Being a mother of three, it is hard to find large chunks of time to work on anything be it a composition, a blog post, a project, or a lesson plan.  But I’m often reminded of what my husband told me when I had just one child, “Just work on your project a little every day and eventually, it has to get done!” He’s been right of course and this explains how I’ve gotten anything done in the last decade! But even experiencing the results of daily, small bits of efforts doesn’t always make it easier. So now with three children, you can imagine that I find it even more difficult to find even small chunks of time to work. But something changed a few weeks ago…

I stumbled upon a new book on productivity for the creative:  Manage Your Day to Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind. In the book, Scott Belsky says this well,

Manage your day to day2It’s time to stop blaming our surroundings and start taking responsibility. While no workplace is perfect, it turns out that our gravest challenges are a lot more primal and personal. Our individual practices ultimately determine what we do and how well we do it. Specifically, it’s our routine (or lack thereof), our capacity to work proactively rather than reactively, and our ability to systematically optimize our work habits over time that determine our ability to make ideas happen.

Another insight in this book comes from Gretchen Rubin:

You’re much more likely to spot surprising relationships and to see fresh connections among ideas, if your mind is constantly humming with issues related to your work. When I’m deep in a project, everything I experience seems to relate to it in a way that’s absolutely exhilarating. The entire world becomes more interesting. That’s critical, because I have a voracious need for material, and as I become hyperaware of potential fodder, ideas pour in. By contrast, working sporadically makes it hard to keep your focus. It’s easy to become blocked, confused, or distracted, or to forget what you were aiming to accomplish.

Creativity arises from a constant churn of ideas, and one of the easiest ways to encourage that fertile froth is to keep your mind engaged with your project. When you work regularly, inspiration strikes regularly.

Some of the topics in this book include:

  • Controlling your email addiction
  • Battling creative demons
  • Dealing with information overload
  • Learning to create amidst chaos (that’s for mothers like me!)

And if these topics and those quotes aren’t inspirational to you, take a look at this short video:

This explains what happened to me a few weeks ago when I forced myself to sit down and compose in some short segments of time. After a rough start, the ideas just kept coming and in two weeks time, I now have 6 new compositions!

I know I’ll be ordering this book, though I already believe and have experienced the truth that it shouts: Manage Your Day to Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind.

As they say at the end of the video:

Stop doing busy work. Start doing your best work.