In 2002 I met a fashion stylist who told me she had an inspiration notebook created using anything and everything that she could tape down into a book and whenever she got stuck she would browse through it and get inspired.
At the time I had covered my walls with magazine pictures, photos and flyers so the idea of putting everything in a notebook sounded like an awesome alternative to throwing away these striking images that I loved to look at. To this day when I see an image that evokes something in me I cut it out and put it in my inspiration notebook. I have two now that I have been adding to for 12 years. It seems like a complete waste of time to others, but it always makes me feel calm to work on it and anytime I get stuck I open one up and almost immediately feel inspired! :)
Here are some other habits that I have that make me more productive:
1. Coffee once a week with my best friend. Having an hour to talk and caffeinate with someone I can be myself with and laugh with is the best break from my day-to-day and leaves me so energized.
2. Cleaning makes me feel really good. Doing dishes, laundry, sweeping, mopping - its like instant gratification to see a room go from messy to clean so quickly and I have a hard time focusing in a messy environment.
3. Walking. Clears my mind and gives me more energy.
4. I write lists. Tons of lists for everything. I always have a notebook that I write lists in (and I keep all my old ones too so that I can see how far I've come) and for some reason making lists almost always guarantees that I will do 90% of what is on the list. The things on my lists are always doable within a day, so if its a big project then I break it down.
I write a really vague goal, then I get more specific with numbers/dates/results. Then I break it down into steps and then commit to spending time on each step each week until I reach the date of 'completion'. These tasks are included in my daily lists. Its how I learned to touch type, cook, lose weight and work on my character illustrations.
I like that in the class it talked about there being a difference between goals and drive, because right now I really want to learn to write code and it's really difficult and hard to stay motivated. I've been using online courses which help to make me feel held accountable and encourage me to keep going but I do get tired and lose track of why I'm doing it in the first place. I have a much easier time with short goals but with more long term, more difficult to achieve goals I have trouble keeping the momentum going. The only time I have to work on any projects is before 7am or after 7pm so I need that 'drive' to help me wake up early or to work at 7pm when all I want to do is watch tv and zone out. Its something I plan to dive into so that I can use it to remind myself of why it means so much to me.
I loved this course and felt like it gave me so much to think about and also let me feel that even though sometimes I make collages out of magazine photos or get coffee with my best friend, that I am being productive in that it gives me the energy I need to stay motivated and keep going.