It’s the beginning of the month. All my readers have written their monthly goals on neon index cards. And I know that many are finding ways to be more creative and artful in their lives.
The energy of setting goals and being more creative is kind of the same energy. It’s about teaching yourself to live in a more proactive and self-directed state. To set your intent. To create and not just spectate. To take action toward a desired outcome. That’s pretty much the crux of what personal development is all about. And coincidentally, it’s also what creativity is all about. (Though creativity has an element of allowing that’s sadly missing from lots of the personal development verbiage out there.)
All of this is a life-long process, of course. But ultimately, you’ll get crystal clear in seeing how easily your own thoughts, actions and habits can throw you off course, and how important even the tiniest choices are.
You’ll notice that every item on my list of ways to be more creative is about being proactive or interactive. This is why I don’t like television much. For the most part, it’s just a way to sit back and go unconscious. No interaction. No pro-action. Just setting your mind’s dial to “Numb.”
And then there’s the computer. And email. Many people wake up and go right to their computer and check email. Their computers rule them. Email rules them. It is their precious. I, too, have fallen prey.
I see email as the great Reaction Distraction. Email ostensibly gives us something to do (and usually, it’s pretty unimportant in the scheme of things) so that we don’t have to make that choice ourselves. We get to just react. This is much easier than making our own decisions about our day, our priorities, or our creativity.
Email, with all its benefits and efficiency, can also be the number one mindless activity we do in the morning to get our adrenaline rushing and make us think we have to get going, get in with the pace of the world, jump in, and jump in now.
So, one of my intents this month is to not check email til noon each day.
Now, before you start pouncing on me in the comments about how I can’t possibly expect you to do this, look at the sentence just before this one! Notice how it says, “one of my intents.” I invite you to join me if you’d like. Right now I’m sharing this just to get you thinking. These are my observations and my reasons.
So, why would anyone be so very bombastic as to request that you delay the morning ritual of rushing to the computer to check email, blog comments, stats, other blogs, news, and weather? (pant pant pant)
Here are seven great reasons:
1. To be more self-directed and in control.
Checking email first thing is a little like saying to your subconscious or to the universe, “No thanks. I don’t want to determine what my day is going to be like today. I’d rather have the outside world set the mood, decide the to-dos, generate a little adrenaline, and let me know how it is out there from the mindset of the mass consciousness.”
Putting off checking email and beginning your morning in a more self-directed way allows you the space and time to determine how you want to think and feel throughout the day.
2. To set your own pace for the day.
For many people, checking email brings up huge anxiety. The unknown surprise jumping out at them. The drama that makes them start running. The oh-so urgent item the client must have and must have now.
Waiting until noon allows you to set your own pace and your own priorities for what will take up space in your schedule and in your head that day.
3. To have a SPAM-free morning.
Do you really want to wake up to Nazaire VanCleave who writes you emails with subject headings like, “Shame of sex? We can help!” (Yes, this is an actual email from today’s round-up.) Or would you rather invite your cat or your dog or your spouse or your child or your angels into your morning circle? (None of whom, I imagine, are shame of sex.)
4. To be different.
Being different is in. Thinking different is in.
Even though marketers and ads would have you think that being different is all about driving a VW Bug, having a Mac, cranking up your iPod Nano and shopping at Whole Foods, that’s not different. That’s just more stuff.
Be really different and step out of the mass-consciousness mind-set. Don’t check email when everyone else is rushing to check it. Let their days and their lives be dictated by outside stuff. You have more important things to do. Like morning pages and reading index cards and meditating.
5. To eliminate the endless scrolling through the constant stream of cutesy animal emails.
Now, I love animals. If you don’t know that, then you haven’t seen me perform live. I even have a song about rescuing animals called Four Legs Good Two Legs Bad. AND, I have seen more cute animals hugging other cute animals in emails than I probably ever need to see. Yes, some of them are uplifting, and you can file those (in fact, I know you have) and look at them at times when you need a smile. But there’s a point at which you have to say to yourself, “Yes, Mr. Winkle is, in fact, the cutest dog in the universe. But do I need to scroll through 87 pictures of him in one email?”
6. To Delay You’re Exposure to Bad Grammar.
Why don’t people care about they’re usage of the english language when their writing email’s and shouldn’t you wonder if the constant exposure to such careless destruction of this marvelous medium is effecting you even though the fact is that grammar is what your good at?
7. To Create Your Day.
Allow me to get a little Bleep-y here.
Your morning sets the tone of your day. If we’re all creative, (and we are!) then you have the chance to create each day by taking some time with yourself to do just that.
When you first wake up, you’re at your most vulnerable and open. The first part of your day builds the momentum and intent for the rest of it. What you feed your mind and your heart those first few minutes and hours can have an enormous impact on the unfolding of your day. Do you want the voices of the crazy world to do that for you?
If you’re skeptical, just try this for one or two days. Call it an experiment. See how you feel. And see if it doesn’t make a difference in your productivity, creativity and overall outlook.
Let me know how it goes!