Everyday Rituals Can Bring Creativity and Productivity | TechWell

Everyday Rituals Can Bring Creativity and Productivity

In our neverending quest for innovation when developing technology, we too often overlook the launch pad that everyday rituals provide. Rituals get an underserved bad rap as boring—or worse—stifling. To get our creative juices flowing, productivity seminars exhort us: Think outside the box! Shake up your routine!

However, those whose livelihood and life’s purpose depend on being creative day-after-day—writers, poets, artists, and musicians—have long embraced their personal rituals.

In a Paris Review interview, the Nobel Prize-winning poet Derek Walcott was asked if his writing was ritualized in any way. “Any serious attempt to try to do something worthwhile is ritualistic,” Walcott replied.  

And when asked in "Meet the Writers" if she had any special writing rituals, Sue Miller, author of The Good Mother, had this to say:

I write longhand, in notebooks, for my first draft; and also on the printed-out versions when I do revisions on typed drafts. As a result, often I'm not even working at a desk. Part of what I like about working this way is, in fact, the ability to roam the house while I work, to follow the sun from room to room, to work in bed if it's cold out. I have a particular kind of pen that I like and buy by the dozen.

The late Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Carol Shields, author of The Stone Diaries, once said in an interview that she started her writing by reading the dictionary. 

My favorite trick, which seems rather eccentric, is I have a huge dictionary in the room where I write, and I open it at random—you know, the way people used to open the Bible for inspiration, they just open it—and I read a page of the dictionary. What that reading does is it puts me into that cool, quiet place of language. Because the problem with being a writer and having a busy life is that it's not just finding the time to write, it's finding the time around the time, where you can be calm, and where you can re-enter that fictional part of yourself.

When certain behaviors are repeated, the stage is set. It can be as simple as the first cup of coffee in the morning, performing the sun salutation, or whatever works for you. Consider that it’s not a bad thing when you make a habit of whatever ritual prompts your creativity—and ultimately your productivity.

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