Monday, March 31, 2014

Managing Your Day-To-Day: Part 2 - Everyday Activites that Decrease Creativeness

 I tend to struggle with procrastinating and pushing things back towards the end of the day because "I have time later." Even doing and completing those tasks can hurt you in the long run, especially right before bedtime. Whether you work on these tasks or just even check social media before laying down at night, it can affect your sleep schedule by jogging your mind at a time when it should be winding down.

Futhermore, screen apnea can affect one at any point during the day. Computer screens, iPads and phones all can cause screen apnea, which is the phenomenon of holding one's breath when performing simple tasks that include a screen. As I type this, I am catching myself holding my breath. Breath-holding contributes significantly to stress-related diseases. Also, your body becomes more acidic, leading to your kidneys absorbing the sodium that is produced from the acidity. This all causes your oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitric oxide balance to be undermined, which throws off your biochemistry.

The biggest cause of this is the use of social media since most spend so much time looking at their screens. Use social media mindfully to not only decrease screen apnea, but to also not was time during your day that can be used on other creative tasks. Log-in with intention and set boundaries and why and when to check. This will free-up more time than you think during your day.

Other ways to improve your creativity lie within what you do in your free time. Hobbies such as gardening, painting and reading on your own terms improve creativity while also letting you do something that you enjoy. Even a blog, such as this one, takes creativeness to manage, while also promoting literary citizenship.

As always, follow me on Twitter: @2hundo

Monday, March 17, 2014

Managing your Day-to-Day - Part 1: Starting Your Day off Creatively

I recently read Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind as a part of a book presentation for class. While usually these kind of presentations aren't my thing, the title caught my eye, hence why I chose it.

I will be graduating in May and the search for a job has already begun. While many students in the Literary Citizenship class are creative writing majors, I, myself, am a journalism major. I do enjoy reading, but find it quite difficult to pick up a random book out of my interest range, which is probably one of my detriments.

Until recently, I found it tough to stick to a daily routine while balancing everything on my plate (school, job, extra-curricular activities, etc.). This semester, I am interning at 501 Life Magazine and that has slowly brought me into a solid routine but I still struggled with managing what is essentially a "big-boy" job with everything else. Managing Your Day-to-Day gives tips and tricks for not only managing these things, but also the book improves your creativity and focus.

One of the toughest things I have found through my internship is to balance and manage e-mail. Being a journalist, I do several articles a week, talking and interviewing multiple people and organizations for each. E-mail is my go-to when communicating with these people, whether it is to interview them, set up the interview or ask follow-up questions.

The book says to deal with e-mail on a priority basis. Too many workers today drown in their own e-mails and end up spending most of the work morning sending and replying, that they can't begin on actual work until after lunch. As much as we want to please everyone, we have to understand getting our work done. As the book says, "it is better to disappoint a few people over small things than to surrender your dreams for an empty inbox."

It is crucial to start your creative work at the beginning of your day, with reactive work being secondary. Avoid meetings until after lunch, capture your commitments on paper to avoid stress and find out the times of day that you have the most energy. The more frequent you work on something, the fresher it is for your mind to work out issues. This can be applied to almost any sort of work whether it is writing a book or having an office job.

Creative work jogs our minds which stimulates brain activity, avoiding that "2:30 feeling" that comes from such things as responding to e-mail all morning, which results in ourselves not achieving a sense of accomplishment thus shutting down our bodies.

Part Two will take a look at the myth of multitasking, creativeness amongst chaos and creative solely for yourself.

If you are interested in the book, you can find it here.

Follow me on Twitter: @2hundo