I often like to describe myself as “minimalist, but also a little bit extra,” because when it comes to my lifestyle, I just can’t vibe with the 50 shades of beige, bare bones aesthetic that’s so popular on social media. However, I also can’t handle clutter. And not just physical clutter in my home, but emotional and mental clutter, as well. This is why less truly is more when it comes to creative living. When we’re consumed with too much (too much stuff, too much work, too much thinking, etc.), creativity suffers.
Some creators thrive in messy environments. Mark Twain and Albert Einstein were among many famous figures who excelled in cluttered workspaces. But I think we can all agree the Twains and Einsteins of the world are few and far between. For most of us, disorganization begets chaos, mentally and physically.
Getting rid of the extras can bring focus. Too much choice makes us anxious because we find it overwhelming. Psychologists call this the paradox of choice. And without clutter in our surroundings, our minds are free to calmly focus on what needs to get done.
Not only that, when you break it down to the bare essentials, it forces you to get creative in creating a space that helps you thrive. Think of it in terms of minimalism. Minimalism has been the same: when you don’t want much visual clutter, it takes creativity to add life and warmth to a room.
By choosing hobbies, relationships and work-related matters according to your priorities, you’ll have more time at your disposal. In the creative world, time is your most precious resource. Use a less-is-more approach to design your schedule.
“A busy calendar and a busy mind will destroy your ability to do great things in this world. If you want to be able to do great things, whether you’re a musician or entrepreneur, you need free time and you need a free mind.” – Naval Ravikant
After defining creativity as a core value, ensure that creative endeavors receive enough spots in your calendar. By giving your creative projects the attention they deserve, your creativity will thrive, and you’ll slowly enter a creative groove.
You really don’t need a room filled with fancy equipment or tools. There are some people out there that think getting an expensive new paintbrush or a better keyboard will suddenly make them more creative. That thing inside you that makes you a creative? It has zero to do with the tools you own. It isn’t your supplies, the media you create with or the brand of instrument you prefer.
The thing that makes you a creative is your ability to bring to life something that wasn’t there yesterday. It’s your gift for seeing the correlations in disconnected things. It’s your ability to tell the truth in a way that causes others to resonate with it, too. Try minimizing your possessions so that you have less decision fatigue. Imagine how much time is gained by not having to dig through overstuffed drawers, cabinets and closets looking for things.
So often, those beautiful intangibles that make you a creative get weighed down and blocked out by tangibles.
We often think that more is better. That it creates additional possibilities. But that mindset is counterintuitive to creative living. As you probably know, we are living in a consumerist society. Most people tend to buy more and more stuff to make them happy and feel accomplished. Buying new things is often a common way to show off how much money one has, or even to showcase how “trendy” and “creative” you are. I often wonder what consumerism people in our generation might have forgone had there not been the existence of social media. Because let’s admit it, most of us are influenced to share certain purchases with our “followers” for that tiny tap of approval. How many of those things in your life would have remained unpurchased if social media didn’t exist and no one but you would ever see it?
Instead of focusing on buying more (useless) stuff, spend your time, money and energy on what you love. The less you consume, the more you create.