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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.

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