The Top Five Micro Habits Creatives Should Adopt Today

male constructor drawing draft on paper roll

I often take on too many big ideas at once, which prohibits me from doing my best work.

Instead of working on my big ideas that may be two to three years in the making, I’ve been working on a much more granular level.

Over the past six months, I’ve developed a set of micro habits that help me in my creative pursuits. Micro habits are small, incremental changes to behavior that can lead to long-term success. They are easy to incorporate into daily life, and require very little time or effort.

The key to making micro habits stick is consistency and repetition. By starting small and gradually increasing the difficulty of the habit as I went along, I was able to get more comfortable with the small tasks I set for myself.

These small habits often compound and lead to significant improvements in my life, including areas such as physical fitness, productivity, and personal development.

Creatives love to live in the big picture but root their artistic practice in the development of micro habits, which means that this concept is not really a surprise for most of you. I once spent three months practicing the first ten measures of the overture to the Marriage of Figaro in preparation of an upcoming audition. For 45 minutes each day, I spent time perfecting my double tonguing and methodically worked to improve my facility on the bassoon, all in preparation for a five-minute audition that was months in the future. I gladly put in the work because it helped me become a more complete artist.

That got me thinking about what micro habits might be important and relevant for creatives to consider. Here are five micro habits I adopted that might be helpful to you:

  1. I make time to create each day. If I don’t create each day, I don’t feel productive, no matter how much I am able to get done. Block off time for your creative work before you start the rest of your day, every day.
  2. I start each day with a plan. One of my most important micro habits is to set my calendar for each day. I prefer to do this the night before my next workday so I can start the day fresh each morning.
  3. I eliminate one thing each day. Setting up a micro habit to look at what can be removed from my calendar is a great way to set priorities and maximize my time to create. What I love about this micro habit is that I get to do it each day. That means I don’t have to eliminate the same thing every day, but it does force me to think critically about my priorities.
  4. I set time aside for meditation, movement, or monotony (boredom) each day. My most creative days happen when I save some time to be in my thoughts. If my day gets too overloaded, it is impossible for me to be in the brain space to create. (Note: I try to set time aside for all three each day)
  5. I prioritize my sleep schedule. If I want to be on my game as a creative, I have to get a good night’s sleep every night. That means setting a micro habit to try to go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.

I’m not able to achieve all of these micro habits each day, but when I do, my life is better. What micro habits have you adopted for your creative practice? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!

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Nate Zeisler is the Dean for Community Initiatives at the Colburn School in Los Angeles. He envisions a world where students majoring in the arts have a clear path to a sustainable career, where creative minds are empowered and inspired to rule the workforce, and where access to the arts is not just for the privileged few, but for all.

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