The Creative Habit

Six years ago, when my oldest daughter started Kindergarten, she was apprehensive about her new endeavor, and my wife and I were even more nervous. To brighten her midday break, I began drawing pictures on 3M Post-It Notes and putting them in her lunchbox. I relished the thought of her smiling face as she discovered my daily creation. Fast forward three years and I was drawing two notes a day when daughter number two started Kindergarten. Some drawings were detailed while others were quick and messy because their alarm clock was now my daily deadline. Nearly six years later I’ve racked up well over a thousand little pieces of artwork, and I couldn’t help but wonder why I have been doing this for so long.

I recently read the book Atomic Habits by James Clear. I thoroughly enjoyed it and then promptly didn’t take any of the advice to form new habits (did I mention I’m a creative?). But it did make me realize my Post-It Note habit was formed because I knew every single day my kids were expecting a new drawing in their lunches. The thought of disappointing them is what was keeping me drawing and for that I am grateful. I realized these tiny drawings were sometimes the most creative thing I would accomplish in a day.

People outside of advertising think being a Creative Director sounds fun, and while it certainly is, the reality is that many days are spent in meetings planning for or troubleshooting internal and external needs. This means I don’t always have the opportunity to use my creativity. Too many days without being creative can lead to restlessness and self-doubt. That’s why having a consistent outlet, no matter how big or small, is essential in this business. These simple drawings have been a catalyst for client ideas numerous times simply because I’m in a creative mode.

Another unscientifically proven benefit my Post-It Note habit has is that both of my kids are avid drawers and crafters. I like to think my little daily drawings have contributed to that love of art. Cheers to inspiring that next generation of creatives.