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!
It’s officially SPRING (can I get a HOORAY?!), and with the change of season comes a whole new, beautiful mess of projects to begin, oversee and carry through.
I’ll be the first to admit that keeping up the momentum and motivation with a side hustle of any kind alongside a 9-5 day job can be a tough feat. Why spend your evenings and weekends behind a computer or shipping orders when you could be vegging out with Netflix or out exploring the many delicious brunch locales of your city?
Side note: I’m convinced you can do all of these things, but to answer the question…
Because it’s so satisfying and fulfilling to pour yourself into a creative venture outside of your daily duties.
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 on earth 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. I think any creative professional will tell you the same. 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.
1. 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 tasks at hand.
2. 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 on your Weekly Hustle Plan.
3. 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. Save the hairy tasks that require the most energy for those time slots so you can knock them out when you’re at your peak – and still come out of it feeling great.
4. Surround yourself with inspirational objects and colors.
This is the one I go a little crazy over. I’m a 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.
5. 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 ability to stay inspired and generate new ideas. To get out of this, I simply ask friends for new music recommendations or jump over to Spotify and grab a new playlist that fits my mood. I find that I work best with music I don’t already know the words to, allowing me to focus on the sound of the music rather than the specific lyrics. And let’s be honest; if it’s a good beat AND I know the words? That combo is going to turn into a solo dance party every. time.