It’s amazing how fast the days fly by, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure the older you get, the more time speeds up – every day is just a tiny bit shorter. Or maybe it’s all perspective. But it sure feels like we’re whipping past the days and weeks lately!
One of the most difficult parts of running your own show in your spare time (and the question I get asked more than any other) is how do you stay inspired and motivated to keep it going day after day?
Well, please know, first of all, that there are absolutely days when I don’t feel inspired. But there are things you can do to take full advantage of your creative spirit and keep the inspiration flowing for almost all of the time.
- Always have a book in progress
Reading has also been a source of inspiration for me; no matter the type or style of book, it’s the ability of the words to take your mind to another place and away from your current work that I find rejuvenating. Reading also often provides a source of material to get your brain focused on a new topic that you can tie back to whatever your writing or designing. Allow yourself a few minutes each day to sit down with a book and read even a few pages to give your brain a rest from the task at hand.
- Step away from the computer
Easier said than done, I know. But trust me when I say you will hit a wall staying behind the computer screen for too long. Force yourself to take breaks and get outside, take a walk, or run down to your favorite coffee shop; and make sure you look around when you’re out and about; not just glued to your phone screen. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and inspired to tackle the next tasks.
- Find your optimal work time
Most people find out early on that they work better at a certain time of day and for a certain length of time. The thing to remember about this one is that your optimal work time now might not be the same optimal work time you had five years ago. Be sure to listen to and understand how your body is reacting to working throughout the day, and look for patterns of times when you seem the most productive and happiest.
- Surround yourself with inspirational objects and colors
This is the one I go a little crazy over. I’m huge believer that you are happier and more productive when you have a workspace that encourages this behavior; plants, for example, are great to keep nearby, because they bring a sense of the outdoors and freshness into your space and make the indoors feel a little less stale. For me, cleanliness is important, as well as bright colors and my favorite headphones. Also, it helps to spend a few minutes rearranging your desk and the objects on it; maybe switch out some artwork or the way your books are displayed. Keeping things fresh and new will help keep your ideas fresh and new, as well.
- Switch up your tunes
Let’s not forget the power of music. I often get stuck in the same playlists and artists for days and weeks at a time, but I almost always catch myself in a rut when I realize I’ve been listening to the same thing over and over, and I truly believe this affects my abilty to stay inspired and generate new ideas. To get out of this, I simply ask friends for new music recommendations or jump over to Youtube and grab a new playlist that fits my mood.
Those are my top five not-so-secret tips for keeping myself inspired and happy on the daily! What special tricks do you resort to for getting yourself rejuvenated and excited for the work you’re doing when you’re not feeling so inspired?