Tips For The Unrelenting Creative: How To Give Yourself More Time

Hi everyone,

Lots happening in my world this week! Today, I’m speaking at the New World Symphony and New York University’s Summit on Entrepreneurship, tomorrow I’m honored to give a talk as part of the CMS ARTS ENTREPRENEURSHIP LECTURE SERIES for doctoral students of Latvian Academies of Arts, Music, and Culture, and Thursday, I’ll be on a panel at SXSW in Austin. I’m excited about the next few days and I’ll send a report about my experiences in the next newsletter!

Enjoy your week everyone!


How To Give Yourself More Time: ​I regularly write about tips that help you optimize your life, however, sometimes I wonder if those tips result in a life that leaves out some of the flexibility necessary to be creative and take ideas as they come. ​ ​

Tip: There is so much information about how to plan your day out there, which makes it easy to become overwhelmed by optimization advice. Try to identify one pain point in your life and career to address at a time and seek out the best solution for the problem instead of trying to optimize several areas at once. Or, pursue an unoptimized life ​ ​

Related: Three Steps To Take The Day As It Comes 

How To Use ACT To Get Unstuck: Whenever I get frustrated or stuck by something, my very first instinct is to create an action that will allow me to try to solve the problem at hand. I was well into my 30s before I realized that my proclivity to try to solve a problem through action is quite different from those who would like to go through thoughtful deliberation and contemplation before attempting to get unstuck from a situation. ​ ​

Tip: For those of you who find it difficult to get off the blocks when you are stuck, I would strongly encourage you to consider the Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) framework. Simply put, ACT helps you accept what is making you feel stuck and commit to making necessary changes in your behavior, regardless of what is going on in your life and how you feel about it. There are many resources available for those of you considering this path, but here’s a great explanation of the process to get you started. 

Related: Five Tips To Help You Avoid Burnout

How To Pursue Extreme Brainstorming: Brainstorming with a group of friends is a fantastic way to advance a creative career. Sometimes, I find that those sessions can be limiting if the right questions aren’t asked. The result is often a plan that is narrowly focused on what is already happening, instead of stretching toward something new. That can be frustrating. ​ ​

Tip: The best way to combat limited brainstorming is to ask extreme questions that force you to go well beyond what is currently happening. Starting with extreme questions that take you fifteen years ahead of where you are now before you ask questions that take you fifteen minutes from now will always produce the best brainstorming (and most interesting) results. Not certain of what extreme question to ask? Start here. ​ ​

Related: Ten Tips For Putting Your Ideas Into The World​

Things I Loved

  • Here are 17 high-demand e-commerce ideas for creatives.
  • I love the direct correlation between the downfall of westerns and the rise of sci-fi in this graphic . (also, RIP musicals)
  • This site provides instructions on how to fix just about anything!
  • How do you break bad habits? Create a not-to-do list.
  • I often visit t his sub-reddit when I want to learn about weird things happening on the internet and current events.

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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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