Keeping myself open to new experiences, new environments, new people and interacting with new objects brings with it a steady stream of new thoughts, new feelings and new ideas. It is these experiences which inform my art practice and help shape my creative output.
I’ve come to realise that my expectation to produce creative output on a daily basis is unrealistic. Placing these constraints on myself only leads to feelings of underachievement and frustration.
Increasingly, I spend more time conceptualising than on producing the final outcome, especially so on larger projects. It’s taken some mental adjustment to view this as being an important part of the creative process and not as procrastination. A difficult adjustment, as I’m a prolific creative and have sometimes measured achievement by output.
I find that exiting the studio in favour of a bike ride through the city, a jog around the river or a coffee with a fellow creative is often a trigger for ideas, or an enhancement in mood.
You may have a stressful corporate job working within the confines of a clinical office space, you may be a nurse or work in retail. Whatever your vocation, it’s important to look after yourself first, so you have the energy to be there for others. Block out each days’ tasks focusing on your top three and tackle a task you’ve been procrastinating. I’m old school and in addition to a digital calendar, I still use a written ‘to do’ list on my desk with tick boxes (the ticking of which gives me great satisfaction).
Remember to take regular breaks throughout the day. Instead of eating lunch at your desk, take yourself outside – inhale fresh air, soak up vitamin D, go for a walk, listen to a podcast, read a book, scribble in a journal, try some meditation techniques. You’ll return to work feeling reenergised with a higher level of productivity.
Try to fit something you love into every day, no matter how small. Smiling releases natural chemicals which elevate your mood, relax your body and reduce physical pain. Smiling is also infectious, so your good vibes will rub off on others. I’m always mindful of the positive effect an encounter with a positive friend/colleague/stranger can have on me – it’s pretty powerful.
So this year I decided that I will no longer chastise myself about ‘slacking off’ some days as ultimately, life is all about finding balance.