Thirsty Thursday

It’s the day after hump day. The weekend is almost at my fingertips, but I’ve yet to overcome my long to-do list before I can really enjoy the exhilaration of Fri(yay). As emails roll into my bank, I make my morning cup of smoky earl grey and plant myself in my favorite chair by the sun-lit window. I watch people across the street rushing to work, walking their dogs, occupied by texting or waiting for a bus, and I realize how routinized many of us are. It’s quite funny really, how we order our lives step-by-step expecting it to lead to the most productivity. Some days it works, and that’s great – but some days I’m sure we all want to shake it up a little, and add some spontaneity and creativity into our schedule. For me, it seemed like today was one of those days.

So what is one to do when you’ve got a lot on your plate, but want to let those creative juices flow? Perhaps you’ve wanted to write a book, open an etsy shop or learn how to play an instrument. Starting a new hobby or creative project doesn’t sound too easy while enduring the daily grind. In fact, during summer I planned to save more time every week to pursue my passion of painting and develop my artistic abilities. I’ve not been regular at painting but I’ve learned it is possible when I set the expectation of allowing myself time to do what I want.

So for all of you incredible, hard-working people wishing to also make magic happen outside of office hours, this one’s for you. Here are my top tips on how to maintain your hustle while quenching your thirst for new, inspiring activity:

1. Take Note

Whenever you’re feeling inspired, write it down! Your most creative and innovative ideas can occur at the most random times, so make sure you keep a journal or small notebook handy to scribble it down. I have a few loose sheets at the back of my planner where I note down moments throughout the day that are special to me, quotes I come across, or paint project ideas that pop up in my mind. Use the notepad app on your phone if that’s easier for you to access. I’m a pretty active Instagrammer and most of my inspiration comes from lifestyle and fashion bloggers, photographers and artists. Some of my favorites are Lauren Hom, MisterDoodle, Murad Osmann, Alyssa Lenore and Bri Emery. You’d usually find tons of screenshots of their artwork or photography in my photo gallery. Once a week, scroll through your notepad or journals to recall and remind yourself of these ideas and choose what you’d like to explore further.

2. Unplug and get in your zone

Shut off all technology. (This contradicts my previous point – no Instagram – the horror!) Take some time during your day to not bother looking at your inbox, TV screen or social media channels. Connect with yourself instead; go for a walk, find a library or a small coffee shop. Get in touch with your surroundings, rejuvenate and revitalize. I find that a little yoga or time by the lake does wonders for my mind and spirit. This is also immensely helpful during artist or writers’ blocks. Remember to enjoy the little things, because the best ideas originate from them. Finding your zone sometimes may mean spending time alone. Not the kind of alone whereby your roommate could be in the next room and might pop in to show you a cute cat meme, but really alone. Listen to your favorite tunes and treat yourself to some personal time and see how productive you can be after!

3. Make it Routine

Make your personal projects a part of your daily routine. Even though work in the office may take priority over creative projects, make sure to balance yourself so that you don’t drive yourself up a wall. I integrate my art time into my planner so that I make sure to give my brain a rest from school or work. This also motivates me to be as productive as I can during work hours so that when I’m done, I feel accomplished and deserving of time for myself. Find resources to help you organize yourself and stimulate your creativity. For example, if you’re interested in starting a blog, use coschedule as your editorial calendar and Hootsuite or Later to manage your social media. Organizing your time for creative activities will encourage you to make it a part of your routine and thus, more fun for you!

4. Just go for it!

… even if you don’t feel like it. Sometimes you just have to dive in, because when will the ‘right’ time be to start your own creative project? This is usually the hardest part. However, once you get started you’ll feel a wave of motivation and inspiration. Keep an open mind and perspective.

5. Collaborate

Spend time with people that mirror your creative energy and passion! Bounce ideas off each other or discover a new perspective. One of my favorite ways to rejuvenate my creativity is by meeting new people, hearing their stories and building friendships, or by catching up with an old friend. I gain inspiration from the people I care about so I make time to see them as part of my weekly routine. Perhaps you could reach out to a local that you admire or ask a peer to grab coffee with you to discuss thoughts and ideas. Sharing my creativity gives me purpose and keeps my heart full.  

6. Bonus Tip

One very important lesson I’ve learned over the past year is being aware of yourself and your ability. Don’t spread yourself too thin or overwork yourself. When you try your hardest to juggle numerous aspects of your life at once, sometimes the results don’t meet your expectations or turn out the way you had hoped. Embrace your work life and your creative life and learn to accommodate your priorities each week. I would rather spend two weeks working on one painting, pouring my heart and soul into the work, than make three different, mediocre paintings. Focus on quality and ensure you’re having fun at all times. Use creativity as a chance to escape your work, school, and stresses, and achieve balance in your lifestyle. Commit to doing only what is right for you, and do something you’re truly proud of.

So squeeze out those creative juices, people! Cheers.

Pooja Shah

Scott MeyerComment