In 2013 Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel¹ gifted humanity with the Disney animated film, Frozen. The film was a major success, earning over $1.2 billion worldwide. Frozen was not only one of Disney’s biggest hits, it also gave us the best advice as we begin a new decade:²
Let. It. Go.
Is it cheesy? Yes. But cheesy doesn’t mean invalid. If we want to be the best we can be and free ourselves up to create, we need to let some things go. We may live in a world with endless opportunities, but our time is a finite resource.
Let me paint a quick picture:
Do you have more unfinished drafts than Wikipedia articles? Is your “to-read” list filled with an entire library worth of books? Is your browser bursting with “read later” articles and bookmarks? Is your Netflix list overloaded with episodes from shows you haven’t watched?
If you answered yes to any of these — or came up with your own list while reading — then you need to let some things go. Every thing we hold on to holds a little piece of our brain. How can we expect to tap into our creative selves if we’re spending so much time and brain-power on all this stuff?
To harness our creativity, we’ve got to clear up some space. Besides, letting things go isn’t only freeing, it’s cathartic and fun, too!
Here are some things to let go of today so you can free yourself for creativity tomorrow: (oh, and every time you read “let it go” must read it in Idina Menzel’s voice.)
Check your browser of choice. Do you have dozens of bookmarks (or maybe open tabs) that you just know you’ll need some day? Spoiler alert: you won’t.
Take 5 minutes and pretend you’re the bookmark predator. Your mission in life is to exterminate bookmarks without prejudice. Get in there and kill! Kill! Kill!
Ok, that went a little dark. But you get the idea. If you haven’t visited the page or opened the tab, you don’t need the site. So let it go!
I’ve got dozens of drafts that make zero sense. I’m sure “writing a book doesn’t have to be intimidating” was the best idea I ever had at the moment, but today it’s just nonsense. What does it mean? Where’s the follow through? And hell yes it’s intimidating.
Take 30 minutes and be honest with yourself. Read through old drafts and if they make little sense, let them go. If you don’t want to delete your inspired thoughts I give you permission to put them somewhere else. Maybe a journal entry? You must get them out of your drafts folder.
Every time you open that folder you see each random idea that was once great but never developed. Instead, open your drafts folder to a blank page of possibilities! Open that drafts folder and — sing it with me now like your Princess Elsa stepping out on her ice porch — let it go!
Did you know our brains are only capable of maintaining about 150 relationships? Yet we’re compelled to follow thousands of people on multiple platforms. Twitter, Insta, Facebook, LinkedIn, Medium… our following habits are out of control.
This one takes a bit of time, but it’s so worth it. Take 30 minutes PER PLATFORM and comb through every person you follow. Do you interact with this person? Do you enjoy their content? If you don’t have a compelling reason, let them go!
Mash that unfollow button (or at the very least, mute them). We don’t have to follow everyone. There aren’t rules.³ Unfollowing people means our timelines are shorter, which means we can spend less time on other people’s content and more time on our own.
Pull up the Screen Time app on your phone. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Look at last week’s top apps and how long you spent using them. Are you happy with the results? Did you need to spend an entire workday on Instagram? I didn’t. You know where this is going… it’s time to let it go. You have two options that each take 15 minutes.
Option one: set usage limits for apps that suck your time and attention. Give yourself 15 minutes a day for Twitter. 5 minutes for Snapchat. Whatever makes sense to you. Set the limits and stick to them. When the app times out don’t get frustrated. Instead, use the time to create.
Option two: delete the apps. Do you need Facebook in your life (ok, yes, you do for our book club)? Whatever app you can do without, let it go. Let it go and don’t look back. See what kind of time you can pursue your own creative projects instead of mindlessly scrolling through feeds.
Want a bonus step? Ok, you deserve it. Regardless of the option you chose, take your favorite writing app (Medium doesn’t count) and move it into a place of prominence on your home screen. Put it in the dock. Make it so you can’t avoid it so it’s always there, ready for use.
Remember, our time is finite. If we let go of things we free up time for other pursuits. Why not enter 2020 with time freed up to create? Go out there and let it go.
1: Not Adele Dazeem as John Travolta would have you believe. This was six years ago and it’s still funny.
2: I understand 2020 is technically the last year of the current decade because there was no year zero. But, we’re not getting technical here. We’re all about that let it go mindset.
3: “No right. No wrong. No rules for me. I’m free! Let it go!”