Last year I became painfully aware of how much my life seemed to revolve around my phone. I was on it all the time during my shoots, I was way too concerned about keeping up Instagram engagement, and I was getting too much inspiration from what was at my fingertips instead of drawing from more organic places. All of this stunted my creativity because it took focus away from my work and growing my own authentic style.
Not to mention the constant distraction which caused me to break focus every few minutes, keeping me from flow-state work where I do my best thinking.
I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity– how to grow it, protect it, and use it to its full advantage to create truly special work.
While I think we all have creativity in us, I don’t think it’s something that magically grows on its own without being exercised and nudged in the right way. It requires work and rest, just like any muscle.
And it requires discipline. I’m finding that phones are often the enemy of discipline. Not for everyone, I suppose. But for most of us creative entrepreneurs trying to balance Instagram and all-of-the-things, they probably are.
Here are a few ways I’ve distanced myself from my phone to protect creativity and do better work this year. (Bonus–it’s made me way happier!)
Took email off of my phone.
I keep a personal email address on my phone, but no work email. This is only on my computer so I’m only checking it during specific times.
Stopped posting every day.
As I’ve talked about before, I’m very wary of building a business that is reliant on a platform that I don’t own. But I noticed I was spending quite a bit of time on Instagram since I was posting/engaging every single day. The time I spent on the app was making it a bigger priority in my business than it should have been. So I’ve cut back on how much I post and on the amount of engagement that I’ve decided is necessary for me to do each week.
Started writing in notebooks.
I bought a bunch of small notebooks for recipe ideas, business thoughts, and journaling about creativity. Writing has been such a cathartic thing for me to turn to when I’m feeling stuck on a project, and it’s helped me to make sense of business and creative questions that I’ve been toying with for a while.
Having a notebook to jot ideas down in also keeps me from picking up my phone to type notes down. While this may take longer if I later need to type the ideas into my phone, it keeps me from getting distracted by notifications while Im working.
Set social media limits on weekends.
I used to hit Saturday and think “yay! More time to work on engagement!” Which was flat out terrible for my mental health, and didn’t do a whole lot for my Instagram since my audience isn’t on their phones as much on weekends.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’m a better artist when I am out drawing my inspiration from real life. So when I have an opportunity to go live real life, there’s no way I’m giving it up for a screen anymore. I’ve even gone as far as to delete my app on weekends so I’m not tempted to mindlessly scroll when I have downtime.
Put my phone turned off in the other room while I’m working.
It wasn’t enough for me to just say that I wanted to be on my phone less. If I had it next to me I found myself still picking it up and scrolling mindlessly without thinking. I’ve found that keeping it turned off far away from me is the best way to keep it out of my thoughts and work time. If someone truly needs me for something they’ll email me anyways. It’s just not worth it to have my phone be a priority anymore.
What have you been doing to protect your creativity this year?