If you do anything for yourself give your self one hour a day of “mad lab” time. Mad lab time is a time that you give yourself to create, tinker, putter without thinking of results, profits, “followers”, et cetera. This time can be structured yet loose at the same time. You can try to write for fifteen minutes, study a foreign language for twenty, brainstorm for five, whatever but it’s all done in the spirit of play. (In fact, a tight time schedule can be good.)
- it creates an after-burn that can infuse your other activities throughout the day
- it allows you to discover yourself and reinvent yourself at the same time
- when you get to play the universe is happy
- you start to get into the habit of creating
- set a time and place where you can create. It could be a separate office or a quiet room in your house before everyone wakes up. Don’t get hung up on the perfect spot. (BTW…The Little Book of Talent says that a lot of talent hotbeds practice and create in rather spartan or grungy spaces.)
- Have your “tools” easily accessible. A blank pad of paper, your laptop, your guitar and your tuner. Leave the “windows” to the necessary sites open. After a while you will build the physical habit of getting out your tools, which is more than half the step of creating
- you don’t have to broadcast what you are doing to everyone . . . this is your time to cook stuff up. Don’t let the haters and doubters in by revealing too much. (Check out this short article from AJATT “Whose Team Are You On”)
- Play with time. Part of having limited time is that you actually get to turn that into a game. I’ve got fifteen minutes to write. Let’s make something happen. This is one of the non-language learning benefits I got from doing Silverspoon, a Japanese immersion service.
- Repeat. You will have good days. You will have so-so days. But the so-so days send a little life-line, a breath that can feed the “good” days.
This isn’t just coming from me. Steve Chandler explains you should “give yourself one hour every day.” Julia Cameron, author of the The Artists Way, writes of the vitality that comes from writing morning pages every morning. Yukio Furichi also writes about the power of the morning in his book 「１日３０分」を続けなさい！人生勝利の勉強法５５ (30 Minutes Every Day: 55 Study Methods to Win in Life). For me, it seems really important to do the heavy lifting/creating early in the day because it gets the juices going and starts the day with a “win.”
There is a Sufi saying that “You have three hours to live. Two of them are gone.” Get into your mad labs and create.