Routines are known to be either our best saviors or our worst enemies. In a world of constant search for the most productive and effective routines, how do we maintain focus on what is best for us?
It’s always important to know what works for you, first. If you don’t experiment with different styles and different ways of doings things, you’ll never truly know what brings the best quality work out of you. It doesn’t matter if you are a professional creative or you do any type of work! Creativity can be found and fostered in any field and every position.
I’m going to share what a typical day in my life looks like and what I’ve discovered allows me to create my absolute BEST and most efficient work. In the past few years I’ve been very proactive in creating a healthy lifestyle and environment for my life – as being a creative person can sometimes mean unbalanced days, long nights and spaces that not only stifle inspiration, but also erode our health and wellbeing.
1. First, it’s the waking up thing…
Having the amazing privilege and joy to work remote / from home means that I can get away with not setting an alarm every day.
I had many years of full time employment when I had to set an alarm for early morning every day and I noticed it has impacted my work drastically. I know that sometimes that’s the reality we must live in and a lot of people do very well with a rigidly scheduled wake up time, but I’m not this way.
Allowing my body to naturally wake up has always yielded more inspired, anxiety free and joyful days. I usually only get cranky in the morning if I have to put on an alarm and be somewhere at a fixed hour every day. Sorry, but this is true…
2. I make sure I get some fresh air every day
Even if it means going out on the balcony for half an hour, taking some phone calls outside, opening wide all the windows and doors early in the morning – I always make sure I get some fresh outdoor air.
Living in fully air conditioned spaces can be good and all, but nothing beats a breath of real air. After all, we’ve been adapting for thousands of years to our natural environments.
Taking time to be outside also helps me be more centered, as I notice birds, nature, nature sounds and a world full of life all around me. It’s a great way to switch the brain from a task, only to come back to it with a refreshed and more creative perspective.
3. I start my morning with coffee, magazines and industry articles
The first thing I do when I wake up is brew myself a nice cup of coffee and I take my time to enjoy it while getting my brain moving in an inspired direction.
Looking at beautiful pictures, artworks, new designs and learning about new discoveries in the art, fashion and design world (especially when paired with mood boosting music), are giving me the motivation and excitement to make great things that day and every day.
Right after that, I do a few basic exercises like abs, squats, lunges etc. together with yoga breathing to get my energy pumped and feel like “I can do this!”.
4. The shower is usually where I get my day planned out
It’s well known that the best ideas come in the shower… That’s exactly why I use that time to think of the projects and tasks I have ahead and prioritize the order and the manner in which each one of them will be tackled.
If it’s a task that involves photography, which is dependent on good light, I try to schedule that task during the day, preferably before noon or in the afternoon at the golden hour; unless it’s a location with great light regardless of the time of the day.
I usually do my best writing in the morning, when I’m still waking up, so that’s when I try to get to it. I also noticed it’s very helpful for me to write either by the pool or on the beach, as the sound of water is very soothing, healing and almost hypnotic for me.
The cool thing about art and design works is that they can be done at virtually any time of the day or the night, so that’s usually what takes 80% of my working day. And the fact that I’m so fortunate to not have to commute every day means that I get to use that time to do even more creative things and allocate extra time to high priority projects.
I literally can’t wait to create social media content and post every day, to get to talk to my peers and to discover new work/collaboration opportunities. Finding ways to make fresh content daily doesn’t just help my skills remain relevant, but also pushes me to step out of my comfort zone and stretch the limits of my creativity.
P.S. You can follow me here: @klangwelt
5. I make my lunch break meaningful
I usually skip breakfast, but I always make sure to cook a healthy lunch for myself, especially as I enjoy cooking very much. I’m a huge avocado toast fan, but I also love sautéed spinach, eggs and kale salads for lunch.
During lunch is also when I catch up with social media and interact with the online community. A lot of people dread having to do the social media thing, but I seriously love it and (especially Instagram!) has been such a great inspiration and growth tool for me over the years. I’ve learned so much about photography, aesthetics, visual storytelling, marketing and simply inspirational people’s journeys just from Instagram.
6. I minimize distractions and energy wasters
There’s nothing cooler than collaboration and working with amazing people in order to bring great products and ideas to life!
However, open offices can be the biggest source of distraction because there is always an interruption in your state of flow given by either overhearing conversations between coworkers, or a constant ring of phones, noise from office equipment and the harmless – yet quite hindering at times – chit-chatting and movement of people. Even in a cubicle environment these things are still present and endless meetings can severely sidetrack your ideas and energy levels.
Working freelance and remote has solved all these problems for me and it has freed up so much time out of the day to be only focused on the projects I need to have done.
Not to say that you can’t get very distracted when you work from home!! Oh trust me, the distractions are endless… There’s always more laundry to be done (why?!), always something that could be cleaned, always something that could be bought, Netflix with your favorite TV show or movie is always one click away and let’s not even start with the trap of endless social media notifications.
The way I deal with these distractions is pretty simple: I make sure that if I let’s say “slip” one morning and end up spending an extra hour cleaning the desk or watching a TED talk, I compensate by doing an extra hour of work at the end of the day or the next morning. I try my best to stay positive and not become my own worst enemy by trying to bully myself into working because I noticed it usually leads to even more procrastination. Instead, I put on my headphones and play some inspiring music, and I don’t even feel that extra hour (or however much) of work. If I’m excited to begin with, it doesn’t even feel like work!
7. I get plenty of sleep every night
Losing nights really sucks. Sorry but there’s no way around this. If I have to lose one night of sleep, it seriously impacts the next day or even several days. My skin doesn’t look as good, my mood is not great and the work output is just barely going through the motions.
That’s why I make sure I get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night and I try my best to not stay up very late. I do sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and find it very hard to fall back asleep for even hours at a time, and that’s when I either read or listen to guided meditations to calm my anxieties and work on myself.
Art direction, creative direction and design have been my biggest passions since the beginning of time. That’s why making sure that I operate at my highest level is my top priority: because I want to bring you the absolute BEST service that you can get out of me.
But enough about me. Tell me more about how you stay inspired every day and what challenges you encounter to remain creative in your field – regardless of job description. Let’s hear it in the comments below!
Thank you for reading.
Hey there, I’m Andreea Kay (aka Klangwelt)! I’m a Creative Director and Visual Designer creating outstanding branding identities – from scratch! – for luxury, lifestyle, fashion and culture brands. I’m passionate about all things art and design. I’m also a fashion and style blogger: Style Unsettled. Follow my adventures!