guitar, how to draw, photoshop, choose something that lights your fire. Forget the pile of laundry it isn’t going anywhere (trust me!). Check for urgent emails but ignore the rest, you don’t need to read them right now. Break your norm and find something to get passionate about.
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7. Learn Something!
This sort of ties in with the point I made above, but I think it is so important it deserves it’s own title. Reading, watching tutorials, browsing the web, brainstorming ideas – it all contributes to increasing your knowledge which helps to keep you capable, inspired and creative. Look up people who you find inspiring and be motivated by their achievements. Don’t get too caught up in them though, they are likely to be hugely successful, which can be daunting, so try to balance it out by looking at the smaller inspiring things that people surrounding you do. This flirts on the edge of the concept of having a muse. I don’t think that a muse has to be a person, it can be anything that you find inspiring – a book, a song, a picture – whatever your muse is try to pick something that you can continue to learn more about.
8. Daily Healthy Habits
Drink lots of water, sleep well (magical balance between enough and too much!), and reflect on your day. Try to find 10 minutes at the end of your day to reflect on your day. You might like to meditate, or work on your sentence a day, cross off your to do list and prepare the next days, think about what you are grateful for, what made you happy. Whatever it is, you should ideally come out of it feeling positive and ready to tackle the next day. When you are having your breakfast or brushing your teeth each day try to think of five things you are grateful for. Kick starting your day this way puts you in a good mood and starting the day happy promotes more happiness.
9. Fake It!
If you really aren’t feeling it, just fake it until it becomes real. Yes ‘fake it til you make it’ is a popular phrase but I think that it works on a small scale (I am not advocating you to fake credentials). Simply smile, it will usually surprise you and become real. Do something that will make you smile – listen to music, dance, watch cat videos on youtube, laugh with your kids, smile at strangers … Eventually it will be real. Smiling makes you happy. Happy makes you productive. And being productive means that you are being awesome! If you lack self belief, try to fake your confidence in yourself, and just by believing in yourself you will achieve things and create real confidence.
10. Just do it!
If all else fails just do it. Get started. I usually find that as soon as I give in to it and just get going, the ball will start rolling and inspiration will hit. Forget the doubt, the procrastination, the negative attitudes and just do it. Don’t wait for someday, make it today.
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Hot Tip: Kids annoying you?
Stop grumping at them and storming around the place. Sit down with them,no matter how old they are. Tell them you are having a bad day. Do something you like, but do it all together. We like to take five minutes to all sit and look at Pinterest together, or colour in a picture, read a book, lay on the grass and point out what we see in the clouds, maybe you like to watch a TV show, bake something, ride your bikes. Whatever it is, make sure everyone focuses on it all together with no distractions. It is almost guaranteed to make you happy when you are doing something together and all enjoying it. Thank them for helping you feel better, it motivates them to be well behaved and help you through the rest of the day. Maybe you need to even take some time to yourselves. Don’t feel bad to put on their favourite show and take some time alone to do what you want to do, I’m sure you don’t want to sit and watch Ben & Holly, again.
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There you have my top tips for inspiration and how to nurture the four pillars that support each other and keep your happy little state of creativity going round and round.
What do you do to stay creative and inspired?
Where is your ‘somewhere’ that you go?
How do you get 5 minutes of quiet?