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!

  • Girl, I needed to read this so desperately this morning. Implementing these changes into my life immediately!

    • So happy you found it helpful Jacquelyn! these tiny changes can makes such a huge difference!

  • Waking up super early really works well for me. It just feels like the day is much longer and I get done with things earlier in the day. Then I have tons of extra time for myself (for swimming, skating, walking…). ????

    • Totally agree with you! Once you do it a few times it gets easier and easier

  • I FEEL YA. I burnt myself out about two years ago, got into a healthier routine, but then started overworking myself once again in the past 2-3 months. Old habits really do die hard. 🙁

    Last night, I set a new mantra for myself: slow down + focus. I’m going to get back to 10 minutes of yoga each morning, at least. And not saying “yes” to new projects until I can take back my schedule again!! Wishing you luck and sending good vibes. <3 <3

    • I love your new mantra! I think it might come in handy in my life too 🙂 good luck! Xx

    • That’s the best! We seriously need to stick with our mantras and not fall back in to our old bad habits. Thank you so much for the encouraging words Bre hope it works out wonderfully for you as well 🙂

  • TheUrbanDisplay

    I loved reading your post and hearing about your thoughts on focus on only a few things and not being so hard on yourself.
    Good luck with the new agenda!

    • thank you very much! It was so easy to do, if only i would have done it earlier!

  • Well Corinaki, you couldn’t have spoke more to my heart. the past year has been a roller-coaster of 12-13h long working days (and weekends) in hyper-multitasking mode.

    I just started taking longer walks with my dog both in the morning and the evening. Cooking everyday and taking homemade food with me at the studio. Drinking less coffee. And doing a little yoga-stretching every night before bed.

    Let’s hope that stays like that for both of us! <3 για να δουμε!! Πιστευω σε μας 🙂

    • Cooking every day! Ah that’s the one thing i seriously need to work more on! Probably make more time in my schedule for it 😀

  • Love. This is definitely a post I needed and came just at the right time as I get back into my blogging routine! Thank you so much for sharing with us!

    • Always happy to help!! 😀 Hope everything works out great in your new blogging routine!

  • I loved reading this, and I am so happy you’re taking time to recognize that you need to take care of yourself first! I need to do this as well. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • It takes a bit of effort, and it’s much easier to change things, but more difficult to stick with them! Hope we both succeed 😀

  • Honestly, I think this is one of my favorite posts of yours. So many details I connect with.

    • oh my! thank you so much Monica, it means so much, as i literally wrote from my heart.

  • Ah! Amazing! I have wondered (a lot!) how you are able to produce such beautiful work and keep up to date with bespoke blog posts. Thank you for your openness in sharing how this has been a challenge, as it’s exactly what I need right now – I too have ended up increasing my work hours bit by bit until I’ve been starting at 3.30am… I’ve realised I need to keep my booked client work to only 5 hours of my day – yes it means that projects will take longer overall, but it also gives time for everything else you need to do to run a business (and not end up working 16 hour days…). I’m hoping this will allow me to return to morning meditation, lunchtime walks, evening’s off and to be able to create content for instagram, blog etc. Not to mention being able to focus completely on each project in hand, allowing for more freedom and creativity. Thank you so much for this beautiful reminder, let us know how it continues for you – your news will keep reminding us to slow down and stay on a beautiful path!.

    • I’m so happy to have been able and give you an insight Elaine! It definitely hasn’t been easy – at all! I’m too passionate though, and i always want to create and create the best i possibly can. So i trick myself into working more hours, which somehow in my work works pretty great – i’m never too drained or not inspired. But physically it’s exhausting.

      Hope you’ll be able to change a few things as well and stick with them! 😀

  • cate emond

    This has inspired me, thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Elodie Nadreau

    Thank you for sharing your routine Corinna ! You’re so productive and talented but you deserve to rest more and relax! My friends and family always argue me for working to much so it makes me feel better reading your story 🙂 Keep doing beautiful things Corina and the most important take care of yourself 🙂

    • You are so sweet Elodie, thank you so much for your encouraging words my friend