add new habits and shift your routine for better creative flow

It's not always easy to tell if we need a break. With all the guilt and doubt that often surrounds taking time away from our creative passions or creative businesses, it's hardly surprising that the issue of time off is one that often feels a little loaded. Sometimes, or course, we simply can't take a break. We have income to make, clients to serve, deadlines (self imposed or otherwise) to meet. Equally though - whether you do it for money or not, creativity is very energy demanding and sometimes simply ploughing on is not an option. 

If you're not sure if you need to stop and rest completely, having a change around of your routine can be a good way to check in with yourself and breathe a little life back into your work and life. 

A couple of months ago I did a focused and deliberate reset of my own routine to get things flowing again around my work, art and life. I wanted a more balanced energy level throughout the day and I wanted more progress with my current manuscript draft. 

After a month of trying out several new habits, including: a new morning writing session (with a timed wordcount goal); and a daily walk in the fresh air, it's clear that this is an intuitive and gentle planning technique that really works. If you'd like to give it a go yourself, I've included the process I went through to reset my routine below:

Assess your current routine.

- Reflect on your current routine. How is it working for you at the moment? In what ways could it work better in supporting the lifestyle you want?

- What's not working so well? What are the things that leave you feeling drained and heavy? What are the things that you consistently avoid doing? 

- How do you want to feel? Maybe you have a project you'd like to make progress on, or maybe you'd like to make more room for mindfulness in your day.?

Choose several new or restructured habits to help shape your routine going forwards.

- What simple things can you do most days that will help you get back on track?

Get yourself to stick to your new habits.

- Build your day around the habits you want to introduce. It's no good simply saying you want to start a new habit without taking into account the practicalities. When you plan out your week, note in the points in each day you'll be doing your new habits.

- Track them. There is nothing more satisfying than ticking off a habit tracker.

- Cut yourself some slack. I usually find that aiming for a slightly less than perfect rate of achievement means I'm much more likely to stick to a new habit. Instead of aiming for seven out of seven days and beating myself up if I miss one, I'll be happy if my new habit stuck on four days out of the week. 

Record and reflect on the results.

- How well did your new habits stick? For the ones that didn't work out so well - look at at why. Maybe you tried to slot them into the wrong place in your routine, or maybe something else is holding you back from doing them. 

- What were the best things to come out of your new habits? Were the results good enough that you'd like to carry them forward? If not, think about how you could shift things around a little or try something different going forwards.

Repeat as necessary.

- The importance of listening to yourself when shaping your day-to-day is huge. When we check in regularly with ourselves we're able to respond quicker to the things that aren't working so well, and avoid staying stuck in old habits that no longer serve us. In short, we can keep growing in a way that feels gentle and intuitive. 

- On top of that, the very act of changing the routine can sometimes be even more powerful than how you change it. Creativity favours a little bit of disruption, and making the effort to do something different with the way you make art - whether that's choosing a different time, or place, or goal for it - can really refresh your flow and get things moving again. 

Creating an intuitive routine that works towards building a life of gentle, consistent creativity is something we can work on together, if you need a little extra support. We can also work on sticking to new habits and shaping your day-to-day around your creative passions and projects. For more information, and to express an interest in receiving personal mentoring, check the links below: