Saturday, April 22, 2017

5 Tips on Staying Creative, Maintaining Balance, + Finding Peace | The #CreativeBossBae Series

photo credit: Chymere Anais. iPhone 7+. Sun in My Belly Cafe ATL
Lately, it feels like I've been in a creative funk, where I haven't been able to focus on much of anything or refuse carve out time to dedicate to the projects waiting to be completed. Even this post was something that was put off for a while, because it felt hypocritical in a sense, because I wasn't at peace with what I was building and creating.

Now that I'm in a much better place creatively, I figured what better time than now to release my personal thoughts on staying creative, as well the introduction to #CreativeBossBae, which is a brand new blog series that aims to be a go to guide for inspiration, motivation, and resources for the art of the hustle. Not sure if this will be bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly; I'm still working out the kinks, but hopefully it's something consistent.

The most important thing is to allow things to flow, although this just might be one of those easier said than done things. We all have deadlines, whether they are implemented by our boss or ourselves, so things need to get done, but it's better to think about quality and not rush through something half-ass. 

Learning how to work on a strict schedule is tough. For freelancers, 12-16 hour days to work on their own dreams may not even start until they clock out of a full time day job. And then having somewhat of a social life and getting a decent amount of sleep is added to the madness. It's the age of the hustle for most millennials, I get it. Your go hard or go home work ethic and steadfast ambition will take you places, but it's still all about balance. Take an hour or two per week to evaluate your schedule and find ways to level out the playing field more efficiently to avoid driving yourself completely insane, ultimately burning out while neglecting other important things in the process.

In other words, stop and smell the roses. Often times, creatives tend to trap themselves in caves until they finish an assignment. I certainly do this, especially when I'm super invested and my motors are running, because I don't want to lose my idea or slow momentum. However, I'm learning that simply going outside to get some fresh air helps me focus a lot better. Go for a walk. Find a quite place to gather your thoughts and relax your mind a bit. Catch up with a close friend over brunch. All of these things are rather simple ways to stay balanced and not get so caught up in work that you forget that a world exist outside of your work/creative space.

Gather your belongings and change the environment in which you work. Sometimes, all you need is a change of scenery. Most coffee shops offer access to free wifi with any purchase. When I lived in Greensboro, NC, I loved to go to places like Geeksboro to fulfill task I could quite do at home. It may even be a helpful to do things the old fashion way using pen and paper and brainstorm ideas outside or at the park.  Perhaps, you live near and are able to afford renting out creative/work spaces like Nex AtlantaWeWork, or Jig+Saw, so it may be a good idea add that to your monthly budget. Take a day or two to explore your local town or city to find some cool places that provide a cozy atmosphere that you are able to work in. 

I'm super bad at this, because I'm obsessed, but it's definitely something I'm working on. We all know how addictive social media can be, especially when there are so many different applications (Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.) to sort through, but try to be cognizant of how much time per day you're essentially wasting scrolling through and refreshing your feeds. Actually, it can be a barrier that's stopping your own thoughts/ideas to flow freely as they could, as well as disabling you from getting shit done. Because the internet can totally be a distraction, breaks are absolutely necessary.

Listen to an uplifting podcast read a book by an industry expert and/or celebrity you're personally inspired by without distractions. Have a conversation with someone in your support system or someone you can exchange ideas freely with. Allow other reliable people to guide you in a more positive direction.

I truly hope this guide helps. Although it can be quite challenging to stay focused in such a hyper active realm of technological advancement, always know your ideas matter. Yes, there's a world that is waiting to receive what you have to offer, but protecting your peace is just as important as producing quality work and what better way to respond to your purpose than to start with peace of mind?

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