Part 1: Why Routine, Structure, and Discipline is what you need to get creative

It is not a secret that our life is passing us in lightspeed and we don’t know how to catch up with it. Being in a constant race with societies’ expectations, our own aspiration and duties. And then there are all these articles about how we should take more time for ourselves, take more time for our family, take more time for de-stressing. Meanwhile, bills are flying into the house, children are sick, healthy food needs to be prepared, laundry needs to be washed, just to mentioned few of the daily duties. There is always something happening in our life that makes it difficult to create space for creativity.

But what if I told you that creating a structured routine and being disciplined about it will actually give you more freedom and space.

If someone would have told me that a few years ago when I was lecturing, teaching Yoga (at a studio and in a prison) and working on a development project in South Africa, I would have said “that’s crazy and impossible” because so many unpredictable things were constantly jumping at me and needed my attention. Looking back at that time I wish somebody would have actually proposed a daily structure and routine for me. Even though I had set times for lecturing and Yoga session, I did tend to many other things in a sporadic and flexible timeframe. After doing this for about 5 years I had to take a break from running around and making myself being available to everyone.

I am not a person that can focus just on one project at a time. I love being busy and working on different topics, but I have learned that I need to make my own schedule and stick to it; Having a daily routine helps me be more productive and, most importantly: more creative. Not just in my photography work, but also in problem-solving, writing, cooking you name it.

But why is that? Routine gives our body and mind some structure, and structure creates stability and space to actually relax and calm down our fight-or-flight system. Our sympathetic nervous-system was made in order to protect us, but it hasn’t really evolved to understand that many stressful situations we create are actually not life-threatening (at least not momentarily). By creating a structure, we are giving our body and reliable mindset points throughout the day and signal the body safety and consistency. A structure and routine aren’t always boring. Even though some of us might believe this, – I am guilty as charged -. But by creating these set reliable point in our day, like a morning run, a coffee at 7 am, lunch at 12:30 being and being able to sit down at 7pm just to read a book for 30 min gives our body and mind actually a break. It gives them a chance to recharge and recover. This will make us more efficient at the end of the day.

Creativity is actually what happens between the phase of relaxation and productivity. It is the stage in which our mind produces ideas and connects dots in order to form a picture which we will then try to create. We can’t force ourselves to become creative, but we can create healthy spaces that will initiate a creative process.

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Living a life filled with creativity is something that we all thrive for. It isn’t always the easiest thing to change our routine and motivate ourselves to do so. Though, it does create one of the most rewarding feelings.