Ruts are inevitable in the creative industry. In a time where everyone can access hundreds of millions of different designs spanning decades, it can be difficult to find your voice and in result to feel creative. I used to struggle with creative consistently, especially after viewing other's work on Pinterest or Instagram. One day it hit me, I am my own unique individual and when I stay true to what drives my artistic soul, I am being creative. Telling myself I was not common place and surrounded by beauty helped boost my creativity, but here are some other tips I follow when I hit a rut!
START THE DAY INSPIRED
It's easy to be busy, but it takes work to be productive. One of the best things I've done in my personal life and encourage peers to do as well, is to start the day inspired. So many mornings our phones are the first things we grab. We spend the first few moments of our new day looking at what others are doing and what is trending. If I am being honest, I'm more prone to compare my work to others and feed off of their creativity when I start my day on Instagram, e-mail, or Pinterest.
Taking some quiet time for yourself in the morning sets your day on the right tone. I always feel motivated and fresh instead of overwhelmed and downhearted when I spend 20 minutes involved in something that will help my personal growth. I highly reccomend Make It Happen by Lara Casey, The Best Yes by Lysa TerKeurst, The Daily Book of Positive Quotations by Linda Picone. Plus, lets face it, most of us are busy creatives, moms, wives, and friends - we might not always take special time to work on ourselves, but its so vital to the creative process.
Living well and boosting your creativity is the fruit of taking care of yourself, first. I challenge you to grab a positive book and read for a few minutes before your feet hit the floor each day for a week. Let me know how it changes your creativity and work day!
CREATE A BLOCK SCHEDULE
Block scheduling is a hidden gem among freelancers and creatives. Basically you section off your day according to tasks. Block scheduling allows you to break down the tasks of a project, keep track of the time put into a project, and creates a day-to-day plan for your business.
One way I like to use block scheduling for Sweet As Honey Studio is for keeping track of the creative portion and the logistical portion of running a business. My mornings are dedicated to completing a project, while my afternoons are dedicated to blogging, financing, research, and marketing.
By sectioning off my day, I don't miss anything on my to-do list. I leave more time for feeling creative. Since all of my work is written on a daily plan instead of floating around in my head. Here is an example of block scheduling that I generally keep to:
6:15 - 8:00 - prepare for the day, read something inspirational, yoga
8:00 - 9:00 - answer emails, send emails, prepare for project
9:00 - 12:00 - work on project
12:00 - 12:30 - lunch break
12:30 - 1:00 - break, read something inspirational, go for a walk
1:00 - 3:00 - blog, research, network, finances (you can assign a day of the week to each)
3:00 - 4:00 - meetings, consultations, continue work on project if needed
4:00 - 5:00 - emails, social media, continue work on project if needed
MAKE USE OF A TIME MANAGEMENT APP
Ever heard of the app 30/30? Its a task manager and works wonders to keep its user motivated and on time. At the beginning of each day you log in the tasks needed to get done, your breaks, and set a timer to each. 30/30 is great for block scheduling since you can section your schedule down to tasks.
When I am working on a project, I can set my 30/30 app to allow for 15 minutes to review an inspiration board, 30 minutes to paint, 30 minutes to edit, and 10 minutes to upload the content onto a personal web page for my clients. If you get a task done earlier than the allotted time, you can check it as done and begin on the next task.
The beautiful thing about 30/30 is it keeps its users grounded. Once you have your tasks logged for the day, it will add the total time needed to complete all of them. If I've put in 10 hours worth of tasks, I know I need to save something and put it on tomorrow's agenda. If you don't get a task done, you are able to swipe it to the bottom and either save it for the next day, or finish it after all your other tasks have been completed.
30/30 is a freelancers' dream. A simple, minimal approach to to-do lists and time keeping.
JOT DOWN DAILY VICTORIES
Creating a beautiful, intentional product takes time. Jotting down daily victories is a positive reflection of what went well that day. Ultimately, you are one step closer to your goal and deserve to feel accomplished, even if the finished task isn't complete.
Successful entrepreneurs take time to acknowledge the good work they and their co workers have done. It sets a goal to be completed by motivation instead of exasperation. Happy people are more creative people.
GET SOME GOOD TUNES
Good tunes stimulate our imagination. They put our minds in a better mood and unlock creativity. It's really easy to reach for the remote or Netflix when you work from home, but when the research comes in - music does more for your mind and productivity. Researches say to be mindful of volume and tempo when playing music while you work so it doesn't become distracting. I made a playlist of tunes I love to listen to in the morning, but when it comes down to it - listen to what you love.
During a training for the 7 Habits of Highly Effective people, we were taught the metaphor "big rocks and little rocks." In this exercise, you are given a container with small rocks and big rocks on the side. Your goal is to put as many rocks in the container as possible. The big rocks represent your life's biggest priorities: family, dreams, health, etc. The small rocks are lesser priorities, things that, if they don't get done, will not affect reaching your goals. When you accomplish all of your small rocks first, you will have no time for the big rocks. On the contrary, when you accomplish the big rocks first, you will have more time for the small rocks.
When you schedule your day around getting the most important tasks finished, you will have more time to accomplish the little things. You'll have more time for creativity. Here is an excellent video depicting the "big rock and small rock" exercise.
TAKE MINI STAYCATIONS
Rest and relaxation are the best friends of creativity. I encourage taking short trips to new places to help boost creativity. Sometimes experiencing new places, foods, and cultures gives our minds and imagination the creative boost needed. There is so much offered in our own backyard, so go explore your town!
What ways do you boost your creativity?