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Daily Routine of a Creative Freelancer featuring Sonja Bajic

The Daily Routine Of Creative Freelancer Sonja Bajic

 

Sonja Bajic is an illustrator and an artist. Her architectural background is reflected in her love for maps that she produces on a daily basis together with all kind of drawings and illustrations of the story she hears, writes or loves. Sonja was born and raised in Serbia (ex – Yugoslavia), and while living in the same street she changed four countries! Today she works from Paris, France and stands behind many projects like 100daysofparis.com for which she is searching for a publisher. Everything she does you can see on sonjabajic.com. Instagram is her happy place (@sonjabajic).

How and when, do you typically wake up in the morning?

I try to wake up around 8, 8.30 in order to be at my desk by 10. This is sometimes very hard since I am MUCH better in working during the night – no external factors – emails, facebook, instagram, twitter, phonecalls, urge to go out and drink Beaujolais. I am getting better at working during the day. I promise! It’s been a few months now, that I am trying hard!

What do you do before work?

Warm water and lemon. I work from home at the moment and I miss walks to work. Especially when it’s pretty and sunny. I make myself a tea – usually something mild and elegant and respectful to the mornings. I check my Instagram if I didn’t do that from the bed. I plan which podcasts or music will I listen to that day. I write the list of the things I need to do that day and I make an hourly schedule (hourly agenda is the best thing I did for my organisation!).

How do you keep on top of tasks?

Lists! Lovely old school lists. Hourly, daily, monthly, yearly lists, post it notes and notes to myself. An open notebook where I scribble my thoughts when they happen.

How do you stay motivated?

I listen to a lot of podcast and I get inspired by people who believe that work and pushing through hard times will bring better tomorrows. I also try to diversify my tasks – pen, pencil or ink combined with screen and mouse. So I don’t get bored. I try to have positive people around that are happy to say good things, that are happy to help people and criticize when necessary.

What do you have for lunch?

Something warm and healthy! But I try to make a balance between salt and butter – and warm and healthy – don’t worry! Today I will have brussels sprouts with apple and bacon (baked in the oven). Balance is everything!

How do you beat the afternoon slump?

It rarely happens! Few years ago I got rid of the caffeine – I was dependent on that afternoon coffee. Having a caffeine free life was a great decision and now,6 years later I don’t even miss it! (ok, sometimes, fine). If I slip into a sleepy mode – I go for a walk around the block – I check out shop windows, weirdos on the street and I hope that I won’t meet anyone who will suggest me an early apero cocktail!

When do you clock off?

I rarely clock off. I keep on working until I have some social plans or until I need to go for a run or stretch. Which I know is bad and I am trying to fix that! The cult of busy leads us to anxiety.

Is there anything you like to always do before bed?

I like to let some fresh air in, drink an lavender/camomile/linden infusion, and read a page or two of some nice fiction. Sometimes I like to write down a few facts about the previous day. Not to forget it!

 

Rapid Fire Questions…

 

Pajamas or Grown Ups Clothes?

 

Grown up Clothes
But actually can I go for adolescent clothes? When working at home I’m usually very grungy (big sweaters in winter//flowery dresses in summer) with a hint of make up in a case of skype call. But when out – it’s grown up – androgynous shoes, nice jackets and scarfs. Since I moved to Paris I started wearing a lot of black – but I try to do colourful or interesting splashes with details.

 

Regimented Routine or Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants?

 

OCD in me asks for Regimented Routine, ADD in me asks for “just relax, baby”.

 

Tea or Coffee? Which flavour?

 

Tea. I like it green. Or red. There is a great combo I buy in Serbia, it’s called Elegance. The base are green and white tea (silver needle – the one with the highest quality)  and it has dried raspberries and jasmine flowers in it. It’s wonderful.

 

One Big Break or Lots of Little Breaks?

 

Small breaks! I try not to sit for longer than two hours connected. My body feels better that way!

 

Work Station or Work From Wherever?

 

Wherever.
Except if that wherever includes crying babies or electro music.

 

Lunch at your Desk or Dining Table?

 

At my desk. Terrible thing! Pens, forks, paper, eraser, plate, oh is this bread from yesterday?, mobile phone, watercolor set…etc. This needs to be changed!

 

I hope you loved this interview with Sonja as much as I did. Her beautiful nature really comes across in her writing. If you’d like to find out more about Sonja, you can visit her website here or follow her on Instagram here (I love her Insta-feed!). 

Time Leaks and How to Fix Them

Are you leaking time you'd rather spend on being happy?

Here’s one thing that will make your week massively more productive. 

Know where you’re leaking time. 

And I don’t mean lazing on the couch on a Sunday reading a magazine, (I don’t consider relaxing to be wasted time). I don’t want you to ‘hustle’ or be all-go all the time. To me, that’s not normal and/or healthy. 

But where in your days are you spending time and subsequently feeling crap about it? Like you’ve zoned out and weren’t really engaged in anything that made you happy or was worth while.

For me lately, that’s been Facebook.
I always come away from it feeling like I’ve been in a trance and have lost 10 minutes from my life for no good reason. 

For you, it might be something different.
It doesn’t matter, the solution is always the same. 

Create a trigger that interrupts the flow and prompts you to take a different path. 

For me, I calculated that by spending 30 minutes on Facebook each day (an average amount taken from my Rescue Time reports) meant:

30 mins per day =
182 hours per year =
23 working days (based on 8 working hours Ie. 9am-5pm) = 
Almost a month of my working year spent on Facebook

The sobering thought that I’ve been loosing a month of my year on Facebook was enough to flip the switch.

So now, every time I go on automatic pilot and type ‘F’ into my browser, I say to myself “What would I rather spend 23 days on than mindlessly scrolling Facebook?”.

  • Sometimes that’s stepping out onto the balcony to breathe in some fresh sea air.
  • Sometimes that’s working a little longer on the outline for the online productivity course I’m building.
  • Sometimes that’s going to find my son and reading him a book. 

Getting clear on the time you sacrifice on distractions gives you power to use that time for things that actually bring you joy, pleasure and fulfilment. 

So I have a challenge for you…

  1. Think of something you do on autopilot that does not bring you any true joy or fulfilment. 

  2. Calculate how much time you spend a year on that one thing.

  3. Create a trigger sentence that interrupts the flow and allows you to make a different choice when you go into autopilot.

And The Winner Is…

The winner of my 2016 Logo Design Giveaway

 

In case you missed it, I hosted a my Annual Logo Design Package Giveaway last week. 

I was so honoured by the amount of you that entered! I’ll be spending some time getting back to everyone personally, but as promised… The winner of 2016’s Logo Design Giveaway is:

Lauren Bersaglio
from The Libero Network

Lauren’s non-profit organization provides support and resources for mental health.
As someone who occasionally suffers from anxiety, I really resonated with what Lauren’s doing for the world and would love to offer my support by designing a new Brand Identity for The Libero Network.  

I’ll keep you all posted with our progress over the coming weeks. 
Congratulations Lauren! Can’t wait to get working with you!

Olive Trees and The Chase for a Six Figure Business

Why I've decided to opt out of the six figure business chase (and a story about and old greek man)

I started planning the launch of my Branding and Web Design business back in 2012. Back then, the main focus of the online entrepreneur community was as Marie Forleo preaches… “Create a business and a life that you love”. There was zest and drive and focus and camaraderie. Everyone was supporting each other to do their own thing on their own terms. It now feels like that landscape has been infiltrated. 

Today, I struggle to get 10 posts deep into a Facebook Group feed without someone telling me I can make six figures in six months… Just like them. It’s a racket. And while I don’t necessarily doubt that all of these people are walking their talk (although I’d like to see their actual bottom line after tax and expenses) the part that unsettles me most is, I’m being told time and time again that I NEED to make six figures. That this is for some unknown reason, now the entire goal of working for myself. And that if I decide I don’t want it, that I have ‘some money blocks I need to be working on’.

I need money, we all do. And yes, there are certain freedoms money affords. But at this stage in my life, I’m quite comfortable with the amount of stress and ‘hustle’ I’m willing to endure for cash monies. I do not feel guilt when I take time away from my work to cuddle my son on the couch and watch Frozen. I work the hours that feel good for my body. I sleep the hours that feel good for my body. I work on a Sunday because I love the quiet focus it brings. I make my own rules, my own hours and I pay my own bills. I have no interest in a life of constant striving for more money while my (far more precious) time passes me by.

Last night, I went to the beach at 8pm. It was dark outside, the beach was moonlit and I sat on the sand as I watched an enormous lightening storm out over sea gradually make it’s way towards me. The sky show of bursts of light and colour was spectacular, and it stayed dry until the storm was almost overhead. As I sat there on a warm summery night, completely content with the world and my place in it, I thought about a story my father-in-law had read to me years ago from a book he was reading. It goes like this…

“Agean Islanders like to tell a joke about a prosperous Greek American who visits one of the islands on vacation. Out on a walk, the affluent Greek American comes upon an old Greek man sitting on a rock, sipping a glass of ouzo, and lazily staring at the sun setting into the sea.

 

The American notices there are olive trees growing in the hills behind the old Greek but that they are unattended, with olives just dropping here and there onto the ground. He asks the old man who the trees belong to. 

 

“They’re mine,” the Greek replies.

“Don’t you gather the olives?” the American asks.

“I just pick one when I want one,” the old man says. 

“But don’t you realize that if you pruned the trees and picked the olives at their peak, you could sell them? In America everybody is crazy about virgin olive oil, and they pay a damned good pice for it.”

 

“What would I do with the money?” the old Greek asks.

“Why, you could build yourself a big house and hire servants to do everything for you.”

“And then what would I do?”

“You could do anything you want!”

“You mean, like sit outside and sip ouzo at sunset?” “

So, you see, I don’t need what you’re selling, that guide to ‘6 figure success’. I’m too busy walking at my own pace. Dancing to the beat of my own drum and truly creating a business and a life that I love. One that I love right now. One that doesn’t rely on long hours and stress to bring me what I need. One that slowly builds and gathers momentum. A slow burner. Consistent and steady and full of happy moments along the way. 

Sure I could pull out all the stops and throw everything I have in now. I could work 16 hour days in a bid to conquer the world. I could ignore my friends, my family, my two year old son, bury my self-worth in my social media followers, break targets and make mountains of money now. But what would I do with the money?

“Why, you could build yourself a big house and hire servants to do everything for you.”
“And then what would I do?”
“You could do anything you want!”
“You mean, like sitting on the beach on a warm summer night and watch a storm roll in over the ocean?”

 

 

Quoted Excerpt from Travels with Epicurus: A Journey to a Greek Island in Search of a Fulfilled Life by Daniel M. Klein

Giveaway 2016: Full Logo Package

GIVEAWAY

 

It was my birthday this week.

This is my favourite time of year for kicking back and taking stock of where I am and where I’m going. That’s why you’ve had no new blog posts from me this week. I’m having some deep thinking time. I’ve even booked myself into a cosy little cottage for some solo planning and plotting (and let’s be real, lounging and napping) as a birthday present.

When I started my business two years ago, from the very first client I took on, I’ve always known that philanthropy was going to be an important part of my business model. I wanted to get it in at the beginning, even though I was broke. And successfully since then, for every client I’ve had, I’ve given a $25 microloan to a woman in need of a leg-up in her own business through KIVA. I’m looking forward to another year of adding to it.

I’ve loved that process. Getting a business off the ground and seeing my clients excel while simultaneously helping a woman who I’ll never truly know, nurture her own livelihood. It’s become as necessary in my business as paying taxes (and way more fun).

This year, I wanted to do something else, as well as my KIVA microloans. Something that would help a woman I could have a chance of speaking with and forming a relationship with. Something that could give an unexpected leg up to someone trying their best, without the budget to back up their ambition.

I’ve always been interested in businesses that inspire social change. Because I feel that if we really get in there and change the consciousness of society, we will naturally see the world become a better, fairer, more embracing place. 

So this year, (and hopefully once a year going forward) I would love to give away a full logo design package to a non-profit, charity OR profit model business* that inspires social change. That can be through a product, education, coaching… Anything really. All you’ll need to do is explain how what you do, changes the world for the better.

The package will include:

 

My signature Values Based Branding Exploration – Where we dig deep and unearth the underlying values for why you do what you do.

 

Values artwork – So you can show the world why you do what you do.

 

A custom designed logo with submark

 

2 x Social Media Headers

 

1 x Website Header

 

1 x 2 Sided Business Card Design

The turnaround time will be approximately 4 weeks and you will have full license to all artwork when the project is finished. You’ll also get all original files so you can use your new branding on anything and everything, big and small.

I can only offer this to one business at this moment in time.
To enter, all you have to do is:

  1. Share this on any social media channel of your choice

  2. Fill in the form below…

Giveaway 2016: Full Logo Package

  • Give me a brief description of your business and how you feel it makes the world a better place.

I will read through all entries and decide which project I resonate with most. I’ll then announce the winning project on the blog and via my email list (make sure you’re signed up below).

*The reason I’ve opened this up to all business types is that I believe incredible good can be done in the world whether your non-profit, charity or making profit in a business.

OPEN FOR ENTRIES UNTIL FRIDAY 11TH MARCH
OPEN INTERNATIONALLY // DIGITAL PRODUCTS

Currently – February 2016

Behind the scenes in February

 

A little snap shot of what life involves these days.

 

Listening To: The Royal Blood album on repeat in the car. It’s Ethan’s favourite album at the moment, so there’s no escape. I’ve also been enjoying The Minimalists podcasts which have given enormous food for thought. And recommended by The Minimalists, I’ve started listening to The Savage Lovecast, which [Warning] is probably the most sexually explicit thing you could listen to, but it’s hilarious, eye opening and keeps me laughing while I clean my house. 

 

Reading: The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. Stunningly written and a monstrous 580 pages long, I’m working my way through it slowly but surely. Especially during my Midday Fiction Breaks.

 

Enjoying: Parties, within 12 days we’ve had Ethan’s birthday, Gavin’s birthday, Australian Citizenship Ceremony and my birthday, so there have been celebrations galore, which is both fun and exhausting. I’m loving the time spent with my boys and friends. 

 

Making: Paintings for the sake of paintings. No one else is seeing them but me and it feels very liberating. 

 

Thankful For: Goal lists, balcony breezes, Saturday naps, Monday morning work, crispy potatoes, stickers in my planner, hilarious two year old mannerisms, friends who love wholeheartedly, salads from Manna, my drawing tablet and husband hugs.

 

Looking Forward To: My solo weekend away. Upcoming date night (it’s been a while). A round the world visit from the in-laws. 

 

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Daily Routine of a Creative Freelancer featuring Reyna Lay

The Daily Routine of Fashion Design and Mother, Reyna Lay
 
Hi, I’m Reyna and I’m a mother, an Army wife, an Army veteran, and a fashion designer. I design handmade, one-of-a-kind garments for several boutiques in the U.S. along with making custom pieces for the general public and musicians such as singer Kam Franklin, of The Suffers. My newest line called, Pandora’s Box, made its debut on the Spring issue of Deitra Magazine and at the Harvard Eleganza Fashion Show in April. Also, I recently just released my first sewing pattern, The Miriam Skirt, and I’m currently working on my second one. Every week I host The Reyna Lay Designs Podcast on iTunes, a free podcast that interviews creatives in all walks of life with the goal of building, empowering, and inspiring one another, and sharing our creative journeys. I’m also a degree candidate in the Master of Liberal Arts in Extension Studies, Field of General Management at Harvard, and pursuing a marketing management graduate certificate along with my degree.
 
How and when, do you typically wake up in the morning?
 
I wake up at 6am to get my oldest ready for school. I have to set 2-3 separate alarms that I can snooze until I finally wake up. I’m definitely not a morning person. Then I go back to bed and wake up around 9AM when my youngest wakes me up. He’s 2 and a handful, but definitely makes my life more interesting!
 
What do you do before work?
 
I have breakfast, either a strawberry, protein smoothie, or eggs with sausage bits and shredded carrots, with my 2-year-old. I’m actually not a big breakfast eater but I force myself to eat something to get my day started on the right foot. Then I set him up with lots of toys and activities in his play area so I can start working.
 
How do you keep on top of tasks?
 
I definitely keep a list of things I need to do and a calendar. I split things up into days so that I’m not bombarded with all of them at once. This definitely keeps me organized, especially with a 2-year-old at home and lots of homework and custom pieces to make. Some days I’ll work on patternmaking, other days I’ll sit at my sewing machine and sew, and most days I’ll sit at my desk and attend my classes online and then do homework. I find that if I know what I’m going to do each day, the stress level is easier to deal with. But, I also love not having a routine, if that makes any sense. The great thing about being my own boss is that I can choose not to work that day, or that week, for that matter. I can attend my childrens’ events, or sleep in, and binge on Netflix all day; it’s pretty nice. It does take a calendar to make sure whatever is missed during my “break”, gets taken care of as soon as I’m back though.
 
How do you stay motivated?
 
I stay motivated by making sure to pick things I will enjoy doing. You can’t do that with homework, but luckily, I really love learning about business and management so homework isn’t too bad. As far as my work goes though, I only accept projects that I know I’ll enjoy and that I know I’ll put my whole heart into because if not, I’m just wasting my time and the client’s time. Also, time with my family is very precious to me, so if I’m taking that time away from them, it has to be worth it.
 
What do you have for lunch?
 
I usually have a fried chicken caesar salad or pork chops and white rice. I’m a creature of habit, so my lunch rarely changes. I’m also not much of a cook, so my lunches are very boring. Dinners on the other hand are much more delicious, but that’s because my husband usually cooks dinner. 
 
How do you beat the afternoon slump?
 
I make sure to workout in the afternoons. My oldest comes home around 3 so I feed them and then I head to our garage and weight train while the kids play in the front yard, which usually ends up being filled with all of the neighbors kids. I also do sprints or run around the neighborhood while my little one naps, or while they bike to get some cardio in. This really helps keep us all energized and healthy, and definitely avoids any slumps that may come our way during the day.
 
When do you clock off?
 
I clock off to workout, but once, they’ve all been washed, fed dinner, and put to bed, I get back on the computer for a couple hours of more work after bedtime. I get up later so I have to make up for it at night. I have a very supportive husband who doesn’t mind my working late. He usually sits and watches tv while I work, or gets his own work done at the same time.
 
Is there anything you like to always do before bed?
 
I love reading if I have the time, and I also work pretty late, until around 11pm usually, so if I’m working on a custom made garment or illustrations, I watch Netflix while I work, or listen to podcasts, and then I shower and head to bed. I enjoy my days very much and feel very blessed to be able to enjoy what I call work, and still be able to spend time with my kids and my husband. 
 
 
Rapid Fire Questions…
 
Pajamas or Grown Ups Clothes?
Grown up clothes.
 
Regimented Routine or Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants?
Both. A routine, but if I don’t feel like working that day, I definitely change it up, and go with how I feel. 
 
Tea or Coffee? Which flavor?
Coffee, vanilla. Lots of creamer!
 
One Big Break or Lots of Little Breaks?
Lots of little breaks. (I don’t think there’s any other option with a 2-year-old. haha)
 
Work Station or Work From Wherever?
Work station.
 
Lunch at your Desk or Dining Table?
Desk, with Netflix. 
If you would like to see more of Reyna, you can visit her website, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Or even give her podcast a listen. 

Should We Be Constantly Inspired?

We spend so much of every day seeking inspiration, but is it good for us?

Are you sick of seeing inspirational quotes yet?

I once heard someone say that online porn takes up the vast majority of the internet (and while I doubt that to be true), images of inspirational quotes has to be threatening to take the lead? You can’t log onto [insert your Social Media Platform of choice] anymore without tripping over at least 10 of them in your feed. Some might say that the effect of the aforementioned quote is no longer potent due to the saturation. 

But I do like the occasional inspirational quote graphic. 
Sometimes you find one that just ‘gets you’, lights a fire in your belly and makes you jump to task. 

Aside from these quote graphics, you have blogs that aim to inspire (like this one), podcasts, apps, websites, mobile apps, screen savers, advertisements, printables, books and free pdfs (to name but a few). We’re surrounded by things that aim and claim to inspire us. The thing is, these trends are often a matter of demand. We demanded more infographics and slogan t–shirts, we demanded to be inspired all the damn time. 

But what I’ve recently started noticing is that feeling inspired and indeed looking for ways to stay inspired and switched on can be a full time job and one that takes WAY too much energy. I used to be the person who would check Instagram on the toilet, listen to podcasts while washing dishes and read blog posts while in line at a post office. Maximising time spent on inspirational tasks was the aim of my game. 

But I slowly started to burn out. It was too much, too fast, too often. 

I’ve found that constantly looking for inspiration online is like being a computer that is never shut down completely. Constantly plugged into a power source, burning RAM and refreshing apps until one day, I burn out completely and need a hard reset. To save me the time and heartache of inspiration burnout, I’ve devised a few rules for myself. 

  • No social media in the evenings. This time is for work, relaxation or being with my husband (sometimes all three).
  • No podcasts on short car journeys, instead I enjoy music or just that blissful, mechanical almost-silence you can only get in the car. 
  • No phone checking in queues, instead I try to let my eyes and mind wander for a while.

The long and short of it is this:

Inspiration should be used as a tool when needed, not sought as a way of being. 

Do you find yourself constantly plugged into the inspiration power source?
Do you have ways that you distance yourself from the inspirational chatter online?

Daily Routine of a Creative Freelancer featuring Amanda Gates

Daily Routine of a Creative Freelancer featuring Amanda Gates
 
Amanda from Gates Interior Design has worked with a wide variety of clients, from Tennessee, to Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas. As a leader in the world of intentional design her clients seek her out because they are looking to enlighten their lives. Her goal in every design is to create a home that supports that journey. 
 
Your home not only functions as a sanctuary, but it’s a place to create intimate relationships, build memories, foster personal growth, and be your truest self. As she always says, “good design enhances your lifestyle, but intentional design enhances quality of life”. She has worked with a number of Nashville, Franklin and Brentwood homeowners to help them create an uplifted and beautiful home that supports who they are as an individual. She has also worked with music artists, writers, and painters to build intentionally creative environments to harness the artist within, and help them increase productivity and creativity.
 
Amanda recently won the coveted award for Best Interior Designer in Nashville, The Toast of Music City and placed third by The Scene as Best Interior Design firm in Nashville, and won Best in Service for 2016, from Houzz. 
 
 

 

How and when, do you typically wake up in the morning?

Typically around 7 am. Sleep is very important to me. Unlike others who wear lack of sleep like a badge of honor, I respect the fact that to be my optimum, creative self, I need a minimum of 7 hours! And I have the best alarm clock in the world – my better half wakes me up with a kiss and a large cup of joe.

 

What do you do before work?

I’m a huge advocate of putting myself first – before anyone. And this had to be learned. I no longer pop out of bed and grab my phone to check emails, which I had been doing since the invention of the iPhone in 2007. Why do those people take precedence? Don’t make other peoples priority’s your own because it’s a fast way to lose your day. 

My morning routine is a cup of coffee with a minimum of 45 minutes of reflection. This includes goals for the day, focusing on my big picture, and how those goals for today fit into my big picture. It’s easy for my day to go off the rails, so that morning ritual helps keep me on track and focused. It also helps keep me in a state of calm because I planned a head. One of my favorite quotes from Tim Ferris, “People who reply to, How is your day, by saying Crazy-Busy, just means they are out of control – and that is someone I don’t want to do business with.” That’s powerful! And I agree.

 

How do you keep on top of tasks?

This was another pivotal moment that had to be learned, and it was brought to me by my coach Sue and then followed up by my good friend, Stephanie Burns. Every year I invest in a very good paper calendar called a Day Designer. In the front of the planner are all my BIG goals, followed by blank pages for notes. Every idea that comes to mind, that I want to execute but don’t have time to do, goes in those pages. I call it “idea pages”.  That way nothing is lost, and if I’m still excited about it a month later, that means it’s a great idea. 

Otherwise, everyday I focus on three major tasks, not 20. I think a lot of people, creatives especially, over do their to-do list, and that only sets you up for failure. Write down your top three goals for the day, and physically check them off as you do them. This empowers you and gives you a sense of accomplishment – and that is incredibly important when your day goes off the rails. And the best part is, if you get those three done by 11am, everything else is gravy and you complete the day with power.

 

How do you stay motivated?

My husband and my coach are my two biggest champions. And to be successful in anything, you have to have at least one. Being a right-brained creative is hard. Mainly because I am really hard on myself and feel my creativity needs to matter, it needs to amount to something. And a lot of entrepreneur’s can relate to that. One day can be great and the next day complete shit. Without a champion, without that morning reflection to keep me on track – well, that’s the fast track to burn out.

But I will say for all those creatives out there reading this, go pick up Liz Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic. It’s a game changer.

 

What do you have for lunch?

I am not a big lunch person. Meaning I don’t stop what I’m doing to go eat. But, with that said, I take my health very serious. I’m a vegetarian and have been for 5 years. I eat an all organic diet that consists mainly of raw veggies and fruit. I only drink water and tea. I always have organic nuts on my desk, so I will snack on those through out the day, and sometimes I will have a piece of ezekiel bread with avocado spread. And I almost always have a cup of tea and a large bottle of water on my desk. Gotta stay hydrated!

 

How do you beat the afternoon slump?

Actually I no longer have those. Eating a wholesome diet, and getting plenty of rest, drinking plenty of water curbs that myth. I also encourage everyone to get a food allergy test. I recently did this and discovered many of the raw foods I was eating were causing severe inflammation – and this causes severe fatigue, especially in the afternoons. As soon as I eliminated those foods I feel like I have the energy of a three year old!

 

When do you clock off?

Oh, this is one of my “bad habits”.  I love what I do, and I find inspiration in everything – which leads to a podcast or a blog post or a project. Thankfully, because of my husband I have a weekly routine. Without him I would be a chaotic mess staying up all hours of the night!

I will typically work from 830-5, go to yoga, make dinner and then work a little on the couch as we watch TV. I don’t always do this, but if something inspires me or catches my attention I have to work on it. Liz Gilbert has an entire chapter in her book about the opportunity in inspiration and you have a choice on whether to answer it or not. It’s quite brilliant.

 

Is there anything you like to always do before bed?

Yes I’m obsessed with learning new things and seeing how other people do things.  I’m always listening to podcasts, reading, or taking courses. I’m not a big fan of sitting in front of a TV to just stare at moving pictures. Our time is valuable, and when I learn things about fascinating people, like President Teddy Rosevelt who read 1-2 books a day, it makes me want to be a better person.

Last year I took on the challenge to read one book a month. I averaged three, and I felt incredibly accomplished by the New Year that I had done that. I would not have felt that way about TV – so my nightly routine is always learning.

 

Rapid Fire Questions…

 

Pajamas or Grown Ups Clothes?
PJs for bed, Grown up clothes when I work ( even though I work from home – always get dressed for work, ALWAYS!)

 

Regimented Routine or Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants?
A little of both. I tend to shoot from the hip – but remember I start and end my day the same

 

Tea or Coffee? Which flavor?
Bullet Proof coffee in the morning Loose tea throughout the day

 

One Big Break or Lots of Little Breaks?
Lots of little breaks

 

Work Station or Work From Wherever?
Work from wherever

 

Lunch at your Desk or Dining Table?
If I eat its at my desk

 
If you’d like to visit Amanda you can do so at her websiteInstagramFacebookPodcastPinterest or on her business Twitter or personal Twitter.

The Secret of a Midday Fiction Break

Why I started reading fiction for 20 minutes a day and how much more productive it makes me.

 

A while back, I wrote a blog post about how I need to read more fiction

Well, since that post, I’ve been making a lot more time for it on a daily basis. I’ve also discovered what floats my boat and when. I used to lie in bed at night with a personal or business development book and a highlighter (I’m not kidding), sounds relaxing doesn’t it? Now, I know to only ever read business or motivational books first thing in the morning and definitely not before bed time.

I make sure to turn off all screens at least half an hour before bed (this is such a hard one to remember, I’ve had to set an alarm on my phone) and look forward to climbing into bed for a cosy dive into whatever book is taking my fancy. It’s much more luxurious and pleasurable than the aforementioned highlighter wielding. 

While I love this little routine (most nights), I barely get through five pages and I’m snoozing. I have also noticed that during the day, I’ve got back into the (terrible) habit of eating my lunch at my desk. Which is made even worse by the fact that my desk is currently in my bedroom!

So, in true two-birds-one-stone form, I’ve decided to start implementing Midday Fiction Breaks. 
At around 12noon each work day, I stop what I’m doing, go have lunch at my dining table and then take a 20 minute break to read my book on the sofa. 

Honestly, I cannot stress how much this has increased both my productivity and daily pleasure. The difference is HUGE.  

It was hard to force myself to break focus at that time each day to begin with, but now that I know the benefit it’s having, it’s far easier to ‘down tools’ and get some downtime midday. I’ve found there to be two main benefits worth noting:

  • It forces me to break up my day into smaller batches. I know that I only have from 9am to 12noon to work on a project, so I tend to be much more intent on completing what I set out to do, knowing that there’s a strict 12noon finish time. 

  • The sheer indulgent pleasure of getting comfy with a cup of tea (often some dark chocolate) and my book for 20 minutes kickstarts my creativity for the afternoon stint. I used to find I was running out of creative juice by about lunch time, when really, I was actually just running out of juice altogether. Having this dedicated break to read some creative writing has me all fired up to get back to designing afterwards.

Are Midday Fiction Breaks something you’d consider injecting into your day?
Do you find that taking a break in the middle of your work day is worth it?

Hi! I'm Naomi

Hi! I'm Naomi

Life affirming designer and productivity enthusiast.

Designing values based brands and teaching creatives how to balance productivity, creativity and pleasure.

Technically, on honeymoon since 2011

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ADJUST YOUR READING ACCORDING TO WHAT INTERESTS YOU…

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