There’s a common misconception about inspiration. Most of us think that it will just appear on a whim; that one moment we’ll be minding our own business, and the next, we’ll suddenly be struck by a bolt of genius!

You know we’re all about living life with intention here at Day Designer. We believe in carefully planning, creating, and cultivating what you really want in your life. And inspiration is no different.

Sure, there may be moments when the muse shows up — usually when you’re in the shower or driving, right? — and you’ve suddenly figured out a brilliant new way to solve a problem at work, or write that book you’ve been dreaming about, or help your child understand their math homework. But more often than not, “finding” inspiration involves actually going out and looking for it; it requires planning for it and cultivating it with intention and purpose — just like everything else in your life.

The good news is that’s not so hard to do! Here are just five ways to create space for inspiration to come through in your life:

1. Schedule Time for It

To create space in your schedule, you actually need to add it to your schedule! It seems almost counterintuitive, but you need to give this space the same priority that you’d give any other important commitment in your life.

In a 2017 New York Times essay, financial planner Carl Richards, said: “Don’t wait around for creativity to strike. Strike creativity! Invent an obligation for yourself so you have to be creative on purpose.”

Your life is undoubtedly already filled with obligations — why not intentionally make space for one that you enjoy? We’ve shared tips for scheduling time to be creative before. Try adding a block of creative time to your calendar every week — or even every day — and you’ll be amazed at what you can create.

2. Remove Distractions

Here are a few things that are pretty much guaranteed not to inspire you: Netflix binge-watching, texting with friends, and social media notifications on your phone. If you want to be inspired, try giving yourself the physical space to see things in a new way and let your mind roam unencumbered by the usual distractions.

Turn your phone off or put it away. Turn off the TV and hide the remotes. You might even try just sitting in stillness for a period of time.

We’re all bombarded with input these days, and our minds are constantly whirring with everything we have to do, have to read about, have to watch, and have to know. We’re getting so much information on a constant basis that there’s little room to actually experience anything new.

Turn off the information firehose as best you can, even if only for a few minutes every day — and find out what else might come through.

3. Take Yourself on an Artist Date

In her book, The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron suggests that all readers take themselves on a weekly “artist date.” The solo venture is meant to give you space every week to explore anything that interests you. It basically forces you to make space for inspiration in your life.

While it may not be realistic for you to sneak off by yourself for several hours every week, consider how you might incorporate your own version of an artist date into your regular life: Could you set aside time in the early morning hours of every day to take an online course in an area you’re interested in? Could you ask a friend to join you at the local museum art exhibit? Could you ask your partner for an hour of uninterrupted time on the weekend to dive into a new book?

Whatever an artist date looks like for you, the key is to create space in your life solely to explore what inspires you.

4. Ignore the Rules

Though there aren’t many hard and fast facts when it comes to inspiration, most people have found that it’s quickly scared away by self-editing. If you decide that whatever is coming through is bad or wrong when you do feel inspired, you’ll likely also quickly find that nothing comes through at all.

Ignore the “rules” that dictate what you are supposed to do or what you are supposed to be inspired by or what you find yourself motivated to create in these moments. Simply let it come through, make a note of it in your Day Designer, or start creating right away!

5. Write It Down

Whether you journal, make lists, or doodle — write about whatever is inspiring you or coming to you. Much like the dreams you remember just as you wake up, inspiration can quickly evaporate and evade you if you don’t take the time to write it down.

Try to keep all of your thoughts in one place — such as in your Day Designer — so you can always turn to it when you want to start working on a creative idea, or when you simply want to get your inspiration wheels turning again.

How will you make space for inspiration in your life this week? Share your insights in the comments below!