11/29/2011 11:29 am ET Updated Jan 28, 2012

Are Your Habits Helping or Hurting Your Creative Output?

Whatever your creative job, project, or dream, we all have habits that either help us or hurt us. Some of us are highly disorganized -- keeping us from staying on task. Others can't say NO -- so they spend too much time doing what other people think is urgent and not what is really important. Still others don't protect their creative time. They allow interruptions, phone calls, emails, and more to break up their focus. You'd be shocked at the amount of time it takes to regain your concentration after an interruption. Some research says 30-40 minutes is what it takes to get back to that same level of focus. It won't take many of those to wipe out your entire day.

That's why you need to begin today making notes of all the things that keep you from hitting your creative "zone." Creative time is far more fragile than time you spend making phone calls, doing paperwork, in meetings or interviews. Build a fence around it and protect it. Otherwise, you'll get to the end of your life without having accomplished your dream or left a legacy.

If all you do with your life is leave a trail of emails and iPhone messages, that does not constitute a life of significance.

What habits HELP or HURT your creative output?