Did you ever wake up one day feeling super motivated and excited, with your fingers itching to make something today, only to get lost in menial work that isn't really what you had in mind? And then the evening came, and you realized you didn't get to do a single thing today that you were so excited about. You said to yourself "Oh well, tomorrow is a new day".
But tomorrow morning you aren't really that motivated or excited. You don't really feel like doing any of the stuff you wanted a day earlier, even though you have time to do it.
The magic is gone. Yesterday was your super awesome day, and today isn't. That's just the way things are sometimes.
Some days you aren't feeling as motivated or inspired, and the best way to make use of those dull days is for tasks that are essential for your creative work, but are not your favorite part. We might even consider them chores, because they tend to be repetitive and boring.
Here are some of the things in my creative work that fall under that category:
- Cutting photos for digital collages
- Tracing sketches from scrap paper onto fancy paper
- Scanning and typing my notes so I can put them into my idea storage
- Finding reference photos on the internet
- Gathering all the materials for my crafts projects
- Cleaning up and organizing my desk
- Cleaning up and organizing my computer files
- Updating software to the latest version
- Backing up my files to the external hard drive
- Finding all the resources I'll need for a project, and putting them in my "resources" folder inside the corresponding project folder
If I've done all the preparations earlier, when I get super inspired to work on something really creative, I can just dive into the good stuff right away.
Peak creative times are like the perfect waves for the surfer. You don't wait for such a wave for days, and then turn your back on it. You need to ride that wave as soon as it appears.
So many times I made the mistake of wasting my creative waves, and then I had to wait a long time for the next one to come along.
Creative peaks are like that. They don't last long, and they're hard to predict.
They're precious – so treat them with the care and respect they deserve.
Often people procrastinate on a project because the preparatory work is boring. Sadly, almost everything worth doing will have some boring elements that are necessary. Without those boring parts, no real creative work can happen! (For tips on how to make this type of work less tedious, read my post 15 ways to infuse creativity into your boring business tasks.)
On days when you're on fire, it's much easier to get yourself to work on those boring things – but the downside is you'll waste so much creative energy on those tasks, and have less for the work you really enjoy.
Dedicating an hour a day for preparatory work can help a lot. Or if you can't spare an hour, make it 30 minutes – that shouldn't be too hard.
If procrastination is your problem, go read my articles Productivity Tips from a Hopeless Procrastinator and My Top 5 Tips For Preventing Time Suck & Increasing Productivity to learn how I deal with this issue.
Prepare for your next peak
Even if today is not one of those days, do something that will make it easier for you to dive in.
Clean up that desk.
Go out and buy what you need for that project so you have it handy.
Transcribe those notes from paper.
Scan that pile of paraphernalia.
Take stock of everything that needs to happen in order to do that dream project of yours. (If you filled out your worksheets in my free ebook Be A Creative Powerhouse, you should have that list already).
Examine what's the most boring thing you need to do in order to begin your work on this project. Is this the reason you're procrastinating?
Put those tasks in your calendar and do them just so you can start making some progress.
So when you get up and realize today is one of those days when you're on top of the world, you can just enjoy the ride.