Like most artists, I’m often inspired by those around me. A friendly smile, stimulating conversation, and gentle encouragement are often what push me beyond my self-imposed creative boundaries. As creators, we should never forget the value of like-minded (or not-so-like-minded) friends.

A few nights ago, my friend Joshua Wentz shared one of his prominent resolutions for 2013. As a musician, producer, graphic designer, and label owner, he is always busy. We’ve been in close contact for most of 2012, and often discuss how to remain creative amidst the chaos of everyday life. He is unique, intelligent, and never lacks new ideas.

So, as we sat in the bar, he boldly proclaimed that he has enough active projects to, if finished, carry him through 2013. He has a list of current projects, and reserves the right to append ideas until December 31st. Beyond that, he will only allocate time to existing ideas. Ideas of 2014 will be noted, but nothing more, lest they usurp valuable time.

Initially, this struck me as odd. But after further examination, it’s actually quite intelligent. My biggest problem is following through, and I don’t feel alone. Most of my career was spent on unimportant projects for uncaring clientele. On each one, my determination was fueled by currency.

Everyone needs money, I understand that, but my current projects are about more than paying bills. They’re about personal satisfaction, and if I leave them undone, how will I feel?

Joshua isn’t alone. I’m erecting creative guard rails to guide my life in 2013 as well. Maybe I won’t need them, but in the event of a fiery crash, I’ll be glad they exist. Could your work benefit from a few rules too?