Do you have a Thinking Cap?
Something you wear when it’s time to get down to business and generate ideas?
Perhaps you have some other creative totem that you keep close and “activate” when you want to get into the zone or trigger your flow state. For me it can be as simple as brewing a cup of coffee and inhaling that aroma as I sit down at my desk or get out my notebook to begin work.
I’ve heard about writers who create their own ritual around lighting a candle when they sit down at their computer to write. While the candle burns, they churn out the work. Some even use a scented candle to add another sensory trigger to let their conscious and subconscious mind know that it’s time to get down to work.
Some people sit in a specific chair or work in the same part of their house or office when they need to be productive. Others (I fall into this category) have a “work soundtrack” — specific songs or music or bands or albums they listen to in order to be at peak productivity. My preference is usually instrumental movie soundtracks (Pirates of the Caribbean is a favorite) or Celtic or New Age music or classical music from Mozart, Beethoven, etc.
Did you know Stephen King (yes, THAT Stephen King) owns a rock radio station in Bangor, Maine? Yep! WKIT 100.3 FM is “Stephen Kings Rock Station”. He and his wife Tabitha actually own three stations now, but legend has it King bought the first rock station and let the company run it any way they like, but if he’s in the middle of writing and wants to hear AC/DC, he can call the station and have them start playing whatever he wants — and keep playing it until he calls them back and says it’s okay to return to their own playlist.
It’s not like I’m friends with Stephen King and can ring him up to check the accuracy of this story, but for illustrative purposes it works just fine — to get the best work out of yourself, you need some sort of signal, ritual, or totem that tells your brain (and perhaps tells other people around you) that you are serious about what you’re working on and will bear no interruptions while you’re wearing your fez, burning a candle, playing AC/DC (or whatever your particular creative focus manifestation might be.
So put on your thinking cap, brew that pot of coffee, hang the “Do Not Disturb” sign that you stole from the last hotel you stayed at on the door to your office and get to work!