Play isn’t just for children anymore.
As adults, we need to step away from the computer and engage in some form of creative play. Whether it’s arts and crafts, drawing or painting, playing board games, etc., playing provides us with renewed energy and creativity. When children are excitable and engaged they learn faster. On the contrary, when adults are quiet and introspective for long periods of time, we can slow down or lose motivation. Playing increases the heart and brain's dopamine levels which makes you better able to deal with stress and depression – and in turn, be more creative!
We tend to get stuck in routines – especially those of us who are working remotely. As graphic designers, we often find ourselves rushing from one task to the next, constantly using our creative muscles to solve problems for our employers and clients. This can have a negative impact on our work. It can take away from our creativity and the end result usually leads to burnout.
The key is learning “how to play” and use it as an outlet to recharge those creative batteries. Here’s some ideas for incorporating play into your daily life:
Change Things Up
For creatives & designers, changing things up is basically a requirement for a healthy creative brain. If you don’t want to change up your routine, at least change the way you think or approach things, either physically or mentally. This could be as simple as taking a new route to work, or going on a walk over lunch, find a new music playlist, etc. You could also test our new ways of brainstorming or thinking such as mind mapping, sticky notes or the 6 Thinking Hats method (one of my favorites!).
The Sandwich Method
Find a way to play before or after your creative sessions. Play a board or card game with some friends. Watch an episode on Netflix. Listen to music. Watch a YouTube video. Any way you can create something fun and distraction free between long periods of work will help grow your creativity and will help prevent burnout. Some people recommend taking naps during the day (sometimes these are great for me, but sometimes they make it harder to get back to work).
It can be as simple as getting up and moving around when you need to. Practicing different types of physical activity, such as walking or exercising, will help improve blood circulation throughout your body which helps with creativity. Exercise can also help clear stress from your system which, in turn, helps you be more productive.
Get outside of your comfort zone
Another way to refresh that creative muscle is to find ways to get outside your comfort zone. This may mean going on an adventure, taking a class or undertaking a new project. One thing is certain: no matter what it is, find a way to challenge your comfort zone and experience new things!
Look at the Big Picture
If you’re passionate about design and creating, you have an incredible ability to focus on one thing and become a master at that, or focus on many things and multitask. You’re someone who can generate ideas, solve problems, think on their feet, and come up with radical solutions to problems that other people would dismiss as unworkable. Why? Because you have an innate understanding of how to use your creativity to make things better.
Struggling to figure out how to balance work and play?
Creative careers can be an exciting and rewarding option, and they can leave you feeling like you've hit the jackpot. But keeping up with your creativity can be a challenge. I've been there — struggling to find the time and energy to keep going with my creative projects while working multiple jobs and managing bills. This retirement thing, creating a life that you want to live and working at it with joy, can be really hard sometimes – but you don’t have to figure it out alone!
This is why I want to help you find the help you need so you can keep making great progress in your creative pursuits. Productivity coaching and project management is a growing field that focuses on helping creative individuals find the time and resources they need to reach their full creative potential.
If you find that balancing work and play is more difficult than you thought, consider hiring a Productivity Coach, like me! I will help you figure out when it’s time to rebalance and focus on a productive, yet passionate career. Together we’ll develop a custom roadmap tailored for you. Best of all, I’ll be your accountability partner to keep you on track through your creative journey.