Our choices, whether on an instrument or charcoal, keyboard or mouse click - are the real artistic tools.
The first quarter can encompass some of the most motivating, active, and stressful days of the year. It's tempting to attack every dark, cob-web laden corner of your life with a full overhaul, but both experts and personal experience say you're better off taking it one small step at a time.
Here are some tips to inject a little energy back into your routine.
The following list is meant to be more of a buffet than an 18-course meal - just a few ideas that can be implemented in small portions to get you to a refreshed state of mind and build momentum for the year, which is still young.
1. Restart your computer. Then install a wrangler for all your browser tabs.
This free Chrome extension automatically closes your tabs after a set amount of time (trust me, you won't miss them - and even if you do, there's an easy way to recover them).
2. Delete / clean up the apps on your phone screen
3. Turn off notifications from Instagram and Twitter. Initiate an unfollowIng spree on Facebook.
Yes, I'm under 40 and still on a personal Facebook regularly. If you want a cleaner feed with less distraction, no one else has to know. Quietly click the unfollow button on a former high school classmate, and you'll still remain friends in case either one of you decides to reach out for a substantive catch-up. Repeat the process with others you've lost touch or interest with and soon you'll have a completely blank slate.
If you're looking for a real shortcut, use this genius Chrome extension:
News Feed Eradicator For Facebook
4. Begin a daily gratitude practice.
Gratitude reminds us that we have agency - the power to interpret the outcomes of our lives in a way that's useful. I've begun writing down 3 different things I am grateful for every day, on paper or in the notes of my phone. I try to make 2 of these things something small that I'd usually take for granted, like ankle socks (in the summer; crew socks in the winter).
5. Write down a list of your fears.
On one side of the paper you'll have a list of everything that stops you in your tracks. Now flip it over and write the counter argument to each one of them.
6. Freewrite for 20 minutes, stream of consciousness style.
As a bonus, schedule a freewriting session with another artist.
7. Challenge yourself to write down 5-10 new ideas per day.
They could be creative concepts or business plans, as long as they're something you haven't dreamed up before.
8. Find a therapist or life coach.
Good news -- it's no longer corny to have a life coach. A professional athlete would never train without a coach because their performance is serious business. If you're serious about life, could it be the same?
9. Make and share a playlist.
10. Sign up for a class or course.
Yoga, Painting, Flute, Breakdancing, Coding, Sex-Positivity.
11. Respond to an email that's gone unanswered for over 6 months .
You'll be surprised what comes back. I've successfully picked up meeting plans that had stalled over a year prior.
12. Schedule a family activity.
Make it a monthly thing.
13. Book a solo trip.
Day-trip or a week overseas, some time in a new place on your own is a great way to shift your perspective and get aware of your trigger points.
14. Make amends. In person, by phone, or by letter that never gets sent.
15. Make a contract with yourself and sign it.
16. Set aside half a day to grab groceries and prep meals for the week.
As an addict for take-out and delivery, I can say that cooking has become a meditative experience for me. I appreciate what I eat much more after prepping the ingredients by hand, and save a lot of money in the process.
17. Take a cold shower.
18. Buy a plant for your home, office, or workspace.
Something you can take care of. Snake plants are among the toughest and nearly impossible to mess up.
Have you tried any of these out? What new habits or practices are you building in 2018?