Spring Cleaning for the Creative Life
Posted May 12, 2014on:
Spring is here–finally!
I’ve just said goodbye to the graduating seniors at my university and am beginning to scheme about which creative projects I can move forward during the summer. Although I don’t teach during the summer, I still have to continue my research and academic writing as well as make time for my creative work (primarily creative writing and my coaching practice).
Spring powers us with the energy to tackle physical spaces (and states of mind) that no longer serve our creative life.
It also presents us with a perfect time to reassess, reorganize and rededicate ourselves to the projects that we most want to bring into the world.
Here is my three step process that I have found useful for spring cleaning:
1) You reassess your space, your schedule, and patterns of mind to see what is supporting or not supporting your creative life.
2) You reorganize your space, schedule, and patterns of minds to allow you to create with more ease.
3) After reassessing and reorganizing, you rededicate yourself to having a productive and joyful creative life!
Clutter can immobilize our creative lives. Last year, I wrote about how powerful it was to tackle clutter and re-imagine my writing space at home. Last summer, I also spent a little time each week decluttering my campus office.
All that hard work has paid off. I have great systems in place and now my focus is about maintenance.
What about your creative space? Does it need a spring tune-up?
Go and look at your creative space. What’s the state of it? Do you feel a sense of ease when you look at it? Is it crammed with stuff that belongs in other rooms of your house? If you live with other people, is this space known as your special creative area?
Have you even claimed some special place yet, or are you waiting for permission from someone else? If you’re struggling with this, see my post on claiming creative space.
Survey your space and make a quick list of what you feel needs your attention most. The questions below are not exhaustive, but offer a good place to start.
-Do you need to organize and sort your paper files?
-Would it be useful to create an index for your piles of journals, scripts, CDS, DVDS, etc. (i.e. whatever you consider your primary creative material)?
-Are there notes from recent conferences and workshops that need to be reviewed and filed?
-When was the last time you did a backup of your computer files? Do you need to delete or add programs?
-Do you need to physically clean your computer?
-Do you have visible reminders of your creative accomplishments? Is it time to take some down and put up new ones?
-Do you have too much or too little of something in your space?
-Do you need more or less shelf space?
-Do you need new supplies?
-Are there big physical jobs you’d like to do (e.g. paint)?
Once you have your list you can break each item down into specific tasks.
It’s important to not get overwhelmed during spring cleaning. Many people decide they will devote a day to a spring cleaning project and then realize that they’re cranky after two hours and that the task requires at least two days. Start small and reward yourself often. Why not take from now until the official start of summer to spring clean? You could choose one project each week. I suggest working in 15-30 minute intervals so there’s less chance of getting frustrated and overwhelmed. I enjoy using an online stopwatch.