Clean Out Your Attic
I cleaned out my attic recently, tossing away lots of unneeded stuff, ranging from old kid’s clothes to busted stereo gear to a couple of worn out old chairs. It felt good to just throw this stuff out and reclaim a formerly cluttered space.
In our jobs and in our lives, our brains can become a lot like that attic. A few months back, wrapped up in the laundry list of challenges associated with owning and operating a small business, I found myself waking up in the middle of the night thinking about work. Not good.
After returning (and recovering) from summer vacation, I revved up my workout regimen at the local Y. I also decided to reinstate a long-lost personal routine. Rising with the sun, I sit down to write what author/creative coach Julia Cameron calls “morning pages.” I basically “clean out the attic,” writing free-form to create some mental space, find some clarity, and quiet the constant chatter going on up there.
Cameron outlines this simple-but-effective process in “The Artist’s Way,” her acclaimed guide to unleashing your creativity. Over the first few weeks of this new routine, I cranked out more good work than I had in months, and was busily writing down ideas as they came to me in a flood. And I slept better.
Whether it’s a daily visit to the gym or a quick walk around the block, it’s beneficial to shut off your brain for a while, hopefully on a close-to-daily basis. The most common excuse I hear from folks about this kind of routine is that, “It takes too much time, and I’m just too busy to stop and exercise.” I know that one well, because I’ve used the same excuse often. But even a short aerobic routine and/or a bit of time to be alone with yourself can have a dramatic effect on creativity and productivity.
Happier clients, an increase in your bottom line, and a good night’s sleep? That’s something you definitely don’t want to throw away.