I admit it: I’m a procrastinator. I like to procrastinate so much that I often “forget” to cook! But for me, procrastinating goes beyond the everyday things, like cooking or doing errands. The most serious procrastination happens when I neglect my creative dreams. When I neglect my creative dreams, my mental health goes downhill.
According to Make Your Creative Dreams Real by SARK, a creative dream “pulls you, draws you in” and “causes glee.” It’s “something you would do for free.” It’s “something you think about with relish, eagerness, quiet satisfaction, or delight.” And it’s especially important for “procrastinators, perfectionists, busy people, and people who would really rather sleep all day.” People who fit one or all of these categories need their creative dreams, but have a hard time taking action. Lucky for us, SARK has a solution.
Start Your Creative Dream With "Micro-Movements"
We often neglect our creative dreams because we expect to do too much in one sitting. The task seems so huge, so overwhelming, that we don’t start it at all. This is where “micro-movements” come in.
Micro-movements are between 5 seconds and 5 minutes in length. They have a “gentle” date and time that they take place, and they can be rescheduled as many times as needed. For example, if your dream is to write a novel, a micro movement could be to turn on your computer and open a file called “Novel.” One woman in the book scheduled a micro-movement to simply open the door to her shed.
Sometimes the smallest steps are the hardest to take. The decision to send an email or make a phone call can feel like signing up to run a marathon. I myself suffer from a sort of email phobia. So maybe you break the task down even smaller. Maybe you schedule writing a draft of the email, and sending it another time.
A New Definition of Accomplishment
Our culture tends to define “accomplishment” this way:
Accomplishment = Effort x Length of time
According to this definition, the more effort you put in for the longer amount of time, the bigger your accomplishment will be. And this is true, to some extent. But what if you’re barking up the wrong tree? What if you’re spending lots of time and energy on something that isn’t meaningful to you? In that case, your accomplishment isn’t going to feel that big at all.
I propose alternative definitions of accomplishment:
Accomplishment = Courage x Joy
Accomplishment = Courage x Necessity
For me, courage, not time, is the most important part of accomplishment. It’s about facing those inner voices that say “this is a waste of time,” or “you’ll never get it right.” Facing those anxious/guilty/sad/angry inner voices is, for me, the hardest battle. It takes immense courage to stand up to them, and to do something anyway.
And then, of course, there’s the joy you derive from the action. I believe joy should be a guiding factor in as many actions as possible.
Of course, not all actions are going to be joyful. I don’t start jumping up and down at the thought of cleaning my toilet. So for responsibilities that are necessary and require courage, we can use micro-movements, or, as I’ve talked about before, the Do It, Damn It technique.
You’ll be amazed how accomplished you feel after completing a micro-movement. Heck, even having one scheduled is progress! If your micro movement inspires you to do more, great! But it’s often these small steps that are the hardest to take, and they need to be taken before you’re able to spend huge chunks of time on your creative dream.
Do you have a creative dream, or many creative dreams? Have you already used micro movements, or is this a new tool for you? Share in the comments…
I’m wishing you a great start to your week!
Source: SARK. Make Your Creative Dreams Real. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004. Print.