Creatives hate routine. Or do we? Creativity in itself is a threat to the status quo, and status quo, by definition, is routine. The most well-known creatives of our time, though, from Steve Jobs to Elon Musk, all have a set routine. Personally, I love new adventures - I've lived a ridiculous amount of places in America throughout my life - but I often end up having peanut butter and jelly during my home lunch break. This actually helps me stay focused on the important tasks at hand.
There are two reasons why the most productive creative people often do the same thing every day. One is for habit. The other is for energy.
The power of habit
Amateur creatives believe structure constricts the imagination. Professionals understand structure gives us freedom.
I know I'll meditate for a few minutes, take a walk and briefly journal today. I know I'll meditate for a few minutes, take a walk and briefly journal tomorrow, too. Not only is it something I don't have to think about, but it is something I know I can depend on. A client can go nuts, my kids can suddenly be home with a cold and a new speaking gig can fall in my lap - and I'll still have that same structure.
It is fixed and elastic.
Creative Calling author Chase Jarvis talks about how much he fought habit, as he thought it was antonym to creativity. Instead, it became the structure in which his creative water flows. Time management expert Laura Vanderkam talks about how she runs every single day, but how it only began when she stopped asking if she was going to run, but when she was going to run.
We all can experiment with new ways to serve our audience because we have properly structured how to serve ourselves. We have systems in place to maintain ourselves personally and professionally every day. We have a habit.
The power of energy
Steve Jobs famously had a closet full of black turtlenecks and high-waisted "dad jeans". One of the most innovative people in our lifetime had a closet filled with the same outfit like Matlock.
Why? He didn't have to decide.
In the best-seller The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz talks about how too many options disable our strength. We assume that more choices empower us. In reality, each decision takes more energy away - and can eventually create inertia.
Would you rather spend your energy finishing that amazing project or deciding what you'd like for lunch? Just make the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.