Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Behind the scenes: Improve your creative productivity // inspirational tips for artists and night owls

Nothing makes an artist more scared than routine. At least that is what I have in common with most of my creative friends and I guess for most artists, a nine to five structure does not improve any creativity and neither does any good for their productivity. My most productive hours are usually when I am just out of bed and make myself my morning coffee and late at night when everyone is sound asleep and my inbox and social media stream stays clear of comments and messages.

I have to say I am not an early bird at all. Does it have something to do with the choice of staying up all night or is it something that is a natural need? I don't know. I love working late at night. There are less interruptions and distractions compared to working during the day. It is easier to focus without the interference of new emails, social media comments and it is easier to complete a projects and work faster.

Intelligent people all have one thing in common: They stay up late.

Working from my own home, having an home office gives me the freedom to work whenever I want. But there is a downside too. I am not chained to my desk all day so when dishes are done, the living room is all cleaned and vacuumed, I go out to visit a museum or exhibit, walk through the dunes and make photo's, have a business lunch, or lunch with friends and have a drink out on a terrace when the sun is out. So during the day it is hard to focus and stay productive. Working independently as an artist it can be a struggle to juggle productivity and inspiration. Here are some tips for night owls like me:

Embrace your needs
If you feel working late hours work better for you why not go ahead and do that? Why force yourself to sit on your desk all day when it kills your creative flow?

Go out
There are very few days I stay in during the day. Museums are open, the streets are buzzing. Go visit a new city, go sketch in a coffee shop. If you need inspiration you need to change something. And changing your environment is an easy tool to get the creative juices to flow again.

Experience new things
You can go out, visit galleries and concerts, but you can also push yourself to add new skills, new styles or work around new themes during your day to day creative job. For me trying to keep up with new software and possibilities that come with that is a great way to broaden my horizon.

Get a hobby
I think this is my biggest challenge because I think about my job as my hobby. But doing something completely different means awaking different parts of your brain. It makes room for new connections and also gives you a great new other perspective on what you are doing. I tried a sewing course for instance. Creating things by hand in a completely differents way. And I am a volunteer working at my local theater where I work with kids. Something very different from my daily routine.

Don't push it
If you are completely stuck. Take a little break from it all. Having an home office is great but there is always something to do. If I have to work on a new illustration or pattern for fabric and I have no clue how to start I find myself cleaning the bathroom or rearranging my home. But taking a moment to sit back and relax is very important. While doing house chores is a great distraction, it is not distraction that will help you any further. Take a step back, dream, and refill.

What do you think?
I never get any feedback so this is also a great tip for myself. Have a little drink with other creative people and chat about things that are going on. I bet another perspective will also shine a different light on what you are doing.

Productivity is not about doing everything you need to do. It is about doing the right things and see no to distractions. I take my time during the day to fuel myself with inspiration, new experiences. These are put to good use when the day turns into night. There is a shift in energy. That is why my working hours are late at night.