Ideas, Motivation, and the best thing you’ve ever done.


And here is the update on the creative work comics I’m making. I will approach it a little differently from now on. The problem I had was that I didn’t have enough space in the panels to convey certain concepts and ideas with the comics. So I changed it a bit: They remain fun and relatable (at least for some people), and the solution to the problems my characters have in the comic will be placed in the caption of my post on Instagram or under the comic in the blog posts.

I don’t want to make just any funny comics. I want to offer solutions to situations that creative people have to deal with every day. That’s why I couldn’t just leave out the help to all the problems. Therefore you have to remember to read the caption if you read one of my comics that you can relate to.

Good Ideas Take Time

good ideas comic

Often we have more bad ideas than good ones. This can sometimes make us feel like we don’t have any good ideas. So we often give up too soon. What helps is not to lose hope and work on the ideas again for a while. Make variations, brainstorm again or maybe try a completely new approach. If we keep at it, then at some point the good idea will be there, which we can then improve little by little. An idea doesn’t come to us in a perfect form, but it has the potential to become great. We just have to keep working on it.

Too Many To-Do’s

To Do List Comic

Too many planned tasks can be disastrous. 🥵 I hear these little empty boxes screaming at me when I can’t tick them off. Let’s stop this so we can sleep better. We always want to do more than we can do. But in the end, our day only lasts 24 hours. And we have to divide the hours cleverly without overwhelming ourselves.

Here are some tips that you can use to better deal with to-do lists.

  1. Plan enough (buffer) time. Most of the time, your tasks last longer than you think.
  2. Never write more on your to-do list than you can do in one day. If you really have to do so many things, then something is going wrong with your general planning.
  3. Do the most important task first.
  4. Have flexible things planned that don’t necessarily have to be done today. You’ll feel better if you still can’t finish them.
  5. Some people only put three tasks on their daily to-do list. Much less overwhelming than an endless list.
  6. Put your To-Do List where you can see it. I have a notebook just for my lists. It always stays open on my desk while I’m working.
  7. If you have problems doing anything at all, it is often helpful to have a To-Do list with just one task. It can be anything. For example, watering flowers. Gradually you can create more tasks when you feel like it.

If you follow some of these tips, it will be easier “to do” your to-do list! And your list won’t annihilate you with empty little boxes. 🔥

When Motivation Arrives

Motivation Comic

Motivation comes and goes. Sometimes it fades faster than you would like. Or in this case, faster out the window. 👉 💥

I can give you the following advice: Don’t wait until you are motivated to work on your creative project. Don’t wait for the muse that may never come. Start with the thing you don’t have the motivation for yet. It is tricky, but sometimes it helps to spend ten minutes working on the task you’re not motivated to work on. The magic is that you can get inspired by sitting down and working. And the inspiration will also quickly give you the motivation you are lacking. Ten minutes can then quickly turn into an hour or more. Try this when you’re waiting for your motivation to appear (or when you see it jumping out of the window).

Funnily enough, I had no motivation to finish this little comic. But I kept sitting down and working on it for a few minutes. And lo and behold, something came out in the end.

Some Good Work At Last …?

Good Work Comic

We sometimes have the feeling that we can’t produce anything good. But then the moment comes when we create something we like so much that we think it can’t get any better.

Yet things change after a while.

We look back on it years later and realize what we created back then is just crap. That’s a good sign. It means we have grown in our passion and we have made progress in our creative life. Those are the moments we need to remember! When we think we’re not moving forward. A thing in the past that we can grab onto when we are in creative despair.

But even if you don’t have those moments where you think you’ve made something great, you can still see how you’ve gotten better.

That’s why I advise you to look at your old work to see how much progress you have made. And use this as a weapon of creativity if you need it.


Those four comics are the first of the new series of my “Creative Work Problems” comic. You will find the new ones I do on Instagram. Stay tuned for more! If you have ideas for comic topics you can reach me here.

4 Mistakes That Cause a Creative Void in Your Mind

Creative Void Illustration

You take the time to create something. Something from your creative mind. But unfortunately, you sit there, in front of this yawning emptiness and your head is completely empty. You have no idea what to do. You still know how to do it. You want to, but you just can’t. Sometimes there are no ideas, other times there is an invisible resistance that you can’t overcome. Your mind is in a creative void. And you need to get out of there.

What many creative people don’t know is that we make mistakes that can create this situation. In this article, I’ll show you four mistakes you may be making and give solutions on how to prevent these errors.

1. You haven’t started yet

Nothing comes from nothing. Often we stand in front of our work and don’t know what to do because we don’t dare to start. But what stops us from just starting something? It doesn’t have to be the finished idea we are working on. A little warm-up exercise can help us get in the mood for creative work. Start with anything! It doesn’t matter what. When you draw, draw something you see in front of you. If you don’t know what to photograph, photograph the first thing you see. Get into the flow of things, get dirty, start! Only then can the creativity come and the ideas that you need for your project.

2. You put too much pressure on yourself

Let’s face it: you haven’t started yet and you’re already worried what you’re doing won’t turn out well. Push those thoughts aside and try to see the journey of your work as the goal, not the end result itself. You are doing it because you enjoy the process, not just to see the finished product. Think of what you are doing as a thing you can learn from and improve upon.

3. You don’t experiment

Sometimes it helps to just let go and experiment. Do something you’ve never done before. May it be a new technique or a different material. Use this to find something that can enhance your normal work. This way you can start with something without putting pressure on yourself and get into the flow of working on something creative.

I once tried to draw only with brushes. In the end, I worked for over a year with a brush and learned important things that I still use in my work today.

4. You have no plan

This creative void often has something to do with the fact that we don’t know what we are doing. What exactly do we want to do and why? Create a plan for it. Are you doing this just to have fun? Then write down what exactly you enjoy doing and apply it to your work. Is it the motivation to learn something new? Then think about what exactly you need to learn and how to do it. You can also plan a whole project that can last weeks or months. That way you always have an idea of what you can do.

I’m working on a comic book in my spare time where I have almost everything planned out. I just have to execute the whole thing, so to speak. That’s why I don’t have any problems with this creative void – most of the time at least – because I know exactly what my goal is and what I have to do for it.

Conclusion

Try to avoid one mistake after another so that the creative void doesn’t stand a chance! Never overextend yourself and don’t feel bad if it doesn’t work out. Changes and improvements need time. Therefore take it!

If you want to read more, I can recommend the short article by Alex Mathers. He writes about a similar void and how he deals with it.

Reflect, Get In The Flow and Endure

Instead of doing a blog post every time I do a” Creative Work Problems” comic, I want to do a batch of three to more comics each time. Today’s post will focus on the old series I did last year.

The new series is quite different and the advice is in the description of the post in each case. This makes them more “blog-able”. Nevertheless, I’m uploading the new series in a collection as well.

But this will come later. Here are the last three in my first series.

Reflect

 Creative Work Problems comic reflect

Even if you are able to work: Reflecting on the things you are doing in your creative process from time to time is always a good idea! You will see problems that you did not even anticipate.

Get In The Flow

 Creative Work Problems comic flow

Flow is my addiction and the reason I do all this stuff. It’s so nice when you get into the flow and I’m always very relaxed in the evening after my creative work when I’ve been in the flow all day. Ask the questions in panel three to get better in the flow!

Endure

 Creative Work Problems comic endure

Every now and then you just have to endure something in order to have it easier later on. That’s why it’s often helpful to move out of your comfort zone and do things that you need to overcome.


Those three comics are the last of the first series of my “Creative Work Problems” comic. You will find the new ones I do on Instagram. The second series is already three comics in! I will post them soon here too. Stay tuned!

Motivation Posters!

Do you need posters for some motivation at your workplace? Some pictures that do something about your procrastination? You’ll find it here! Check out the poster I drew for you and print it out yourself. I will upload more motivational posters and update them from time to time. If you have ideas or feedback for posters, write to me. The high res PDF download is at the bottom of the page!

Tip: If you place the poster in another spot after some time, the effect of this poster will be much higher! If it stays in one place, you will not “see” this motivational poster anymore because you will get used to it. If you put it in another location, you will notice it more again and your motivation will be back!

The motivation posters

Motivation Poster Monster
Motivation Poster Fish

High Res PDF Download Links:

This is an updated blog post (first published on March 4, 2021).

The Habit Challenge

The Habit Challenge Title

Screw annual resolutions! I have a better solution for you, which I have been doing for several years now. You destroy bad habits with it or form good habits that stay. Whether it’s creative habits or you just want to get up earlier. I’ll give you a foolproof guide on how to do it.

Change your Habits with a Challenge

I present to you “The Habit Challenge”! This is a challenge where you try to change your habits every month. Why only one month? Because that is often enough. You always hear about the 66-day rule to form a habit but fuck that. If it doesn’t work after a month, keep going for another month. And another month. Until it just works.

Do only one challenge and change only one habit! Anything else will overwhelm you, and you’ll give up anyway. You have 12 months in a year. Even if you take 2 months for each habit, you will have changed 6 in one year.

Make a physical note or use an app for your progress. Stick a homemade calendar on the wall where you cross off what you have done each day. On the piece of paper, write the challenge itself. Maybe also some information and tips.

The Habit Challenge Calendar
This is how my challenge calendar always looks like. See below how I mark the boxes.

Now and then, you’ll see that the challenge doesn’t work. Maybe one that fails badly. Shit happens. Change it or make a new challenge. If it is important to you, keep doing it to beat the habit into you.

Oh no, the month has already started, I can’t do the challenge now.” Stop right there! Hear this: You can start right now! It will be just a 2-week challenge to practice. Or you do your challenges from mid-month to mid-month. No one is forcing you to go by the traditional calendar. Make your own damn calendar!

The Habit Challenge – A Step-by-Step Guide

Step 1:

Firstly, write down what habits you want or want to banish from your life. Maybe how to change your perfectionism.

Plan the challenge, what exactly you want to do, and when precisely. Make it tangible! A challenge of mine a few years ago was to get up at 6 am, read for half an hour, and be ready to start working early. If you know you can’t do something, you can just start with the 5-minute rule: Do it for only 5 minutes. You can always add more time later.

Step 2:

Then take a piece of paper and draw 31 squares on it. Write the title of the challenge and what you want to do (as said, define it clearly). Put some tips and info’s on it if you feel like it. And anything else too! Let your creativity run wild.

Step 3:

Now do the challenge!

The Habit Challenge Marks
I use these marks on my boxes to get a clear vision of how my month went.

Step 4:

After a month (or whenever you want), sum up and analyze the whole thing.

Here is a list of questions you can ask yourself:

Did it not work? What exactly didn’t work? What patterns do you see in this failure? Can you do something else? Do I just have to keep going? Can someone help me?

Did it work? How did you do it? Can you do something the same way for your next challenge? What did you do better than the last time?

Analyze your failure and your success in detail. Sometimes one part of your habit worked better than another. Figure it out! Only through such a breakdown can you approach the next month better. It took me a few tries to form my perfect morning routine. To know what works and what doesn’t, I had to check and do my challenge again and again.

And you can do it too, now get started!

Blog Update

Hello, my dear friends! I have reworked my little website and put my blog in my undersized portfolio. The reason for this was that I found the blog kind of funky, so cold and boring. Now that it is integrated on my main page, the thing fits me much better! You can see who is behind these articles and the whole thing is much more personal and warmer. It feels so much better! You probably don’t notice any of it, but to me, the blog seems like it’s breathing and living! Maybe I have taken too many drugs. BLOG DRUGS!

In exchange, I now have my store as a separate website, because there were things in the background of my portfolio page that bothered me with all the store plugins. For example, everything was super slow with all this stuff running in the background … Like a 200-year-old man trying to run a marathon. Now my store is on a different running WordPress website and therefore much faster! Rumor has it that my products have become even better to buy! Cough. Cough.

The future of this blog


The goal is to write a post every month around the same topics as before: to help artists and designers with problems in their creative work. Since I was extremely focused on the visual aspect of the blog before, I’m shifting gears and focusing more on quality writing. Of course, visuals won’t be lacking, but I won’t stress myself out trying to draw the perfect pictures for an article. That always slowed me down a bit and they were not always 100% useful. In fact, these pictures with the help of Behaviour Change were supposed to help you change for the better. Did I manage to do that? I doubt it! Send me an email if you disagree!

I will also write the articles for this blog a little bit more humorous because I have a lot of fun writing like this.

There is also a change in the Creative Work Problems Comic, which I will tell you about soon. Stay tuned and see you soon!

Published
Categorised as Blog

How Perfectionism Can Be Good

Perfectionism can be good! But you need the right one because there are two different types: Adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism. As an adaptive perfectionist (the better type of perfectionism) you have high achievement expectations but allow yourself small mistakes for the greater good. You have high standards and you are more critical about your work so you can achieve good results. The best part about adaptive perfectionism ist, that creativity is maximized by persons with moderately high levels of this type of perfectionism.

Maladaptive perfectionists (the perfectionism to avoid) are more likely to procrastinate because they try to avoid mistakes. They are more concerned with making mistakes and with reaching high levels of standard. They think that they are not allowed to do mistakes or do bad work, because they want perfect results. Because of this, maladaptive perfectionism harms your performance!

You can have both types in different situations and different intensities. The goal here is to try to use the adaptive one to your advantage and avoid maladaptive perfectionism. I’ll show you four steps, how to get from maladaptive to adaptive perfectionism.

How to go from a maladaptive to an adaptive perfectionism in 4 steps.

Identify your type of perfectionist you are and when perfectionism occurs

Step 1: Identify your type of perfectionism and when it occurs

If you struggle with perfectionism you probably have already the maladaptive type in the area where you experience those negative perfectionism. You probably wouldn’t count it as bad, if it is the adaptive type. Try to find out why. Is there an area of your creative life, where you allow yourself mistakes? If yes, why? Find out where you struggle the most and where you want to be perfect but struggle less. The better you identify your own problems, when it occurs and how you dealt with them in the past, the better you can change yourself.

If you have determined that, then we try in the next steps to change your maladaptive perfectionism to an adaptive one.

Be aware of the challenging process and obstacles of perfectionism gif

Step 2: Be aware of the challenging process and obstacles.

Fixing perfectionism itself is difficult, even impossible. But we can change how we react to these stressful experiences to alleviate negative effects. Therefore we need to change the self-critic in ourselves. We need to start to allow us to do mistakes.

There will be obstacles and setbacks that will come in this process of change. If you already tried to change, you will know that. A bad day, something not working, not seeing progress, and much more can set you back to zero. Try to visualize those risks that could come in your way to free yourself from your bad perfectionism. Lay down, close your eyes, and envision how you can (and probably will) fail. Figure in your imagination already out, how you get over those failures. If you do that, you will be ready when the adverse environment in the future is trying to stop you!

To allow mistakes and get better over obstacles and setbacks we need to change our mindset as well. It is also not easy and takes time, but it works. Therefore be aware of the challenging process that awaits you.

Change your perfectionist mindset gif

Step 3: Change your mindset.

There is a fixed and a growth mindset. With a fixed mindset, you think you can’t change. A growth mindset on the other hand is a belief that abilities are qualities that can be developed. A person with a growth mindset allows him- or herself mistakes to get better.

Position yourself in this growth mindset. Just knowing that this exists will put you there. Then allow yourself to do mistakes. Try it actively. Do something where you have a bad case of maladaptive perfectionism and just do mistakes. Allow it and do a lot of mistakes! Learn it, train your mindset. Figure out what you will learn from the mistakes you make. How can you improve? Remember that you will get much better with every mistake you make than if you do none at all.

Know that you can change this mindset and always remember this when it comes to problems with your perfectionism.

Set a goal and see the benefits gif

Step 4: Set a goal and see the benefits.

You need clear goals with a detailed plan of how you want to change. Write it down, and put it where you can see it. Write down your “Why“! Why do you want to change? What will be better, when you change? Visualize how you succeed and what benefits you will have if you change! Envision this exactly like the bad stuff from step 2. How will you feel, when you succeed? How does it look like? Do this regularly and it will motivate you to change yourself for the better.

If you don’t write your goals down, you will either forget them or just not take them seriously. So don’t skip this step! It is one of the easiest things to do and won’t take that much time although it has a big impact.

Build a perfectionist Habit gif

Step 5: Build a habit!

This one right here is the boiler of the whole process. The most important step! If you don’t let this stuff cook every day, nothing will happen. Building habits is such a good way to change yourself. Yes, the process is long and it will take time. But you will get older anyway. So why not change while you are on the way? To build a habit we use the way Charles Duhigg writes in his book “The Power of Habit“. A habit consists of these three things: CueRoutineReward. We break them down in our case of perfectionism.

Cue

The cue is the moment your perfectionism strikes and hinders you to be productive. You don’t have to do anything if it is adaptive perfectionism. Remember, this is the good type! Just let it be. If you just can’t work, then it is the bad type of perfectionism and we use this as a cue for our new habit.

Routine

Normally your routine was different. You gave up or got emotional about your creative work. Now, we use the stuff we learned in the previous steps: Why did maladaptive perfectionism strike? Why isn’t it the adaptive kind? Can I change that? Did I do a mistake? Can I learn from that? Convince yourself, that it is ok how you feel right now. That what you are doing is good. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Small mistakes are ok to achieve good results! Here comes the growth mindset into play that we talked about at step 3!

Reward

The reward will be, that you feel better. That you can finish your work even if you had this feeling where you just couldn’t finish it. Maybe you reward yourself with the feeling that you conquered your maladaptive perfectionism and changed it to an adaptive one. You can even experiment with other rewards, like taking a break or getting a nice cup of coffee or tea. Try to figure out what works for you the best.

Something more: Craving

Oh before I forget, there is also the craving, what drives the habit. You will have a craving for the rewards and therefore you will do this habit automatically. So if you reward yourself with good stuff (feeling better for example), then you will use this habit without hesitation, when maladaptive perfectionism strikes!

Conclusion

If you use these steps, there will be a chance that you will figure out a way out of the deep hole of maladaptive perfectionism. But remember: It will take a long time to fix this. If you are afraid that it will take too long, here’s a tip: It will always take a long time. There is no way around it. No shortcut. That’s why it is important to start NOW!

Sources

Wigert, B., Reiter-Palmon, R., Kaufman, J. C., & Silvia, P. J. (2012). Perfectionism: The good, the bad, and the creative. Journal of Research in Personality, 46(6), 775–779. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2012.08.007

Yeager, D. S., & Dweck, C. S. (2012). Mindsets That Promote Resilience: When Students Believe That Personal Characteristics Can Be Developed. Educational Psychologist, 47(4), 302–314. https://doi.org/10.1080/00461520.2012.722805

Duhigg, C. (2012). The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (1 edition). Random House.

This is an updated blog post (first published on April 16, 2021).

My “Creative Work Problems” comic is now easier to read!

If you want to look at all my “Creative Work Problems” comics I did so far or want to catch up with the new ones: I made it easier to scroll through them. I did a new page where you can see the latest of my comics at the top. You will be able to scroll through them in chronological order, and at the bottom, you see thumbnails from all I have made so far. You can find the page in my menu at the top.

I try to make a comic every week. Do you have an idea for this topic of creative work problems? You can send me an email to give me your lovely ideas or just some thoughts of yours!

The new page is still a work in progress. I’m not 100% satisfied yet, but maybe I should not be such a perfectionist. 😉 I’m thinking if I still should do a post for each comic every week. But it is always a lot of work for not that much benefit. I will let you know about it soon.

I wish you a nice day!

screaming man illustration
Your reaction a few weeks ago trying to find the newest Creative Work Problems comic.