Of Lightbox SF
It sneaks up on all of us. We work incredibly hard. We play hard. We try to balance all aspects of our lives and just in a few days our creative work spaces are covered in mail, clothes and other things that don’t belong.
Then we spend five to ten minutes looking for our proper tools, our keys or our favorite paintbrush. Up to 45 minutes a day can be spent looking for misplaced things. That is almost an hour that could have been spent creating something beautiful. We could have been napping. Or we could have just been doing something silly and fun. It is really frustrating but it happens to each and every one of us.
I think the first key to changing this pattern is to understand how the state of our space affects our creative spirit, productivity and our day to day happiness. The second step is to make a promise to ourselves to make the little changes that will make our lives easier.
It is easy to look at our disorganized space and get in that cycle of beating ourselves up. We say things like “I am so lazy. Look at this mess.” I want us all to promise to remember that there is nothing less productive than guilt and self criticism. Guilt is paralyzing. It wastes time. And more than likely your inner critic is telling big fat lies.
We all create physical messes for ourselves. There are some very extreme cases but the average person is only moderately messy. It’s totally normal. We all come home from work or a busy day and just toss things in the wrong place. This is the number one complaint from everyone I have helped with my program, Creating Space. My answer to this issue is there is nothing wrong with you. Clutter happens simply from a lack of daily maintenance and awareness, lack of organizational systems and from having too much stuff. So rule number one – tell the inner critic to hush and make a promise to make some changes.
Self-awareness is very important.
The other day I was sitting on my couch trying to write text for my new website. I had been suffering from a lack of motivation and overall ickiness for a couple of days and was struggling with wanting to write. I had been working a lot both inside and outside of my home office but still I couldn’t honestly say that the long hours were what were bringing me down. So I took my own advice and asked myself to look around the space in which I was working.
It is not hard to see everything from the couch in the middle of my fairly small studio and what I saw were one or two uncompleted creative projects, a stack of mail on my workbench, fresh laundry that had not been put away and several new pieces of art that needed to be hung. It was then that I realized my space itself was not conducive to getting any work done. The nervous energy I was feeling was from the mail and laundry I was avoiding. The awesome artwork I purchased was not being celebrated while hidden in the corner. And the fun projects I had started would spice up the white bare walls across from me.
I stopped trying to write, got up and sorted the mail, put away the clothes and hung the art. I felt so much better and I wrote one of my favorite posts to date. Try this the next time you feel creatively stuck while working in your space. Stop, look around the physical space and ask yourself if anything in this room at this time could be holding you back? Is it something that you can fix quickly and move on with your work?
After awareness and understanding how certain aspects of your space make you feel, set yourself up for daily maintenance.
Create the habit of sorting through your mail every day. Set up a filing cabinet where those annoying papers can be put immediately. Put your clothes away as soon as you take them off. Then set aside a few more minutes one day a week to double check tidiness. Someone once told me to never procrastinate completing a task if it take less than a minute to do. I increased my limit to 5 minutes a few weeks later, realizing how much time I saved in the future. Doesn’t sound like fun? Well, what if I told you if you cleaned your kitchen and bathroom for just five minutes every day you can avoid the bi-weekly all day Saturday cleans we all dreaded when we were kids. That alone motivates me! One big clean a month still only takes me 45 minutes.
Your workspace is very important. It deserves to be honored and cared for too. The best way to do this is to be aware of what you need from the space. Are you inspired by bright colors or soft pastels? Do you work best in a space with a lot of energy or do you prefer quiet? Do you love the idea of walls covered in inspirations or do you like minimalist design? Take the time to ask yourself these questions and create the space you want and need. Putting time and energy into designing an area that makes you happy will be greatly rewarded by more internal space for great new ideas.
Honor yourself by asking what you want from others.
If you share your space, set some guidelines for your partners and ask them to do the same. Whether it is your husband or wife, child or business partner or studio friends it is more than ok to define a space of your own. Even if it is a little corner of the living room, it will be all yours. Offer them the same respect by giving them their own area. Together you will be making one awesome, meaningful space where great ideas can come to light and where you all enjoy being.
Creating a productive space doesn’t have to be super challenging. Get to know what helps you to be successful and respect and honor that need. You’ll be developing a better relationship with both your space and creative spirit.
Shelly Kerry is the motivation and creativity side of Lightbox SF. As a jewelry designer she has spent many years testing and honing the skills and discipline needed to run your own creative business while still having time for friends, family and fun. She puts her wealth of experience to use in the Creating Space service – healthy living advice to help you make the most out of your already busy schedule and guide you in creating a productive and happy work space. She will help you find both the physical and emotional space so you can pursue your dreams and she’ll always insist there’s time for yourself. Shelly writes guest posts on living your best life on well-known blogs such as Kanelstrand, Handmade Success and Awfully Grand and is pursuing a Core Strengths coaching certificate through San Francisco State University.