Creativity, Productivity & The Sands of Time

Posted on Jun 25, 2012

Sands in hourglassThe squeeze of the hourglass

We all feel it these days, the squeeze of life’s expansiveness into hours and minutes. Technology has made us more productive, and it has given us more to do. Because we can have more, we want more. We want more living, but we must cram this living into the same number of hours in every day. This means we have to make choices… often between one wonderful thing and another. And what you want today may not be the same things you wanted last year.

Thus, in part four of this series on productivity, I propose:

Step 4:  Act with awareness.

This weekend I had coffee with a lovely woman, an extremely talented artist. She has a big body of work, but no buyers. As she is now in her 60s, she said to me, “I don’t have enough motivation to get out there and sell it.” So, she contemplates giving up painting, destroying the canvases, or giving them away. I hear this all the time, as people all around me try to find the way through the process to close the circle of creativity when their work takes its place in the world.

In the meantime, she works in her garden, cooks and sews. And she enjoys it. But she questions the validity of her lifestyle. She is, I assure you, not alone. Perhaps her priorities have changed; perhaps the outcome she longs for is achievable with a little creative tweaking. But the lack of clarity – which emerges from the chrysalis as new vision – can disempower anyone.

What does your heart tell you?

In order to know how to act so that you are fulfilled at the end of the day – and year – you have to know what you want now. You have to know it the way…

  • A seagull knows it wants to fly
  • A sunflower knows it wants to see the sun
  • A bee knows it needs to pollinate its garden

Once you allow yourself to feel your true longing today, in your heart as well as your mind, the distractions we discussed last week lose their power. Whether your vision now is to sell your work, or to give it away and work in the garden, aligning your actions with it changes your experience of your life.

Minutes and hours… use them or lose them.

And then you have to choose consciously, deliberately many times a day. Today, give yourself the gift of action informed by awareness. Take a moment, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and think about what’s most important to you. What will you regret not doing when you die? Do you want to build a successful business? Nurture your children? Learn to dance? Support a charity?

What are your top five priorities for your life?

  • Make a list of the five area of your life you are most passionate about.
  • Choose the first item on your list.
  • Write one paragraph about what you are committed to in this area.
  • Commit to one thing today that you will achieve there, no matter what.
  • Do this each day for 21 days, and you will make it a habit.
  • At the end of each day, state what you have done, how it felt, and what changed as a result.

See what a difference you can create in 21 days. And share your happy results!

If you need a little encouragement, or you have any other questions you’d like me to answer… please post them here or on the Wheel of Creativity Facebook page.


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Creativity Q&A: Transforming Crisis to Possibility

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Creativity Q&A: Managing The Pressure