The creative timeline to inspire the right frame of mind for new projects

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Han Starne pinterest

Han Starne pinterest

A new project can feel overwhelming since there may be no precedent established – you may have written blog articles but not a researched book, you may have offered random podcast tidbits but not an established course, etc.  It may be difficult to stay motivated in a world that is unfamiliar and taking longer than you had hoped.

From an Ayurvedic perspective, the Pitta dosha is the humour responsible for manifestation. It is responsible for breaking down complex ideas, seeing the solution easily, organising workflow methodically, and keeping the passion. The energy of Pitta can be used as a tool to assist those that are haphazard in their workflow and those that lose motivation easily or find it difficult to see the end result.

Most business/personal coaches have a lot of Pitta dosha in their personality.  They have been put on this earth to drive things forward.  They like a pat on the back and thrive on achievement. An imbalanced Pitta will need to spread their name and fame irrespective of what is taken as a sacrifice, whereas a balanced Pitta thrives on good work, and doesn’t require the credit to feel a sense of satisfaction. In both cases, however, they are further motivated by achievements.

Since you are all creative risk takers; willing to be in a place of constantly pushing your boundaries in unknown territory, which is what small business ventures are about, using the energy of Pitta dosha can help to stabilise your ideas and provide motivation to keep going.

I have inspired the idea of the creative timeline to help with this process. The basic idea is to establish  your own version of a timeline somewhere visible (your working space) that can show where you’ve come and ideas on where you’d like to be. We tend to do daily journals and the largest time frame we can glimpse in one view is monthly. It is a good approach for daily tasks but it doesn’t give the whole picture feel.

There are project management software packages but that can feel sterile for some, and again, the width of the visual experience is on the computer screen. Use the design process of keeping the project line visually available in your workspace and use that space exclusively for that so the mind knows to check in there for motivation as needed. (I also recommend paying homage to the area with a vase of flowers or a golden framed picture of the goal)

Following is some ideas on how to approach your creative timeline. Remember, its part informational and part inspirational and can be used each time you start something out of the box.  The idea is to be your creative self and add to your workspace as part of your thinking process.

The creative timeline (bullet journal)

Create your base timeline. It is important to view the outline of your intended project so it has bookends that close the idea in and cements it to earth.  This is a form of project costing from the management accounting world that attempts to intimately follow the step-step process from idea to out the factory door in order to cost it and possibly reduce cost where it lags in efficiencies.

You can see your project as a similar kind of production process. Map it out so you are able to concentrate attention at certain parts to affect future decision making – the important part of this process is becoming familiar with what the milestones are. It’s also about creating something that inspires the process to continue and possibly taking note at what certain tasks took to make – for example, perhaps the next time around you may hire an editor rather than self-edit after you realise it took much longer and had less enthusiasm associated with it than other areas OR preferred to self-edit and organised yourself better to create more discipline and inspiration in the process next time. When something is new territory it feels like it takes longer than when a route is established – similar to when you’re driving a new route in your town. There is more energy used at the “newness” of the project as each stage of development requires absorption.

Vata personality will enjoy seeing their ideas form in an organised manner. Pitta will enjoy seeing the accomplishments associated with the project.  Kapha can imagine associating the task to a boss to report to in order to consistently motivate.

Breadcrumbs approach

This is the process of breaking down your project into manageable and reportable tasks. If you are creating to deadline as a professional it is good practise to be clear (or at least conscious) about how to create blocks for tasks that can be reviewed.   Once the idea is at hand, visualise it in parts and create your own system of observing how each part plays out.

You may also be the type of personality to think backwards, ie, you prefer to just move with the flow and allow the project to appear in due course, and then your approach will be to retroactively observe the process into tasks taking notes as you’re moving along.

The purpose is bringing awareness to your creation as a business and aiming for a system that has as much consistent flow as possible and outsourcing when others have a better flow that you do.

The older I get, the less impressed I become with originality. I’m far more moved by authenticity. Attempts at originality can often feel forced and precious, but authenticity has quiet resonance that never fails to stir me.
— Elizabeth Gilbert "Big Magic: Creative Living beyond Fear"

Productivity zone

Organise your zone outside of your actual work time. Some people wait for a muse to enter a particular state to create.  That is out of one’s control and usually not the game plan for regular artisans making to order for a living. To create a rhythm in a daily routine, to include some quiet time and food practises that enhance digestive capability, can improve resilience in the mind and the ability to work through obstacles with the drama.

How do you come to your work? Are you aware of your eating/sleeping/resting patterns having an effect on the kind of work you do? Do you notice you are more self-critical when your regular life feels in disarray? Do you give up easy if your digestive system feels bloated and gassy?  This is a very un-romantic view of productivity (versus the elusive mystical muse) but something to consider.

You are your best asset.  If your idea is the CEO, then would you hire yourself as its employee?

Tracking pace

This is where, if you are familiar with the Ayurvedic approach to body care, you can track your natural energy by season.  There is a tendency to start the year on January 1 and expect that your energy will be consistent throughout the year.

Some people find the intensity of summer increases the heat in their bodies and minds so much that they are unable to think clearly and may find they are not achieving as well as they would like. This kind of mindset can turn into perfectionism and may result in throwing out the baby with the bathwater. In turn it might be a better time for socialising for these types and inadvertently networking on a broader scale.

Some may find the cold restrictive element of winter reduces their desire to socialise but instead may be conducive for going inwards and being reflective and creative. You may decide to retreat at this time, schedule public appearances outside of this time or at least in warmer climates.

There is always the opportunity to create a diet and lifestyle to counteract these natural tendencies which can be part of the project awareness exercise. We tend to think in a linear fashion when completing something. Alongside knowing where your natural talents lie and where to outsource (where possible), it can also be helpful to know when you are naturally geared towards certain tasks and when you are going against the grain.

Your timeline can give you an annual visual of where you expended most energy and whether your pace was consistent or tended to cluster with parts of action and non-action.

Transferring it workflow software

There are quite a few project management software tools available and some of them are free. Workflow is an important aspect for creative businesses. It can provide feedback from others in your team as well as assigning specific tasks to team members.  You can add attachments that relate to the project, forecast workloads once information has been collected, allocate due dates and review the performance once all is done.

Here is one article (  I found via the search engine that rates the software.  It is a case of trial and error as to what suits your needs. There are a ton of articles written in the same vein and this is simply an example to base your research upon.