Today, I have two tips to help you be more creative and productive. These two ideas come from these two books that I like. The first book is “The Power of Habit,” by Charles Duhigg, and the second is “The One Thing,” by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan. So, what are these two tips? They're very simple, but if you can apply them to your life—something I've been working on in my own life—it actually changes everything.
Charles Duhigg talks about the importance of having a keystone habit in his book, "The Power of Habit." The keystone habit is basically that one thing that you could focus on that would most help you in establishing a habit or a morning routine. For example, I've been working on getting up earlier and actually getting started with my day and being really consistent. So, the first five things I try to do, I try to do the same things each day every single day at the same time. And by doing that, then I just get in a routine, and I actually don't think about it. The reason why that works really well is that your mind becomes used to it, and you're actually saving energy because then you don't have to think about it. You just do it on autopilot.
So what is the keystone habit? Well the keystone habit is that trigger that helps you start your creative routine. For me, it's getting up at 6:00 a.m., and usually I am out of bed and actually journaling and writing my to-do list for the day by 6:30. And the next thing I work on is the most important thing in my day. I try to do this by 8:00 a.m., and then I can get a workout in. All of that happens pretty easily if I can just get up at 6:00 a.m., so that has been my keystone habit. So, tip number one is to establish a keystone habit that then establishes your routine for the morning so that you can be more creative and productive.
Okay, the second tip for you is something called the lead domino. This idea comes from this book called “The One Thing.” “The One Thing” is all about focusing on that one thing that matters the most and actually eliminating everything else. The idea is that by focusing on and identifying the most important goal, everything else falls in place. Identifying the small task that you can take action on that will make everything else go easier.
For example, let's say that you want to become a picture book author/illustrator. Maybe that lead domino is just journaling every day in your sketchbook or in your morning journal. That's something I do. I journal all the time, and I'm able to come up with lots of ideas. That first task of journaling will basically get you on the road to making everything else. So from there, I can take those ideas and refine them into a manuscript. I can make lots of drawings, and then I can turn that into a picture book dummy. And then you're already in that process of making a picture book. Now if you do that consistently, you're going to make lots of stories and reach your goal of becoming a picture book author or illustrator.