Increase Your Creativity by Being Your Life’s Editor

Increase your creativity by simplifying your life

Your life is a masterpiece that you create and just like editors edit movies and books you need to edit your life regularly. Adding less to your life can have a huge impact on the quality of your life as well as on your creativity.

Having too many things in your home, at your office and in your car can increase your stress. Taking on too many projects, participating in too many groups and having too many hobbies can also increase your stress. According to research, stress is one of the main enemies of creativity.

How can you change this? By editing your life.

Edit your life

Before you start editing you need to know what you are actually editing and a good way to see the big picture of your life is to step back and write down what you are doing in your life today.

What hobbies do you have? What people are you in contact with? Which projects are you working on? What do you do when you are at home? What do you do when you have time off?

Choose restrictions that suit you

When you have seen the big picture it is time to start editing. Existing research suggest that restrictions can support our creative thinking process and we have talked about it before how powerful restrictions can be for your creativity.

Think about restrictions that suit you. How many projects do you want to work on? Whom do you want to be in a relationship with? What hobbies do you want to focus on? When will you say no in the future so you can say yes to something else that matters more to you?

Easy to say, harder to do

To edit our life we must choose what to do and that is easier said than done because all around us are endless options.

As the psychologist and author Barry Schwartz puts it:

Choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.

Barry Schwartz talks about the negative side of having too many choices in a very interesting TED talk.

  • Regret and anticipated regret: He discusses how too many alternatives reduce our satisfaction with the decision that we make even if it is a good decision.
  • Opportunity cost: When we choose to do one thing we are choosing not to do another thing and that can make the other thing look a lot more attractive than what you are doing, just because you are not doing it.
  • Escalation of expectations: When we have several choices our expectations about the quality of our options goes up which is not good for our happiness because the secret to happiness is low expectations.
  • Self-blame: When there is only one option and it does not fit us the world is responsible, but when there are hundreds of options and you choose a bad option you are the one who is responsible.

What we need to fix this are limitations that we create for ourselves to reduce our choices.

Find your limitations by knowing your vision

We need to edit our lives just like Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter and the founder and CEO of Square, does. The author of the book Essentialism talks about this example: At an event at Stanford University, Jack Dorsey talked about that there are thousand things that we could be doing but only one or two that are important. He has a clear vision for Square and has limited his options to only those who make sense for what they are doing at Square. He thinks of the role of the CEO as being the chief editor of the company.

What is your vision?

What are your limitations?

How will you edit your life?

When you have chosen your limitations and edited your life, how will your life be different a year from now? How about three years from now?

Happy editing :)

About Birna Birgisdóttir

Birna Birgisdóttir is a Ph.D candidate, researching creativity and servant leadership. She enjoys learning new things and has a M.Sc. in International Business, B.Sc. in Business Administration, diploma in Human Resource Management and she is an Executive Coach as well as NLP Practitioner.

Birna loves new adventures; has travelled the world, scuba dived in Mexico, skydived in Las Vegas, surfed in Australia, meditated in India and climbed the highest peak in Iceland.

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