I think most of us exist on one side of this scale or the other. Either you’re like me, highly productive but lacking in relaxation, or you’re you can’t get work done to save your life but you have a lot of fun not doing it.
How then do we discover a life of balance? How do we love our work time, love our playtime, avoid burnout, but still get things done?
After much reflection in recent months, I’ve discovered a system that seems to be working for me. This process may sound obvious but I encourage you to try it. These three steps have opened me up and allowed to experience inspiration, creativity, and joy each and every day.
Step One: COLLECT
This is the process of taking in information. Each morning I spend two hours reading my Bible, catching up on blogs I follow, and watching numerous interviews with people who inspire me. This collecting of information is vital to the creative process. It serves as a jump start to our brains. This is where we learn from the experience of others and be inspired by their ideas. If two hours is too much for your schedule, that’s fine. Try fifteen minutes. The amount of time doesn’t matter, what matters is the level of engagement and openness to be inspired.
Step two: CREATE
Now that our head is filled with ideas, it’s time to do the work. My recommendation is to make a to-do list of no more than four tasks on a sticky note. If your tasks are truly vital and creative, then four should be plenty to accomplish in a day. The sticky note is just a visual thing. Four tasks on a regular sheet of paper looks like you’re a slacker, but a sticky note make your day feel just full enough. Then set aside time, whether it’s three hours or thirty minutes, where you put away all distractions, and begin to work through the list. Start at the top and do not move on until the previous task is completed.
Step three: CHILL
This is the last thing you do before going to bed at night. Choose an activity that’s mindless, but completely enjoyable. For me, this is watching Pokémon on Netflix, playing my PS3, or having dessert with a friend while watching late night Sports Center. The idea here is to forget about work completely and relax. Remember, the point of these three steps is not to slave through your work all day so that you can enjoy yourself at night; the point is to achieve balance in your creative life so that all three steps are enjoyable.
Harnessing the power of creativity, productivity, inspiration, and joy is not as difficult as it sounds. Vital creatives do it everyday, and you will need to as well if you want to do your best work and live your best life.
Follow jon on Twitter @jonjorgenson