We all have those days: we wake up, frantically searching for which number on our never-ending to-do list to tackle first. Unfortunately, the anxiety and stress these days evoke can often kill our creativity. Here is a list of 6 creative habits to adopt for a calmer and more thought-provoking workflow.
Start the Day with Purpose Waking up early and starting the day with half an hour of free creativity can help shift your mindset into its designated ‘purpose’. For example, if you’re an illustrator, start the day with half an hour of random illustrating before you focus on what a specific client is looking for. Many creatives agree that starting the day with emails and admin first thing is a way to kill creativity and derail your artistic flair for the day. So try to ignore any admin – especially before you have even put two feet on the floor.
Vary Routines to Allow for Flexibility With different seasons, come different energies and with different weeks come different perspectives. It feels as if we are living in a Groundhog Day-like world at the moment and for this reason, changing up routine can be a way to add a sense of variety to each day and this, in turn, could mean we create more exciting work. For example, if you work out first thing in the morning in the sunlight of a summer morning, why not try it at midday in the winter rather than in the dark of 7am? Subtle changes to your routine can bring excitement and new energy, while still leaving enough structure to maintain productivity.
Protect Your Best Working Hours Protecting your best hours is as simple as this; if your most creative and productive hours are 12-2pm, avoid meetings, phone calls and procrastination temptations within this time window. Even the smallest distractions can kill the vibe; studies find that for thought-intensive work, it can take up to 25 minutes to get back in the zone following a break.
Break Up the Day The beauty of working at home is that we have the freedom to work how we work best. Maybe you work best in 3-hour shifts with a one hour break or perhaps you like the old school structure of a nonstop 9 to 5 with a one-hour lunch break. This attitude also applies to breaking up your day not just per hour but per task. Perhaps you work better if you have all your meetings between 2 and 5 pm which leaves 9 till 2 free for creativity and focus.
Free Yourself from your own Rules Another positive of working as a freelancer is that you set the rules – so don’t be a mean boss to yourself! You’re in control of your own to-do lists so view them as an achievement and a sense of productivity rather than a constraint and a creativity-blocker. Be that boss and enjoy the sense of control as well as the freedom that it brings. To avoid feeling restricted ensure your work environment is comfortable and relaxing – play some good music, light a candle, have herbal tea or some snacks on hand.
Schedule in thinking time as you would working time
As creatives, how are we expected to create our best work when we don’t set aside time for reflection. As we all know, the key to writing a good song, designing a great logo or constructing a game-changing makeup look is taking the time to think. Stepping away is a fundamental step in the idea generation process. For some, the way to do this may be meditation, for others a walk, for other, the thinking process may unwind as you cook lunch or bake. Whatever it is, schedule in at least half an hour for your brain cogs.