There’s a moment in Cris Beasley’s interview with GoogleX co-founder Tom Chi, when they talk about how discomfort can be productive, and the role of artificial constraints in helping us move towards productivity. 

I’m a fan of this approach. I find it often helps us bypass the unproductive, often fearful thoughts that get in the way of us pursuing fun and purpose. There are countless ways to play with creative constraints; here are a few that have worked for me:

Making it smaller.

Focusing on play.

Sharing your work-in-progress. (Or giving yourself permission to let it be just for you.)

Setting a timer – or a deadline.

Logging out of social media.

Creating first thing after waking.

Doing what you can, when you can.

Listening to your body’s needs.

All of us have commitments, pressures, and constraints that pull us away from the creative work that lights us up. Sometimes, the most effective way to shape a creative life is to bend with the constraints, accepting the limitations of our current reality and working with, rather than against it. 

Here’s this week’s curiosity experiment:

  • What constraints make you more creative?
  • How can you work creatively with your current constraints?
  • What would be possible if you accepted these constraints as fact, and converted them to creative fuel?

Photo credit: Agê Barros on Unsplash