The 5 Things to Get a Creative Start to Your Day

It’s early (or early-ish) morning. You are having a cup of coffee, the day is bright and sunny and from your window, you can hear birds singing. It’s a beautiful morning and you have the whole day in front of you. You see your phone sitting on the counter and think, well, might as well get started with my day…

STOP!

How you start your mornings has a huge effect on how nearly everything plays out during the rest of the day. Aside from the obvious ones of eating a good breakfast and trying to exercise, here are five items that can help turn even the most stressful day into a success. 

  1. Do not look at your email. Seriously, put your phone down, close your laptop, move away from the monitor. Personally, I think this one is like voodoo magic. Before I look at my email each day, I feel like I can clearly think about what those "important but not urgent” projects (or as Stephen Covey would say Quadrant II) that need to get completed. However, the moment I start looking at email, my focus moves outward and its difficult to judge if what is coming at me is important versus just immediate. The important items you need to accomplish almost never arise at 5 am to your Inbox.

  2. Take 10 -15 minutes to make bad art. Most of us don’t have an hour to write or work on our art each morning. Life is complicated, schedules are chaotic, and most of us are tired. Also, the idea of trying to get up and somehow be our best, most creative self is deeply intimidating. The common idea of the effortless artist breezily working away at dawn can be paralyzing (and is almost always fiction). However, the act of producing something, especially if you go into it knowing that it will be terrible, can be lots of fun and can get the juices flowing. So, write down some unfunny jokes or draw an elephant that looks like a misshaped balloon. It’s okay you can toss them all when you’re done.

  3. Write down 5 new ideas each day. I’m stealing this one from James Altucher (http://www.jamesaltucher.com). He calls this daily idea habit a superpower. He’s right. Force your brain to come up with ideas each day and you’ll be amazed at how power this will be over time.

  4. Write down 5 specific things that have brought you joy in the last 24hrs. These can be big things (a promotion, that joke that made everyone in the office laugh, the client who agreed to a start a new project) or small things (holding hands with your kid at the grocery store, the smile from a old friend, the sound of birds singing through your window). Life is not easy, so take a moment each day to remind yourself of the positive things in life. You’ll be happy that you did.

  5. Take one item from #3 (new idea) or #4 (something that brought you joy) and write 3 sentences/draw a quick sketch/hum a few bars about that. If you‘ve had a chance to work some kinks out in Step #2, and found something that excites you, you’ll be surprised by how easy it is to feel inspired.

  6. Finally, find some way to get back to your creativity at least once during the day. Maye you’re day is open and free, or perhaps its crazy and packed, but at some point, take a few minute to write something down, strum a guitar, or snap a picture with your phone. Make sure that morning inspiration doesn’t go to waste.

Now go out and have a great day!