When you work in an office and a manager oversees your work and keeps the production flowing, creativity comes easily. This type of management allows you the luxury of doing your assigned job and go home. If you are a self-employed individual, however, you are responsible for maintaining your creative flow.
Many self-employed people have their own office spaces to go to every day. Their creativity usually stems from social interaction. If you’re working from home with little client interaction, creative flow can become a problem. Although it helps focus your creativity, isolation quickly becomes an issue without proper self-management.
How do you maintain your creative drive while working from home?
1. Expand Your Skills
Someone who designs jewelry, for example, will use a set of techniques and materials on a regular basis. At some point, those designs and skills will become stale to them and their customers. The moment they lose interest, their work starts to suffer and find it harder to continue. This is true of any skill that loses its appeal.
When you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again, try changing it up by learning new skills. Grab a technique book or take an online course or local class that adds to your existing skills. You will boost your creativity, even if you never incorporate them into your repertoire.
2. Explore Your Counterparts
Regardless of what type of creative work you engage in, there are others out there doing the same thing. And given today’s social media reach, it is relatively easy to connect with them. You can gain a lot of inspiration, tips and much more by talking to other people who understand you.
If you paint, visit a local gallery. If you are a photographer, you may find local photos hanging in the halls of your city’s art university. You can stop by a local photography studio or camera shop and talk with the owner. Writers can drop in on a local book signing or join writing get-togethers. Conversely, a jewelry designer can visit area boutiques or small businesses for inspiration.
There are always places you can go where you can meet up with others who share your passion for your art. Apart from helping your creativity, social interactions are also beneficial to your overall health and well-being.
3. Take a Break
Creativity is a fickle mistress and the harder you try, the more elusive it becomes. That’s why it’s better to take breaks away from your creations. This is more effective when you already know what motivates you. If you are a fan of music, find a place to listen to good live music. If you like sports, go to a sporting event, even if it is a kid’s baseball game in the middle of the afternoon.
Since you work for yourself, you are not constrained by a boss that expects you to churn out a product. Breaks help you detach from the task and regroup your thought process. Often the greatest flashes of inspiration happen when you are operating subconsciously. Taking your mind off work might be the best thing for your project.
4. Solve Puzzles and Challenges
The mind is a muscle just like your heart, and as your heart, it needs exercise. Studies have indicated that solving puzzles or challenges keep the brain from aging. While most of these studies are still in their infancy, it’s not surprising that brain stimulation is so important. After all, creative people thrive on puzzles and challenges.
Even a few minutes of penciling in the answers to a crossword puzzle or filling in a Sudoku puzzle can give the brain a place to relax and recenter. If you find yourself stalled on a project, grab a word search puzzle and start looking for words. You’ll be exercising your brain and increasing future productivity all at the same time.
5. Engage in physical activity
An artist can spend hours in one spot working on a painting or a specific design. All that time spent in one place can take a toll on the body and the mind. A tired mind can no longer find the motivation needed to finish a project or start a new one. It needs to be refreshed.
Physical activity keeps the body healthy while letting the brain rest and energise. The Alzheimer’s Association suggests that staying in shape reduces the risk of mental illness. Besides, what better way to boost your creativity than a few miles down the local trail or a dip in the pool or ocean?
If you are not fond of the gym, you can take a walk and admire the sights or jump on your bicycle and ride around the city. The point is to get the body moving and let the brain rest.
When you find yourself stuck in the middle of a project, your brain may just need a diversion to rejuvenate. These suggestions will help you get back to your creative state. They’ll also help your physical and mental health.
What is your favourite thing to do when you lack the creative state to get the job done? Tell us in the comment section below.