How to Stay Creatively Sound While Working from Home
How to Stay Creatively Sound While Working from Home
WORDS: LEXI DAVIS
Whether you’re working from home or taking a temporary isolation vacation, self-quarantining is giving the world the perfect opportunity to tap into their inner creativity. Although many are focused on remaining productive while at home, embracing your creative side reduces stress & anxiety, promotes problem-solving, and generates happiness and positivity. However, the question still remains for some “how can I be creative if I’m not the typical creative individual?” In our quest to learn the secrets to reaching your highest level of creativity, we spoke with a few of our creative leads to get their insights and advice on the topic. Here’s what they had to say.
What’s your daily morning routine that gets your creative juices flowing while working from home?
My daily morning routine: I make a coffee and warm up a cup of broth to sip back and forth while I delete emails. Then I try to jump rope for an hour, pausing to write down ideas, or things I should do that day. I’ve been doing a podcast 3 days a week which helps me stay in touch with everyone, but you should definitely not start a podcast.
My routine doesn’t change too much aside from the extension of exercise time. I begin with making a big pot of French press coffee as the smell alone kicks my brain into action, from there I jump rope and stretch to warm up the body and make sure I am fully awake by the time the coffee is ready. I spend 40 minutes to an hour just reading over what happened to the world while I was sleeping. This is a blend of current affairs and creative updates as with my job the two blend together with clients’ needs. I have a mini studio setup at home so it feels like I am at work, not in my bedroom as the mind can easily be distracted.
I make a coffee, and while that’s brewing, I’ll step into my backyard and reflect in silence for about 10-15 minutes without any distractions. I focus on my breathing and the natural elements around me. It’s sort of my nod to mother nature to appreciate what we are blessed with. Then I’ll get the blood flowing with some stretching, push ups, jump roping, and a light jog. Then I’ll enjoy my coffee and hop on my laptop to dig into the news that’s happening in the world.
While self quarantining, how do you handle creative blocks? Is there anything specific you do get back on track?
To handle creative blocks while self quarantining, I have a three step process. Take an edible, followed by a hot and then cold shower, self care moisturizing, then I drink an espresso. If you time it right, they all combine into the perfect storm of productivity. If you time it wrong, you might get stuck watching youtube conspiracy theory videos and eating plain saltines.
What do you feel is most important about channeling your creative side in your home environment?
When being creative, I find it most important to be confident in your ideas & creations. Every now and then, I catch myself questioning if my idea is good enough or cool enough for the projects I work on throughout the week, which puts me in a creative block. To build up confidence in my creative work, I constantly research, read, and indulge in different forms of art & design to ensure that I have a vibrant internal portfolio of inspiration.
What advice would you give people who struggle with being creative while at home?
Most importantly, don’t force it, think about when you feel the most inspired or thoughtful. Early morning or late at night? After an afternoon coffee? Carve out time to do things that naturally stimulate your mind: Read, listen to music, watch a movie, cook a new recipe, call a friend. For me, working in a room that gets the most natural light and filled with plants helps me with my creative process.
Name a few home exercises that increase your creativity flow.
I use Instagram’s saved folders feature to bookmark visual references that inspire me and give me ideas to incorporate in my work. I constantly clear my surroundings to help focus. Even just taking a shower gets me in a creative space – #ShowerThoughts are real, sometimes the best ideas start here! If I’m really stuck, I often set a timer for 5 minutes and brainstorm a running list of ideas. My brainstorm ideas aren’t always perfect, but they act as a starting point and are normally flushed out into larger themes later.
If you could choose one person that inspires you most to be creative, who would it be?
Anthony Bourdain, hands down. His work ethic, persona, and narrative I think is one that resonates with myself and hundreds of people in the community. What I find inspiring the most about Bourdain, is his interest in using cuisine as a transportation vehicle in culture. He took his time as an average chef on the line, and worked his way up into owning his own restaurant. During this he wrote Kitchen Confidential, which I recommend anyone to read if you have the slightest passion for food! It’s a true piece on grit and persistence, with poetic vignettes on describing some of his iconic dishes in between. Bourdain has taught me how to build creative confidence based on your surroundings. Being able to work with what is accessible to you, and how to elevate that to present it at its best form. And how he’s able to share this through a unique perspective.
Can creativity be trained at home?
Conventional wisdom would have you think no— “true creatives” are naturals, spewing creativity out in bursts of divine spontaneous genius. But the best creatives I’ve worked with have discipline and spent time training to build a foundation of creative skills and trust in a creative way of thinking. So yes, you can train yourself at home by giving yourself the space to apply a creative thinking process.
In fact, I’d actually flip the premise of this question on its head: you need to train yourself to unlearn non-creative thinking and processes. There’s a fair amount of research that backs this up. Society and adult life teach us to think in non-creative ways— to follow rules and find linear answers. To foster creativity, we actually need to break those patterns and train ourselves to value out-of-the-box solutions. Creativity isn’t about being right; it’s about looking at things through a unique lens, which means giving yourself the space and having the courage to be wrong often.
What are your digital go-to destinations for inspiration?
My digital go-to destination for inspiration are https://www.are.na/ I go here to find bizarre images from the internet + https://www.nts.live/infinite-mixtapes/slow-focus because they play a 24 hour stream of relaxing music that you don’t have to think about + and lastly you can find inspiration by searching for things you like on eBay, and then changing the search filter to “Price + Shipping: highest.” I found this pink iPod by searching for Sex And The City.
Do you critique your creative work? If so, what motivates to create on a higher level?
Oh of course. I review my work from the previous day before starting and sometimes start all over with fresh eyes. I also have a select network of creatives that I can share my work with to get honest feedback that I trust. From strategy to creating campaigns I am always trying to push myself and my work as well as elevating the conversations that it can spark.
Are there any other creative practices (cooking, painting, etc) that you do to help channel your work creativity?
I never was one to have a myopic focus on work, but in turn I’m certain that has helped my work product and output. It’s good to let the creative mind explore hobbies that aren’t tied to commerce per se. During these unprecedented times, it’s inspiring to see so many friends back in their kitchens discovering the benefits of getting creative in the kitchen. I’ve been cooking since I was a little kid, when my Mom used to let me and my brother make a mess in her kitchen, as we learned to perfect her and my grandmother’s Sicilian recipes. Cooking to me now is meditative and calming— I love taking my time and riffing with whatever fresh produce I have around. I also think fiction helps me channel creativity. It’s hard in times like these, since like most of us I’m addicted to the constant news updates and my Twitter feed, but letting the mind fall into a piece of engaging fiction does the body and mind good.