Soul Work Planning for Creatives


It’s fall now, and a natural time to think about wrapping up the year and seeing if you’re on track. The big picture for the creatives, healers and entrepreneur shamans I work with is doing enough of their own work to heal, then giving back. Whether that’s an outward contribution or more on the inner realms – let’s say, hearing any ancestral lines. Plenty of possibilities, right?

Don’t forget that the nature of these times demands that you do your soul work amidst the apparent wreckage of world systems that have not been working for a long time. You don’t have to take this personally unless it’s part of your mission. At any rate, don’t let that take over. Small bits of soul work matter.

Like me you may have a more intuitive planning system, har har. The good news is, I get shit done, and it’s the important shit. Maybe it’s slow at times. And that list often needs updating, revising – lot’s of ways to lose track today. Nice though that when I do check back, I see there is some momentum that carries things forward, just by clarifying priorities, and writing things down.

So however this works for you, this is a good time to muse a bit and get those priorities realigned.


I’ve been roaming those productivity stacks for years, as maybe you have dear reader. Let’s just review some common sense bits from both productivity and stress management views.

  • Humans can manage about 5 projects* at once, both work and personal zones (*C Gilkey in Resources)
  • For the important to get done, plan it in. Focus blocks* for Deep work, Admin, Social, Recovery
  • Change is hard but often needed in this crazy earth walk. Hear the signal when it calls. Face it

See the resources below for my latest productivity expert, Charlie Gilkey. But don’t spend too long in any rabbit hole of how to do it, friend. Most of you know what needs to be done in any project, stress management, love triangle, etc. It’s often just taking one small step – and you already know this much of the time.

After a while, I’ve seen though I may think I’ve forgotten my goals, I’ll look back at the log and Holy Cannoli; that shit happened. I trust you here too, that once you take life seriously re: the soul side, you will be guided to the courage this take. You will have the inner knowledge of what you soul work needs now. So focus away. Update things for now, and the rest of the year. Then let’s get to it.

We’re in a construction zone, so it won’t always be pleasant. Breaks are needed. Keeping your eyes on the ball helps with that being in the world but not of it. Not entirely at least.


Whether it’s moving, healing, communicating, bettering yourself and your kin, asking for a raise, getting the old dogs to move over for the new dogs, losing weight, saving for retirement – change is hard. It ain’t no walk in the park, especially those changes that really matter.

Now as soon as you face the pain of change, it often eases. This is when you take a step, face it – active coping. Vs passive where you watch a few more Netflix episodes. People often need to think about change for quite some time before the wheels rup rup rup rup get traction again.

Having the WHY of what you need to change or do – helps a lot. Sometimes that WHY is all wrapped up in some inner healing that needs to happen. That’s OK, all roads lead to Rome so be speak. A lovely city, if I may say.

I’ll include a great writing exercise from Motivational Interviewing, a hot counseling technique I use in training health professionals to best support change. Recently I did this myself and thus, I’m back on track with my weight and fitness goals. (No walk in the park to make that change, but better now.)


When a change is afoot to create, often there is that feeling that one has to “whip themselves into shape”. Sometimes that may work, but … jeesh. Not for me anymore, how about you?

Often sensitives really have to slather on the self-care – in general, and also when taking courageous steps. When you try this, see if the progress also happens. See if your quality of life works better in both the short and long run.

This writing exercise has some internal magic to help you shift gently. To help you “turn and face the” strain (or as David Bowie put it, the “strange”). Just that depth of awareness and honesty helps your whole self consider (contemplate), and move towards the change. Stress shifts from overwhelm to hmmm, what resources might help? (Refresher: Stages of change: Precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance… and yes, relapse. See that there are 3 steps before action.)

There will still be dust in this remodel – let’s get ready to both make that soul difference, and have some fun too.

Blessings on your now, and the crazy year’s end,

Your fellow change maker,

Denise Barnes,


Charlie Gilkey is the CEO of Productive Flourishing, and his new book is Start Finishing: How to Go from Idea to Done.

Why Make the Change worksheet – a tool from the Motivational Interviewing behavior change technique
PDF and the DOCx

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