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Unfolding the Year: 2020

February: Creativity

January flew by and here we are in February for a new theme: Creativity!

What does being creative mean, especially in terms of productivity and planning? I’d say few people would naturally associate the two concepts with each other. Creativity usually makes us think of art: making something, often visual, or maybe in writing or music or dance. Productivity and planning makes you think of work: tasks to get done, projects to complete, people and places and things to keep track of. The right side of the brain and the left side.

For me, though, creativity is the base of my productivity practice, far from a tool to decorate a journal and more an essential way of mind when I plan and work. I can’t be productive without being creative, and vice versa — and that’s the concept I’m focusing on this month.

To plan well, I think you need to be creative. Our work day, our school assignments, our responsibilities all throw the unexpected our way, and we need to adapt. If your brain isn’t used to being creative, then it’s a lot harder to accomplish what you need to when your plan has to change for reasons beyond your control. In the past, it used to make me anxious when something wasn’t going the way I planned it. After all, I’d spent so much time figuring it out, surely that meant I had it under control, right?

But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve definitely realized that the key to getting things done is a combination of a number of things, and that doesn’t always mean a simple task list. One of the most important skills in true productivity is, to me, creativity. If my mind is used to saying, “ooh, something came up and I have to fit this in my day all of a sudden; what an interesting problem to solve!” rather than freaking out that it’s not going according to plan (we’ve all been there!), then I’m able to more calmly tackle what I need to adjust, rather than dwelling in anxiety about my plan having changed.

It’s kind of like critical thinking: being able to hold multiple possibilities, decide and try different methods, judge which worked or not, learn from failure, and give it another go. You have to be able to think in new ways, to see an issue or challenge from other points of view, to be a good critical thinker — and those are all things you do when you tap into being creative.

“The way to move information from your head to your heart is through your hands.”

Brené Brown

I think the simplest way to start to get comfortable with being creative in more areas in your life is making art. I’ll admit, I’m probably a little biased in that respect, because I love art (and I’m an art educator in my non-internet life!).

But I deeply believe you don’t need to consider yourself an artist to benefit from what creativity can do for you. You don’t need to show anyone what you make in order to improve your mind through creativity. And if you’re reading this, I’m guessing you like planning or bullet journaling at least a little bit, so I’m sure you already know how creativity can support your productivity practice.

So this month, I’m really excited to explore how trying a new creative endeavor can help my planning. I already feel confident that it can: I’m super excited to be creative with all of you and see what new things I’ll discover!


And so, welcome to February of Unfolding the Year! Let’s dive into the monthly challenge together and explore some ways to be creative. Like we did in January, I’ll compile our reflections at the end of the month. What are some ways you’re excited to infuse creativity this month?

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