How to Feel Inspired When You Work Alone | by: Amy Braswell
My only office-mate is a cat. An old, grey, sheddy, lazy cat. Who does absolutely nothing around here. I can't bounce ideas off of him. I can't ask him his opinion on a new design I'm working on. I can't even ask him what he thought about last night's Project Runway episode. (Even though I know he totally watched it) And don't even get me started on whose turn it is to make the coffee. Spoiler: it's always mine.
What am I getting at here? That I, like so many of you, work alone. Solo. Just me, myself and I. And sometimes it gets lonely. Other times you totally work in your pajamas all day and you're secretly glad that nobody besides your cat is going to see the hole in your sweatpant bottoms. But, let's be real - most times it get lonely. And very uninspiring.
When you work from home, you’re staring at the same four walls all the time. The. Same. Four. Walls. It can get depressing. Not, “What am I doing with my life and why am I here” depressing, more like, “how am I supposed to design something fresh and new when I keep staring at this same plant day in and day out” depressing. I’m seeing the same colors and shapes in my home every day. I’m seeing the same people. Scratch that. I'm seeing the same cat.
But as entrepreneurs and killer girl bosses, we have to constantly be creating. A blog, an art print, a speech, a schedule...we're all under the pressure to create something. But how do you do that? How do you create when you're feeling utterly uninspired?
1. Go out into the world
Yep. The world. That big, scary place outside of your window. You probably can't see it because, if you're like me, it's been a minute since that window was cleaned (What, I don't hear the cat complaining). But it's out there. And, ladies, it's amazing.
Whether you go to a local coffee shop (my go-to move), or just go for a walk...Just GO. Change your surroundings. Eavesdrop on other people's conversations. Put on real pants. You'll be amazed at what ideas a simple move like leaving your house can spur into motion. And if your significant other and/or cat starts telling you "A walk isn't actually work!", you tell them that it is. And that they just don't understand you and your methods.
2. Social Network. It's a verb.
Yep, social media can be a huuuuuuge time suck. Ask me how long I spent the other night looking at cute panda babies? Just ask. But social media can be a good thing, too. You can make friends in other time zones. And you can even work with them! When I finally figured this out, it truly blew my mind. You can stay in your pajamas and still have coworkers who won't laugh? YES.
We all know that Pinterest is the mecca of inspiration, but you can also find a Facebook group or an Instagram account that you love and vibe with. And then stalk them. ... Okay, maybe not stalk stalk. But like pop your head in a few times and say hi. And then talk to them. Maybe you'll make a new friend. Maybe you'll find a new collaboration buddy. Worst case scenario, you might just see a color palette that you like or a photo edit that you are dying to try. Either way = inspiration.
I know, not always the most fun. You don't have to turn into a gym rat or start chugging raw eggs, I promise. But studies show that just getting your blood flow going can be really beneficial to your mental processes and creativity! So get up, hop on the treadmill, and log a few miles. If that's not your thing, do some yoga and just be mindful for a few minutes. Or call a friend and go play some tennis.
If none of those are an option, turn the radio on (trust me, it's got to be as loud as possible) and Dance. It. Out.
Y'all, I've got some serious moves when no one's watching. But, whatever - it works.
4. Brain dump
Grab a piece of a paper and a pen. Or a pencil. Or a feather quill. Whatever your favorite writing utensil might be, just grab it. ... Are you ready? Now take 30 minutes or so, and just write down everything that's in your head. EVERYTHING.
I'm talking about your grocery list, your favorite quote, 153 different versions of "Mrs. Ryan Gosling" (Nope? Just me?). Just write down everything that comes into your head in that 30 minutes. I don't care if you start writing haikus about how Stephanie Johnson stole your cookie that one time in the 3rd grade, the point is just to get it out.
All that stuff that's sitting up there in your head is just taking up valuable real estate that could be used for new ideas! Let the cookie thief go, ladies. Just let it go.
5. Try something new
This one's kind of similar to the first one, only it's scarier. (Boo!) When you're feeling utterly stuck, go out and try something new. Not only will getting out of the house/office be good for you (remember that from way back at the beginning?), but trying something new might knock you right out of that comfort zone that you've been living in.
Take a class. Read an article about something you know nothing about. Try a new food. Stand on your head. Learn Swahili. ... Okay, that last one might been a stretch. But desperate times, amirite? The point being, trying something new might just get your adrenaline going and your creative juices flowing again!
So what are you going to do? What sounds like it might be just the thing to kick your creative behind back into action? If you've got a solid go-to move for your own creative slumps, sound off in the comments to let others know some of the things you do when you're feeling completely and utterly uninspired. YOU might be someone's inspiration!
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GUEST BLOGGER: AMY BRASWELL // GRAPHIC DESIGNER
Amy is the graphic designer behind PaperFinch Design. She specializes in geographical-inspired and inspirational designs, and loves to help people tell their story. Who they are, where they're from, what they believe. Amy just started her own daring adventure by up and moving her entire family to sunny St Petersburg, Florida. Because the beach was calling...so they went.