Don't miss an episode. Subscribe at Apple Podcasts!
(Or add the CMP to your favorite podcast player!)


Systems (444)

Amy Creative Journey | Data Gathering | Featured | Gratitude | Notion | Philosophical Threads | Podcast | Productivity , , , , , , , , ,

Episode 444 Systems

Episode 444 of the CMP, a Creativity Matters Podcast — talking about systems, identifying a creative “focus” for each day, and tracking daily life. Plus, a watercolor botanicals book.

The intro to Episode 444 is all about systems, simple systems we set up for all kinds of different reasons to help us get through each day, help us reach goals, and help us figure out who we are. (This show follows on the heels of 443: Aimless.)

I listened to Make Time: How to focus on what matters every day recently while walking, and their idea of identifying a “highlight” for each day really struck me. I didn’t like calling it a highlight (which I talk about in the show), so I call it a focus. But I built in a daily “focus” column into my daily dashboard, which I am currently doing in Notion. Every morning, I set the daily “focus,” and then later in the day, when I go through and fill in details from the day, I mark whether I did or didn’t attend to the set “focus.”

Because I work M-F all day, and that isn’t a negotiable schedule, I am setting a “focus” that is from my margins. Maybe there’s a video I’ve wanted to edit. Or maybe I want to write my podcast notes. Or maybe I am behind on something in my journal, and I really want to make sure I do a certain drawing or ink a certain drawing.

How you think about the “focus” (or “highlight”) might be very different, but for me, it’s a way of bringing something from my creative life into the forefront each and every day. Once I identify it, I find I think about it through the day. I find that having committed it to paper (or a digital field), I give more value to the task automatically. That’s powerful.

In this show, I also talk a bit about micro habits. You may have read Tiny Habits or Atomic Habits. The example I gave was specifically inspired by reading a bit of Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything. It expired. I haven’t finished Atomic Habits yet. It keeps expiring on me, too. Both are books you might want to look at (or listen to).

A few other things I talked about related to the daily dashboard: daily gratitudes, “what would make today great,” a daily summary, and more.

What will happen if you wake up and write down one thing you want to make sure you do each day? Try it and find out!

The book I talked about in the second half is Modern Watercolor Botanicals: A Creative Workshop in Watercolor, Gouache, & Ink


  1. I stumbled over this video (and channel) and am so charmed by her. She’s just so incredibly real and likable. I have great admiration for people who can comfortably be so open.
  2. So, I decided to take a look at the Chloe Ting Summer Shred, which is a 28-day fitness challenge.
  3. So, I set up a tracker (lol), and I have tried the first day and am forced to really own up to reality. (I mean, I knew….. but even beginning to try the first day’s set of 5 videos was pretty staggering.) I guess I am going to need a floor mat so that I don’t slide all over the floor, but I don’t think that’s really why I can’t even come close to doing some of the plank-based things. If I can move at all tomorrow, I’ll consider some solution for a mat … or at least put on my shoes next time.
  4. I am in the 4th book of The Realm of the Elderlings. I am still not thrilled to have left the Fitz storyline, but I am hoping this book hooks me soon.
  5. We are in week 18 of #illustrateyourweek. I might be the only one using the list, but I somehow can’t stop. Every Saturday, it’s something I know I have to do… and I do it! But… I also use the prompt set. So, it’s still worth it. It’s hard to believe I’ve kept this up though for so many months.
  6. ICAD (#ICAD Index-Card-a-Day) should be happening in June and July, run by Tammy at Daisy Yellow. If you are looking to buy your index cards ahead, here are the ones I have used:
    • Heavy-duty white 4×6 (I used these in 2019, and 2020) and love that they are thick and bright white. I used Copics with these in 2019. (They are available in 3×5 as well.)
    • Smead tabbed cards (Amazon tells me I’ve ordered these at least 5 times). These are the cards I used for many years. They are cream/manila in color, very sturdy, and have tabs (which I loved). You have to get used to the manila color, but beyond that, they are great. (These are available in 3×5 as well, and I have used the smaller size, too.)
    • These cards come in larger sizes, too, but for ICAD, 4×6 is considered the maximum size. (But those larger ones might be fun for other projects.)
  7. I really, really wish that my sketchbook was available with white paper (rather than cream). Maybe I wouldn’t like that, but I do wish they made the same exact really heavy paper one with white. (I recently noticed that the even larger one I’ve thought about has lighter-weight paper. No thanks!) I’ve counted out pages, and it looks like, with baseline conservative crowding of things on pages, I have just about the right amount left to get through to the end of this birth year. That’s timing I will work with since starting a new one then will be good.
  8. Today is May 4th, known to some as #MayThe4thBeWithYou (Star Wars Day). I drew a quick Yoda tonight, marveling at the turtle-like structure to the lines before the ears were added. It’s been almost 2 years since I went down and saw the Yoda Fountain, the first thing I did on my 50 Before 50 list. Almost two years. Woosh.
  9. Today was Day 94 of the 100 Day Project (#the100DayProject), and the end is just around the corner. It has been almost an effortless challenge. Somehow, this year I picked the right path.

Listen to Episode 444


(This episode is available in many of your favorite podcast players.)


Books Mentioned and Other Related Links




Show Information:

Note: links provided to books, tools, and other resources on the Creativity Matters Podcast website may be affiliate links for which the podcast would make a (very) small amount of money if the item was purchased. The Creativity Matters Podcast is an affiliate. Links are provided for convenience to help you find/see/explore the books, tools, and resources I talk about. Using the library, when possible, is always my first recommendation for reviewing books firsthand.

Links are Amazon affiliate links and help support the Creativity Matters Podcast at no additional cost to you.