Happy New Year! We are excited to be back sharing some words of wisdom with you about how to kick off 2017 in the best ways possible. As a creative, the start of a new year is a great time to get your things in order and make any necessary changes to the way you work in an attempt to improve on last year and achieve all of your goals for the year ahead. There are some quick and effective things that will help you do just that and we’ve got them for you here!
Set up your creative space
Having a designated area that is specifically for your creative work will help you focus and make it easier to switch from work mode to relaxation mode, so it’s important to get it just right. Also, the environment that you work in has a great influence on your emotions, energy and productivity. At the start of the year, it’s a good chance to take a look at your workspace and do some reshuffling. Clear out all of the junk, get rid of things that you don’t need, and start again. Firstly, set up your creative space somewhere that helps you to avoid distractions as much as possible. This will help you to get in the zone and ensure that you can stay focused as long as you need to. Next, make sure that you have the essentials. This includes plenty of lighting, a comfortable chair and a good work surface. Some other essentials might include your computer, pens and pencils, paints, paper or whatever it may be that you need for your particular form of creativity. These things should take pride of place and always be within reach, so that you don’t need to disrupt your flow in order to find them. Last but definitely not least, it’s important to add some fun to your space. Find some creative trinkets, posters, quotes or artworks to put on the wall, desk or even computer background that will make you happy, keep you calm and inspire you along the way. These things are what make your space yours and will help encourage your creativity.
Make goals for the year
Now that you have your creative space all set up, it’s time to decide what you’re going to do with it. It is important to sit down at the beginning of the year and plan out your goals for the next 12 months, to give you things to work towards and aim for. First, think about the big things that you’d love to achieve this year - include your huge, seemingly-impossible goals because the next step is going to help you to get there. Think about what you’ve always wanted to do, what you are hoping to improve from last year and things you are dreaming about achieving. Once you’ve jotted those down, the next step is to break down the big goal, into small, practical, achievable steps that will help you to achieve the bigger goal! This will help you make progress towards success, and make it feel more doable. For example, if your big goal is to start a business to sell your art, you might break that big goal into small goals like, “decide on a name,” “design a logo,” “set up an online store” and so on. These are much more manageable and approachable than “start a business” so hopefully it will help you to achieve your dreams! Having all of these goals will give you things to aim for throughout the year, increasing your productivity, drive and determination!
Start using a diary/calendar
One of the best ways to achieve your goals, after deciding what they are, is getting organized. We recommend doing this through using a diary and/or a calendar. Digital calendars are a perfect way to keep track of where you need to be and when, allowing you to fill the empty spaces with goal-driven activities, or other fun stuff! It also lets other people invite you to events, meetings and catch-ups so that you’re always in the right places at the right times. Having that visual display of where you’re spending your time will help you to evaluate what might be eating up more time than it should, or prioritise those things that should have a little more time given to them. In general, keeping a calendar or a diary will help you to minimise stress and panic, and help you to be on top of where you need to be!
Start writing lists
Lists are another way to minimise the chaos of life, and help to streamline your thoughts. Often our brains get so full of things we need to do, places we need to be and stuff we should remember that things fall through the cracks and we miss things that shouldn’t be missed. Writing lists will alleviate the pressure and prevent this from happening. Make the small amount of effort to just jot it all down in a list and you’ll have a much clearer head. You might make a to-do-list for all your tasks, lists for ideas you have, shopping lists for things you need to buy, or any other sorts of lists. Whatever it might be that you jot down, getting it out of your head and onto paper will work wonders. You’ll remember things more easily, and it will help to clear your mind so that you can spend your brain power on more important things! Also, having a tangible list of things that you can cross off when you achieve them is super satisfying, and it will help you to be more productive as you strive to tick them all off!
Set up automation to make things easier
Some of the things on your lists could potentially be achieved much easier if you just put a little automation in place. Letting computers manage your tasks for you might seem a little daunting, but once you get comfortable with it and get in the swing of things, it’ll save you time, energy and precious brain space. You can set up automation for social media using sites like Buffer, Apphi Post or IFTTT, so that once you schedule something, it posts it for you and shares it to all of the sites you need! You could set up auto-responders for your emails telling people that you’ll get back to them within 24 hours, so you don’t feel pressured to answer right there and then. You can schedule your groceries to be delivered every week so that you don’t have to spend the time going shopping that you could be spending being creative! These are just some ideas of ways to be more efficient thanks to the wonders of automation. Spending a little time to set these things up is worth it when it comes time to actually doing them and you realise that you don’t have to worry - it’s all taken care of!
Those are our 5 quick tips for getting the most out of this year. We hope that they’re helpful and will give your 2017 a boost of productive creativity! Let us know how you plan to get the most out of your year, we’d love to hear!
Hollie & Jared