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Productivity without burnouts for creatives.

Updated: Jun 2

What are your tips for productivity without burnouts for creatives?

Something people always ask is where do you find the time. I've always been a person who has a lot on the go and things that are seemingly unrelated. So how do I do the things I do without getting burned out?

Well it's like anything in life, if you want it bad enough you'll find the time.

I work 12 hr days. With commute it ends up being closer to 14 hrs.

So where do I find the time?

The time after I just wake up are usually my best time to carve out a block of time for myself.

I spent a month writing down everything I did in a day. After the month I looked at where I was wasting time. And no surprise right after I get up was the biggest one.

I'd get up and spend a half hr to an hr cuddling with my coffee waiting for my brain to become coherent enough to get ready for the day. To give example of how bad I am in the mornings let's just say there have been more than one occasion that I've put my clothes on backwards or inside out.

Getting ready for the day was also a chaotic mess. Sort through what to wear, getting lunches ready, sorting all the children's things for the day.

I'm not a "morning" person persay. As I work night shifts also getting up in the afternoon is still my morning.

It's best not to even talk to me after I wake up until I'm done my coffee. I have a rule in the house that anything I agree to before coffee is null and void.

So over the years this time has been the time no one bothers me.

Hence the best time for me to get in some of the things that keep me sane.

As a person with anxiety routine is fairly important to me but with a life that is anything but routine (and let's face it the same thing every day can get a tad dull) I needed to find something that I could do in the mornings or afternoons, at home or when I'm travelling that could fit a routine but still fit into the ever changing day to day.

It took me awhile to get it to where it is now but unapologetically taking that time for me every day has made such a difference in my life.

So what do I do?

Well I have goals, small achievable goals I know I can hit and that fit into my bigger picture. (also figuring out at least a vague idea of what your bigger picture looks like helps but isn't necessary.)

I also set alarms for everything. Because I get to absorbed in my work. Time stops when I'm creating and I could easily pass a few hrs without even realizing that much time has gone by.

Here's what a typical morning looks like for me:

First alarm 4am/pm wake up get coffee going, down a bottle of water while I wait.

Second alarm 4:15-4:30 drink coffee while I write . I overthink my writing way too much. If I'm still half asleep it just flows as you can see by this extra long blog today.

Third alarm 4:30-5 paint/create

Fourth alarm 5-5:15 get ready for work.

Fith alarm 5:15 leave (yes I even need one to tell me to get out the door)

Things that shaved time off of the getting ready aspect for me?

When I put laundry away I sort them into outfits so it's just a grab and go thing.

I sort out lunches the night before and because I'm fully awake this goes a lot faster then when I do it in the morning.

If I have a few days off meal prep might be the go to.

15-30 mins may not seem like alot but all those bits really add up in the end.

The two things I take forever to get to doing are Workouts and shower. And lets face it, I'm a master at blowing off my workouts unless I'm travelling.

Mentally if I tell myself I can't go to bed until I do them it takes away all the excuses I tell myself for not doing them. Because at that time of the night bed is a huge motivator. Also knowing I get to read as part of my bedtime routine is heightened when I have a great book on the go.

(unless I'm on holidays and can take a long languid time to get ready then I'll do it in the morning).

So you found the time but what happens when you fill every minute of your day?

Even with things you love doing? Eventually you'll burn out? For me at least I will.

I use the same principles as I do for scheduling my time each day.

I pencil in days off or if not a whole day then chucks of time. Where I have no "productivity" tasks I have to do.

I keep within the time frame I give myself.

I plan things I want to do outside of my creative aspersions.

As a creative you pour so much of yourself out into your work but how do you fill your cup back up?

For me it's travel. The people I meet and the things I plan to do give me something to look forward to. I say plan to do because nothing ever goes to plan on my trips....ever. It's usually the opposite with calamity happening left and right but I always have a blast and come home feeling content and brimming with ideas. I get exposed to new things and seeing these things with fresh eyes generally forces me to see my normal surroundings with that same sense of discovery.

Does it work 100% of the time?

For me No, I'm a disaster productivity wise when major changes happen. It's something I'm still working on.

Recently I had a friend come to stay long term and having someone in my space threw me off so bad for a month or so.

As a result I didn't create much and was a crazy lady. Things that normally never bother me seemed to drive me insane.

But what did I learn?

Even if I'm not productive I still have those ideas flowing in so write them down.

Also that I need to voice my need for that time for me when around people who don't know me in that aspect.

I think I've taken it for granted that the people in my life know this need is important to me.

Being faced with having to actually voicing it filled me with a fear. When I think about it now it seems silly but that is what I felt at the time.

Feeling that obligation to others to be a good host and friend blocked myself from the outlets I need. But at the end of the day good friends will always understand and respect your needs.

Those who don't, is there really a place in your life for people like that?

At that point they just complicate it instead of compliment it and life's to short for unnecessary complications.

Jackie ❤️

cartoon of a coffee cup waking up a brain
Hey wake up!

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