Purge first. Creativity second.

For creativity, you need to get rid of the crap. Your surroundings are a reflection of who you are, and the state of your environment is a reflection of the state of your mind.

I work best when everything is in its proper place. At this point, I should make a disclaimer. Everyone works differently. You might work well in crap. I cannot. The piles and dust and general disorder weigh on my mind. Like a big stinky dump truck with tin cans tied to the bumper that clang against the sides of my brain. No, I do not work well with disorder.

Chaos and confusion within your to-do list will also make a mess of your mind. You must do the thing you think you cannot do. Get it out of the way. Right now.

For me, it’s tough to deal with accounting-related tasks. Not only because I am so clearly a right-brained person, but because I’m also directly responsible for my own salary. It’s incredibly stressful. So I sub-consciously avoid the numbers game because it’s difficult and hard and sticky.

But it’s also incredibly important, so I push it to the forefront daily. After all, the show cannot go on without money, and I really love that thing called eating. So while I would really prefer to be brainstorming the next big idea, finishing the accounting makes me feel just as good, euphoric even.

Purging your to-do list of items that bring you anxiety means not only crossing off the difficult and boring tasks, but getting rid of the items that suck your energy.

For instance, I have a habit of adding unnecessary to-dos to my list. Items that are so ridiculously broad such as “recruitment,” or so entrenched in abbreviation like “LM to SC and in DB & Ltr” that I have no frickin’ clue what I’m supposed to be doing or where to start. Such items are now banned from my college-lined notebook. Don’t let them show up in yours. Sneaky rascals, those to-dos.

It’s kind of like the style shows where they embarrass people into dressing properly. The fashionable teach the outdated, passé, and defunct how to rid their closet of negative energy and bedazzaled Capri jeans. By doing so they make the simple act of getting dressed a retreat of confidence, coolness and beauty.

Now, just think if your to-do list were that sexy.

Face your work woes. Creativity will follow the work that you do and the risks you take.

Work woe no more.