TFL: No 56 How i changed my routine to stay creative

TFL: No 56 How i changed my routine to stay creative

They say the more years of experience you have the easier it gets. But it’s oh so easy to loose yourself while freelancing and more specifically really mess up your routine / schedule or have none at all. You might have read about my daily routine throughout the past years and how well organised and structured i am. It was something i was really proud about myself. Well, i was until this year! I don’t know if it’s me getting older and slower, or if it’s just that i put too much love and attention to each project i work on, but my normal working routine has long gone off the window.

At first it started with two more hours on my 8-5pm schedule, then skipping a few posts, working on less personal projects and then working 13 hours a day. I don’t know what i expected, but i know for sure no human being can live a normal life working so many hours a day and stressing on the weekends. Sadly, i wasn’t able to do much about it so i went on like this since last summer. Boy it’s been a year now! No wonder i look 10 years older.

After realising how poorly and unhappy i was (last week yay) i thought it’d step in and change a few things. My routine now looks completely different from the last update that obviously wasn’t quite successful. Instead of listing a 9-5, i’ll share with you the changes i made.

01. A DIFFERENT PHILOSOPHY

The only things i will keep from my older schedule is the audiobooks. I love multitasking and when i don’t multitask, i always feel like i’m not doing enough. Plus audiobooks create a beautiful and calming background for when you work. Obviously they don’t go on and on even when i’m replying emails, but mainly for the design process.

Here is though, the biggest change i needed. All things happen for a reason right? Well, last week i had this hole in my chest as if something was missing from my life. Maybe it was just me being sick of zombie / post apocalyptic novels haha. But seriously now, that’s how i started browsing books about Buddhism. Like, why waste time listening to stories, when you can actually learn something new?

I was overwhelmed by having it all and wanting more, never being happy and never settling. I could almost start crying by thinking how completing these two books (Buddhism: A Beginner’s Guide & Buddhism for Busy People) has changed pretty much the way i see everything. Even if you’re not into Buddhism, just a freelancer looking to improve your daily life and be happy, the Buddhism for Busy People will open a new world to you.

 

02. MORNING ROUTINE

Even though, oh how i love sleep, i’m making baby steps to waking up at 6am. Hey, who said happiness doesn’t need work? In order to prepare myself for a busy day, that needs tons of creativity and inspiration, i need couple of hours to pumper myself and make me happy. First and foremost, meditation and 3 sun salutations.

Going to yoga classes last year was awesome, but now that we moved to a village, it’s just stressful for me to do a whole 20 minute drive to it. We also started going to the gym every evening, and that worked only for 2 months. My whole body is sore from sitting all day, and don’t get me started on my back. I figured that 3 sun salutations, is the least i can do to stretch and feel a wee more energetic before i start the day.

I have meditated in total three times now and although it had never worked before, it is now, when i need it the most. And as a miracle it’s so much easier to clear my mind for those 15 minutes. My brain is like a kid in a candy store. Running around wanting this and that. Focusing on my breath makes me so relaxed and clear afterwards.

So i wake up, wash my little face, wear something warm and cozy (as the sun hasn’t come out at 6-7am), grab my yoga mat and earplugs and head to the yard, where there’s no one but me and the cool breeze. Even thinking about it makes me happy.

 

03. HAPPY SCHEDULE HAPPY YOU

I had this silly rule of putting a timer for every project i worked, to make sure i was on schedule. Jeez!! Is there anything more stressful than that? Well when your to do list has 10 things, you definitely need it. And my to do lists had 20. Seeing that this wasn’t working out well, i decided to make more feasible to do lists, so i don’t feel like a failure at the end of everyday.

Work on maximum three projects a day, with the big ones alone on a separate days, replying to emails, and work on a blog post. Timer is gone and i don’t have to stay until 12am working. Sure, projects spread into more days, but nothing good comes from burning yourself to get everything done at once. Projects can wait, and you need to take care of yourself.

 

04. THOSE BAD DAYS

Let’s face it. Not all days are productive and we don’t feel creative on every single one of them. A bad feedback, or something that’s just not working out, may bring you down down down. What i would normally do is stick with my schedule in terror of deadlines, not increasing my to-do list the next day etc etc. Put your imagination here of how someone who feels crappy ends up working.

On those bad days, from now on i’ll just drop everything as i it is and call it a day. Rearrange my week’s to do list so none of the days gets overwhelming, and focus on making myself feel better. That could be from taking a walk, going to the beach, eating an ice cream because hell, i feel like shit. I realised that if i go on with deing frustrated, 1. i’m no longer productive, 2. feel crappier the next day. So just call it a day and start clean the next one.

 

Everything these days is going so much faster than it used to and we all need to have some extra time to relax and unwind, in order to say on top of things. I bet you have a few secrets of your own, would love to hear what works best for you to stay creative and happy!