Tea, Dailies, and Inspiration

January 14, 2013 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 10 Comments
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Happy New Year Everyone! Being that we’re now 2 weeks into 2013 I thought it’d be a good idea to honor one of my new year’s resolutions: updating my blog more frequently. But being that it’s been quite a while since I’ve done this whole writing thing, I wasn’t really sure what to write about. So I figured I’d write about something that has been affecting me a lot lately as a creative type: getting inspired. Sometimes I don’t like to work until inspiration strikes, but unfortunately this can be quite problematic because let’s face it — sometimes inspiration just doesn’t strike. And when your whole career revolves around being inspired, that pretty much sucks. So over the years, I’ve tried to come up with ways to work around this little problem, and I thought I’d share my most important one:

Baby steps help you reach a state of flow.

Being able to work is all about being in that state of flow where your ability to do a particular activity (and having the confidence to do so) is at the appropriate level for engaging in said activity. The reason we often feel overwhelmed by tasks (despite the fact that we’ve succesfully completed similar tasks in the past), is because we aren’t warmed up yet. So when I am not in the correct state of mind to delve into a creative project, I often take baby steps in order to warm up my brain. Each time you complete a task, you feel a burst of confidence in your ability to be productive. The more of these “bursts” you have, the bigger tasks you can take on.

One of my favorite things about World of Warcraft, is that it is the perfect forum for taking baby steps of productivity and accomplishment. I think this is why MMOs in general are so appealing — They are built to tap into that part of human nature that desires to be productive, in a very consistent and quantifiable way. And while there are a lot of people who get addicted to this type of virtual accomplishment (or the aspect of escapism that an MMO provides), when used in moderation, it’s been a very helpful start to a productive day. I have adopted the ritual of making tea, and doing my WoW dailies while drinking tea and having a light breakfast. Often, preparing the tea takes a bit of time (especially when I follow the Samovar Masala Chai recipe), which I enjoy because it helps me relax. When I finish this ritual, I feel more confident to move onto other tasks. But it’s still a gradual progression. I move from WoW dailies, to household chores (making the bed, washing dishes, etc.), to running errands, to actually getting work done. Sometimes I can skip straight to working, but when I’ve gone for a while without touching a project, the progression really helps a lot.

Especially when you’re in a rut, making a list and tackling even the tiniest of duties is so incredibly helpful when it comes to breaking out of an uninspired state of mind. If you are wandering around in your pajamas and you don’t feel motivated to do anything, just try to pick up one thing and put it back in its place. Then force yourself to go wash a dish. Keep forcing the mundane little tasks until your brain decides to release some endorphines once it realizes you’ve just accomplished something. I’m not even kidding. I’ve had days when I feel like there is no point to finishing projects that once brought me so much joy and inspiration; I’ve felt apathetic and unmotivated. It’s at those times that you have to remind yourself that your projects have not actually lost their merit, you’re just not in the right state of mind. It’s all very chemical — Give your brain that feeling of accomplishment little by little, and it can help tremendously with getting back on track.

——–

Oh, one of my other new year’s resolutions was to make a new video each week. I’m not sure how realistic this is, but I’m going to try my best! I kicked this off with “Kingyo Hanabi”… hope you enjoy ^___^

10 Comments »

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  1. It seems I always lose motivation/feel apathetic & useless lately… I think I’ll take upon your advice!

    One mundane task at a time… (*stares at dishes*)

    T__T

    Ok maybe I need to take babier steps…😄

  2. Good tip, I think in the winter (at least here where it is cold and dark) it’s even harder to get inspired to do things. Making a small list would probably be a good idea to help push through.🙂

  3. I had a friend who used to procrastinate over washing her dishes. One day she timed herself, and it took her less than 10 minutes to wash all her dishes. She realized she probably spent more time over the past two days thinking “I should do my dishes” than it took her to wash the dishes. So I’ve learned if I am procrastinating over anything, I tell myself I’ll just do this for 15 minutes. Usually I am able to finish the task if its small, or make a good start on it ( and often have the momentum to keep going past the 15 minutes ).

  4. You know, I’ve never thought about my inspiration that way. I should try that out. And actually just… open the program and put something down. Doesn’t even matter if it’s terrible, a bad piece of work is still better than no piece of work, because you can improve on bad, you can’t improve on nothing.

  5. Well said Ms. Shigihara! I find completing tasks to be a nice way to ramp up the momentum too; it’s like activating the checklist-effect, heheh. I think often times the act of initializing the productive phase is the most difficult, so having something that eases into the sense is really helpful. And the tea ritual reminds me of this interesting study on creativity, which basically mirrored the benefit of doing rote & undemanding tasks in gaining creative momentum: http://tinyurl.com/a7rlve5

    The Kingyo Hanabi cover was absolutely beautiful and serene; listening to it made me feel at peace. Also, lovely hair! It’s very exciting that you’re planning on posting these videos more regularly. I think the 1-camera thing in the video worked out really well, and it might be good to just keep this format for the regular videos, since it’s easier to stay on track when less technical work is involved — and this format is more than captivating enough as it is.

    Thank you for sharing these with us, and keep up the great work!

  6. Agreed! Sometimes I feel so lazy and unmotivated; can’t get anything done, and can’t get my brain started up and inspired enough to write. Then once I start forcing myself to take these “baby steps”, I get this feeling of accomplishment and then want to do more. =3 Also, beautiful, beautiful cover of “Kingyo Hanabi”, it stirred up a lot of emotions in me. I also want to say, I love your music a lot. =3 Keep up the amazing work, and God bless you!😄

  7. Well said…couldn’t agree with you more. The more we try the better we get at it. Completing tasks is excellent, but attempting to do a task is a worth while effort. If you try a hundred times and succeed only once, you are still doing better than to never try and succeed at nothing. Keep at it every one.

    Garsi.
    From Adelaide-Australia.

    PS: You are awesome Laura, love your youtube channel🙂

  8. omg there was a period in my life where I was completely obsessed with Otsuka Ai and this really brings me back… I need to listen to her music again. Thank you<3

  9. You know… I’ve been asking myself why the past seem much more happier than the present… Then I read your post and it felt like the door in my mind opened a little to the light… Thanks for sharing your method… I think it will work for me =)

  10. You’re an inspiration! Thank you for the words of wisdom and all the smiles you’ve been putting on my face for years ^^


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