Happy New Year! The TechSoup Canada team is thrilled to welcome you back to our blog space with a brand new series dedicated to exploring the intersection of our digital lives and wellness. Here at TechSoup Canada, we believe that making time for our personal wellbeing is how great teams can do great work. To set us up for success in 2022, over the course of this series we are going to take a look at how tech tools can support our self-care and help us achieve our goals as individuals as well as a team. In this post, we’ll start by looking at how infusing creativity into our daily practice can lead to the creation of great work habits and provide a fresh new take on setting resolutions and yearly goals.
Big Resolutions or Daily Practice?
The start of a new year can be a powerful motivator and a source of inspiration. In fact, chances are you’ve heard the word “resolutions” being bandied about a fair bit this week. You yourself may have been inspired to sit down and brainstorm goals for the year that just started.
Just as common this time of year, though, is coming across articles that denounce the end of ‘New Year’s resolutions’ or that explain why so many of us have such a hard time staying consistent with our goals. With that, little is said about the value of starting small. Humble first steps, repeated over time, can lead to the creation of rituals which can grow to become a powerful practice. And it is precisely the cultivation of a personal practice that can be life-changing. No big proclamations or big gestures involved! As James Clear writes in Mastering Creativity: "It’s the mastering of daily habits that leads to creative success, not some mythical spark of genius."
"To get the creative habit, you need a working environment
that's habit-forming. All preferred working states,
no matter how eccentric, have one thing in
common: when you enter into them, they compel
you to get started."
–– Twyla Tharp, dancer & author
Perhaps your team already has valuable rituals and practices that have proven successful over time. That said, a new year is also a great time to bring fresh eyes to long-standing habits and evaluate them: what is still working well? What needs tweaking? What opportunities are waiting to be discovered? What could you take a chance on and experiment with this year? Or, to put it another way, what daily, weekly or monthly routines will you introduce this year, and why?
Tips & Tricks for Building Your Practice
When it comes to setting a personal (or team) practice, opportunities are virtually endless! Below we have rounded-up some of our favourite resources to help get your creative juices flowing and think about what kind of experiences you want to pursue in 2022:
What better way to stimulate your creativity than to learn about how other people approach their own practice? WePresent is a digital hub, run by file-sharing company WeTransfer, that tells unexpected stories about creativity. Their platform is full of fascinating articles documenting creative practices, team-building experiences, overcoming obstacles to follow your passion, and lots more. Dig through their archives to get inspired about what you, too, can achieve this year! Some examples include: Mind games: How is creativity connected to our mental health?; Institute of Queer Ecology: seeing the natural world as more inherently queer; A Vibe Called Tech: The history and significance of Black media; plus writing in stolen pockets of time; ageing in the workplace; screen-free career goals and making social work for you.
TRYING A NEW HABIT:
If you’re curious about other ways to manage your time and approach your work, trying one of these established techniques may be up your alley. The Paper Clip Strategy creates a visual trigger that can help motivate you to perform a habit with more consistency. The Pomodoro Technique can help you learn how to focus in incremental units of time. Starting with a blank page can be daunting, or you can learn to see it poetically. Productivity Journaling creates a record of the progress you’ve made, allowing you to reflect on your productive performance and see where you can improve. Or try a new ‘to-do app’ to see if there’s one out there that’s just for you!
TAKING YOUR TIME:
Looking for more? In this video, author Tim Hardford shares how innovators find their inspiration and productivity through cross-training their minds through an approach known as "slow-motion multitask," which involves actively juggling multiple projects and moving between topics as the mood strikes -- without feeling hurried. In fact, time is a key factor in any of the approaches listed in this post. Rather than feeling pressured or forcing yourself into productivity habits that don’t work for you, remember that what might be the most revolutionary act is lowering expectations, being kind to yourself, and acknowleding† that time moves a little differently for all of us in the first place!