Monday, July 13, 2015

Organization Mondays: Methods I Used to Demolish the Dreaded Creativity Block

It sucks to be stuck. Recently, it was impossible to move forward. Too many choices, too little time to accomplish everything I want to do! The past week I ended up so stuck that I wasted two whole work days doing absolutely nothing, paralyzed. That was the final straw. I started researching my mental problem. I wrote a post about it that I'll share later, it's Analysis Paralysis (or Decision Paralysis) and it can cripple your ability to be creative. Or hell, to function. I read about it at-length, along with the habits of the "very successful", who are always the polar opposite; quick and decisive. Now I feel like I'm un-blocked and making progress again.

For everyone else in the same camp, confused, unsure of the next step, wanting to start a project or business but not sure where to begin, here's how I got over it and got back to work. (I've punctuated the points with swift, sloppy notes and doodles to help let go of my perfectionism issue. I'd normally break out my drafting tools and water colors if I was going to share hand-drawn stuff here. Baby steps!)

Diminish The Shit You Have to Do

As always, I was trying to do TOO MUCH all at once. I've taken nearly everything off my list. Not everything has to be a business venture, although my Type-A entrepreneur brain wants it to be. I can merely collect vintage and toys, not make it a business. I can make art/crafts for fun. Problem solved.

Categorize for Easier Decision Making

Here's a critical one, not only for your own decision making, but for organizing your product line. People are overwhelmed if there's too many decision to make all at once and they will walk away from your wares if it's daunting to make a choice. You have to categorize for easier decision making. Look at all your choices, then divide them into groups and sub-groups. Just like big chain stores, that divide sections and sub-sections very deliberately.

Remember, You Can Adjust As You Go!

Perfectionism is the enemy of productivity. Sometimes, especially when you're swamped, you have to give in and make quick decisions. This post is a visual example of me finally letting go. The writing's relaxed and in my "real voice", I did lightning fast drawings and doodles to illustrate my points. And now, there's a post instead of the "none" that was there on Mondays for two weeks in a row because I felt the past posts were not "good enough" to publish. I really believe in putting out your best work possible and always improving, but you can, and do, improve as you go. And it's good to have a mix of your best work and restraint, mixed in with some "real" voice and writing in a blog or publication.

Just Be Goddamn Grateful

I make little money. It's hard for me to make decisions. I'm at a big crossroads in life. BUT:

-I live in a GORGEOUS (truly, I need to do a video tour, it's amazing) apartment for very little rent with my best friend and my boyfriend, and we all get along near-perfectly

-My boyfriend is extremely supportive and without a single complaint, listens to all my bitching (ALWAYS of the existential creative-person variety: "I'm a husk, a hack, I don't try hard enough every day, I need to improve my leaps and bounds and I'm not doing it, boohoo firstoworldproblems!")

-I live in an emerging indie-art area with a vegan bulk grocery, local bars and breweries, two vegan cafes, -raw- vegan eats, a thriving arts district and my goddamn herbalism school a stone's throw away. Like, literally, I walk and in 3-5 minutes I am at any of these places.

-I have good health and supportive friends and family.

-I get to work on my passions EVERY. Single. Day! Every day I am writing, taking pictures, formulating skin care products like the chemist I wanted to grow up to be, exploring nature and art...I've made it my job.

When we focus on the blessings, it's easier to work with passion and vigor every day. By the way, I recently realized why a productivity hack I read about often doesn't work for me. You've read the one where you give yourself a little "treat" to reward yourself for doing your job? Like a vegan snack or a new Japanese collectible (if you're me)? I don't do it because my job is the treat, I get to do exactly what I want, and what I love every single day. Being grateful and realizing how charmed my life really is helps me work better.


Sometimes there's no substitute for cutting off all distractions and just doing. I get lost in the details but dammit, no more. I have a lot I want to accomplish and it's not going to happen by torturing myself over things not being perfect. Drink a pot of coffee if you have to, get it!

And with those points shared, I'm off to spend the one hour I have left before I'm forced to run out of the house to work on writing as much as possible and cleaning!

Anyone else having similar issues? Anyone have advice to share? Productivity methods to share? Let's discuss and help each other improve. (I love to do something similar to pomodoro, set a timer, and just work your ass off in that limited time. Works.)
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  1. Great post - there are so many things I'm interested in, want to learn, or need to do. It is paralyzing.

    In order to finish college, I always used a mantra my Dad gave me… "Something is better than nothing!" I was not ever perfectly happy with any paper I turned in, but SOMETHING was always turned in on time.

    I'm sure it would be helpful to find a way to use this mantra in my life now every day too! I will accomplish at ONE thing today!

    1. Love that mantra, it's true. I'm a perfectionist and get too paralyzed by the details. But I drilled in this past week: just do!

  2. I generally have more things on my to-do list than time in the day too! I always have lists going to help me prioritize.
    I'm glad you were able to sit down and get things sorted out. And it's always important to look at the positive things in our life :)

    1. I love my lists, too. I have books full, haha :) Lately I'm really making sure to schedule exact things to do and times to do them, too.

  3. I love your brainstorming - you do have a good life, perhaps just need a break?

    1. Thanks! It was hard to share the rough, sloppy scribbles. I can't wait for a long break soon, just waiting for my boyfriend to get more than a day of work off in a row :)

  4. Great post! Thanks for speaking to something that so many of us feel but are unwilling to verbalize!!! And best of luck to you in this new journey. I know that the right thing will surface for you because you are an amazingly talented gal!

  5. Vanessa! You and I are so much alike. Reading this post, seeing your lists, it's like looking at something that could have come straight from my own brain! First, let me say: A LOT of people feel overwhelmed and unmotivated, and then just give up. It says a lot about your character that you are able to pull yourself out of the funk, get organized, and clarify what your goals really are. I'm bookmarking this post and using it for my own inspiration. Maybe it's the summer heat, but I've been feeling much the same way. By sharing your story, you're helping to inspire someone else (ME!) to beat the funk too!

    1. I'm glad it's helping! I'm delving into a whole series on this annoying phenomenon :) You're probably a "scanner" personality type too. And yep, could be summer. I'm tempted to go exploring with friends but I need to make some stuff...

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