Ironically this post took me at least triple the time to write than any other posts. Guys, the procrastination struggle is real. Especially real after an extra super duper relaxing long weekend with my cutie pies. The warm weather also makes me want to jump in a pool and forget all the things. But, you know, dishes and laundry ain’t gonna do themselves. Neither is the pile of ideas and work in progress items I have on my desk. Lets not even talk about all the fun things I want to do with my squidlets. I BOUGHT A SMALL POOL THIS WEEKEND AND ALL I WANT IS TO LAY IN IT.
Procrastinating and the Creative Block go hand in hand in my life. If I wasn’t having a Creative Block then why wouldn’t I be able to work? Right?
I understand the procrastinating to clean and do house chores. I truly do because who wants to mop or fold baby clothes (as cute as they are, just no). But, what I often find harder to get through is the Creative Block. You know the term, Writers Block but the Artist Block is also real and friends, it has me wrapped around it’s little finger. In order to help myself out of this rut, I thought I should share with you what seems to work best. Take it from me; I put the PRO in procrastination.
15 Minute Commitment (for you commitment phobes):
So, there is this theory, that if you commit to 15 minutes of work, you will often find that you can work longer and that you are actually enjoying it. If not, (insert cleaning aspect here), at least you got 15 minutes worth of cleaning done. Speaking from experience, you can get a lot done in those 15 minutes. I set a timer on my phone and get started. Start anywhere. The most difficult part is the start and I often find that around 5 minutes in I am totally willing to push through, turn off the timer and work for as long as I can/said squidlets let me.
Peak your Interest with Pinterest:
Pinterest is my online happy place. I don’t have facebook on my phone anymore but I sure as heck have the pinterest app on the homescreen next to contacts and above instagram. Lets be real, taking pictures, instagram and pinterest are the sole purpose of my phone and I am totally ok with it.
If you don’t already have a pinterest board then you need to get your sh** together and make an account like right now, Ill wait.
Pinterest is amazing. It’s jam packed full of all kinds of great stuff like recipes, diy projects, décor inspo, art, fashion, nail art, woodworking, man crafts and wedding stuff (just to name a few). The greatest thing about Pinterest is it’s smart algorithm. Once you pin some amazeball stuff on your boards (I have around 20 boards -no jokes) Pinterest shows you all kinds of stuff you might be interested in. I often spend a good 20 minutes of pinning (when I don’t know what to do with myself) and I end up in a whirlwind of fresh new ideas or at the very least, a bajillion pins that I plan on being inspired by in the future. 9 pinterest times out of 10 I can’t wait to start drawing up some new designs.
If all else fails, you can also find a load of task lists and checklists that might just help you get your butt in gear. There is also a ‘keep secret’ option for your boards, which is really handy. I do a lot of my idea work on Pinterest but most of my work related ideas I keep as private. It makes me feel comfortable and safe from the idea stealers* of the world. It’s also especially nice for planning your fake hypothetical wedding (you know who you are).
Use those Peepers and Read:
Flipping through my backlog of favourite magazines and books usually boils up some creative juices. I find that any magazine can help spark some inspo. I have a free subscription to an interior design magazine – I’m not sure why but I gots it and I likes it. I find so many hidden gems in there that the magazine is just a pile of scrap paper by the time I am done with it. Other great magazines are ones that feature makers (like Molly Makes – From the UK and I am obsessed). Getting inspiration from other makers can really help mould some new ideas and techniques.
Read anything! Having that little mental break is very helpful to relax your mind and move on. Don’t get stuck in a cycle of negativity.
Creating art journals and sketchbooks are my jam. I love being free to just draw what ever my mind thinks up. Doodling can be so relaxing! I always have a sketchbook around. I have one in my day planner, one upstairs and one in the kitchen. I also keep a ‘Smash Book’ on my desk. Smash Books should be essential to any creative. They are basically a place to glue your tangible ideas, findings and inspiration. I sometimes add paint, stencils, stickers, quotes and texture. Their more chaotic and messier the better (I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to them. Truth.)
Take a $10 note to the dollar store, venture down their craft aisle and splurge. They have a selection of acrylic craft paint, sticker letters, stencils, glitter, buttons, Paper - you name it! That should be an excellent start to an ideal Smash Book.
You have to figure out what works for you. If you find that you just wasted 2 hours on Pinterest then, friend, it’s time to step away from the computer. Maybe your 20 minute inspiration journey starts at the local library, at Michaels or the art book section at Chapters. Not all of these always work for me, different problems call for different measures.
What are your tried and tested go to anti-procrastination methods? Let me know!
*There is a book called Steal like an Artist By Austin Kleon and it has helped me numerous times. He basically says to ‘steal’ from other artists. Not actually steal but to use other artists as inspiration, but please oh please, don’t plagarise or copy someones intellectual property. That’s is the lamest of all. It’s just not cool. (Even when you are inspired by someone – mention them. They will absolutely appreciate it and will without a doubt be so flattered that their work has touched you in some way #communityovercompetition)
I feel like the term WAHM seems really cheesy. Like why do I need to state that I am a Mom who not only works, but works at home. Like who the fudge even cares where I work? Is it the being ‘at home’ part that is also important? Or is it to signify that like hey, I work when my children sleep and that’s it?
I'm only actually ok with it when I also remember that George Michael and some other dude had a band called WHAM! If I pretend like I misread it, them i’m absolutely, without a doubt, TOTES ok with being a WAHM! (Are you confused yet? Because I AM!)
I’d like to tell you about some of the skills I have acquired to run this ship I call home whilst also being a Creative Entrepreneur. Unfortunately, it isn’t to put your kids in daycare and go to your private studio space that is filled with amazing inspiring decor and botanicals. But if it is, you should just take over from here and teach me all your magic.
I don’t know everything, nor am I super successful but two years in, I know what works for me and my family (most days). It isn’t easy but I wish I had read something from someone who was still starting out but, had a little bit of knowledge to share. Or at the very least, a few tips.
Work When They Sleep
This advice was given to me over at an amazing blog Carve Out Time For Art. I was expecting baby #2 and I was so worried that I wouldn’t even be able to do anything for myself never mind actually working. They kindly replied to my frantic neuroticism and said that what is most important is to make sure you make time for it. Work when they sleep, the other chores and stuff can happen when they are awake for the most part. Having that in the back of my mind really helped me stick to it and allow a semi- regimented schedule for the kids to nap, but also so that I know what to do during that time. Of course this is irrelevant during the first 3-6 months. That sh#% is crazy and just sleep whenever you can. My second baby was THE WORST sleeper and so all I basically did was sleep if both boys were down and then maybe draw/sketch here and there when I wasn’t downing all the coffee. I kept a sketchbook handy to dabble in the pencil arts whenever an idea popped into my mind. I’m also currently waiting for my basement studio to be finished, so I have a workspace on the main floor that consists of my computer plus a folding easel by the dining room table and my work desk upstairs in our bonus room. It's not ideal but it actually helped when the baby WOULD NOT sleep and was bouncing/swinging while I could work on whatever floor we had to be on. (Now that he is 1, he finally found out that sleeping is pretty rad. Which makes this mama less of a monster.)
Give Yourself Some Time
Taking care of a newborn is super demanding, emotionally and physically. I don’t care how they came out/to you. Newborn is a newborn, it’s crazy tough. The sleepless nights, feeding issues, colic (@#Y&⁄°·‹ﬂ€·⁄°›‡ﬂ!). But like, all children are demanding. You need time to do whatever the heck you want sometimes, and isn’t that why we are entrepreneurs? So you can do whatever you want and be free of the daily grind? Side note, If for any reason, your work isn’t making you happy, then maybe it’s time to take a break. Refocus, take care of yourself and revisit when it feels right again. ("If it’s not a full yes, it’s a no"—> words I should get tattooed on my face to repeat to my reflection every day)
Make A Space That Is Childfree
…she says, writing on her laptop in the bonus room. (I’m also 89% sure a small thomas the tank engine is poking my ribs but after the double whammy joint birthday party we threw yesterday for the boys, mama isn’t moving.) Having a little area that is 100% yours will help the motivation and juice you need to keep creating. Working on the dining room table just means you have to pack up all your work mid inspirational sesh to feed the kids, or BETTER YET the kids grabbed a paint brush and ran towards your couch. Having your own space, even just a corner desk in the living room where you can, ideally, block it off with a room divider, will help you get right back where you left off. After all, this is your business and you need to treat it as such. I personally find myself becoming hesitant to start something if I just have to pack it all away and wash brushes in 15 min.
Take Yourself Seriously
I use to be embarrassed to call myself an artist because, what usually goes with that is ‘starving’. If you have met me i’m definitely not currently starving (haha thanks kids- jk more like chocolate almonds) and I also totally hate that such a negative term is associated with being creative. Only recently have I embraced telling people that I am an Artist, the maker community is so inspiring and it feels like such a gift to be a part of it. OWN THAT SH!T. It is what makes you, you. Not everyone can be an accountant or a doctor, not everyone can be happy in an office environment.
Schedule Your Time
In order to be a Mama, a maker and a happy wife, I have learned (only recently) that schedules and lists really help me. I treated myself to a fancy planner binder, a sketchbook insert for said planner and basically all the planner stickers from Michaels (because its what real heaven on earth looks like). It helps me plan out my social media posts, blog and video ideas, when I can work, when I can rest - and not feel guilty. Nevermind all the appointments, dinner planning and childcare bookings. This way, I don’t feel so overwhelmed by ALL THE THINGS and I can just look and see when things become a hot mess.
It doesn't matter if you only get a little bit of time to work on your business. The point is that you made the time and had intention to do so. Life can get in the way and not all things can run smoothly. Be nice to yourself and check off all the incredible things you did do! I only usually get maximum 2 hours to work a day but i’m not only building a little creative company but I am also raising some real delightful little humans. The house isn’t always tidy or organized and right now my hubbers is taking on most (if not all) of the dinner cooking. It really isn’t perfect but I would hate to wake up one day and regret missing out on memories with my littles and living my creative entrepreneurial dream so my house was immaculate and everyones laundry was put away. Just sayin' (insert laugh crying emoji here).
How do you keep everything afloat? I'd lurve to hear!