The Creative Entrepreneur’s Survival Guide to Pandemics
As a creative, you’re far too familiar with the feeling of pure joy that comes with a passion project.
You know, the one you do for yourself… for fun? Except fun doesn’t pay the bills. (☹️)
“If only there were more hours in the day,” you tell yourself.
Well, you asked! And the Big Guy delivered… He gave you quarantine.
Yet here you are— battling burnout, the weirdest work-life balance ever, and a lack of motivation (and TP) day in and day out. That’s right. You’re not alone in this.
We’re with you. And while we’ve never been through a pandemic before, we have battled each and every one of those roadblocks before. So without further ado, here are our creative entrepreneur-approved approaches to battling the most common remote-work roadblocks.
“I CAN’T SEEM TO GET ANYTHING CHECKED OFF MY TO-DO LIST!
Amen! We feel you!
The very first, cold, hard truth you’re going to have to learn about working from home (WFH) is that absolutely nothing changes.
It does not mean that you get to wear pajamas to work or roll out of bed five minutes before your first morning meeting. Nor does it mean you can sneak a few snacks in or get some household chores out of the way mid-workday. And it certainly does not mean that you can spend some extra time on Facebook!
Trust us when we say that any one of those seemingly harmless things are going to throw away your productivity quicker than you can say the word “Quarantine”. We know this from years and years of remote-work experience. It’s all great at first… until it isn’t.
Here’s the solution:
- Stick with your routines— or adjust them to fit your new way of life.
- Set your alarm for the same time as you did pre-quarantine. Rather than spending your time in traffic like you used to, you now have the ability to spend that extra time reading a chapter of your favorite book, or taking a long shower, or better yet— spending quality time with your family during breakfast.
- There is no “I woke up like this” just because you are WFH. Get out of bed, get dressed, and put that deodorant on! You are a grown adult. (Weekends don’t apply.)
- Start with block schedules. From 9 to 10, check emails and follow up with your team. From 10 to lunch, try and tackle your most-consuming task of the day (brainstorming session, meeting with clients on Zoom, scheduling out a few social media posts, etc). Then take that lunch break! (Yes, the whole hour). Ignore everything work-related while you take your lunch break. Trust us, you need that mental break. Shoot— take a 20-minute cat nap if you really need it! From 1 to 3, work on the next big task (a project, a proposal, etc.) Finish off the work day with the tasks that require the least amount of brainpower (unless you work best in the afternoon, you weirdo).
It’s paramount that you maintain some sort of normalcy and work-life balance in this new era. Do it for your sake, and for your families’. In times like this, the most important thing is time spent with your loved ones. So, by all means, leave work at work, or at least in the guest bedroom.
“I’VE COMPLETELY LOST ALL MY MOTIVATION.”
Welcome back to the club.
As a creative, you’re probably no stranger to burnout. Sure, you can read all the self-help articles on Google, but there’s only one way to beat burnout: Give yourself a break!
For some, that means an actual break from work. Walk away from your desk, your phone, everything. Go outside and take a walk. Refresh your mind and your body with the sounds of nature and the scorching Texas sun. Then, come back to reality with a piping hot cup of coffee and get back into it!
For others, it’s a creative break. Pause your work and pick up your latest passion project. Take a half hour to immerse yourself and really get yourself in the zone. Before long, your brain will be up and running again and you can give work another go.
And sometimes (although less frequently), tidying things up really does the trick! Your brain is either running a million miles an hour or not at all when burnout strikes, so tidying up your surroundings can really help to open things up and get it all flowing again. (Note: tidying up doesn’t imply that only your physical surroundings are affecting you. Sometimes a brain dump or some organization and planning are just what you need to gain clarity again.)
The overwhelming theme here is that you need a break. When your body starts telling you things aren’t working as planned, allow yourself to forget about everything and rest your mind. Don’t come back until you are feeling refreshed and ready to go again.
“AS MUCH AS I WANT TO, I STILL CAN’T FIND THE TIME FOR PASSION PROJECTS.”
Here’s the secret:
You didn’t need quarantine to find the time to work on things you love. You’ve always had the same amount of time. (Last we checked, there were still 24 hours in a day).
You have to make time for the things you love.
Of course you make time for the major responsibilities in your life, like feeding your family— which without a doubt, includes working and making enough money to do so.
But you’re forgetting the most incredible thing about yourself: you’re a creative! Allow yourself to be creative for Pete’s sake (and your own)! Schedule it in if you have to!
It doesn’t matter if you only get 30 minutes in today, you NEED to make time to release that creative energy, to forget about the stresses of the world, and to do things you truly enjoy.
That’s the secret to staying sane throughout all of this.