Rapid Fire Questions…Pajamas or Grown Ups Clothes?Colorful leggings and tops with magical prints or odd cuts.Regimented Routine or Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants?In the middle. I have my go-to routines but I change it up too.Tea or Coffee? Which flavour?Tea. Current favorite: Damiana, chamomile, lemon balm, ginkgo balboa, mullein, guayusa, and chai spices blend crafted by my partner and made into a delicious iced tea.One Big Break or Lots of Little Breaks?both. 🙂Work Station or Work From Wherever?90% work from my desk and studio.Lunch at your Desk or Dining Table?Dining table or outside on the patio.
If you’d like to get in touch with Nicole, you can have a snoop around her website, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter. And I recommend you check out her Kickstarter page and video here. It’s such a great concept and I have about 10 friends in mind who I know would love a Spirit Cat Deck 🙂
If you are a member of the internet (and my educated guess is that you are), you will likely have seen one of those jars before.
But in case you haven’t a faintest notion what it is, it’s a Daily Moments Jar. At least, that’s what I call mine. The trend for these jars seems to be calling them Gratitude Jars / Happiness Jars / Memory Jars and the aim of the game is to fill the jar with one little thing you’re grateful for every day. Then when the year ends, you can take them out and ‘oh’ and ‘ah’ over everything you put in there.
I write something on a little piece of paper and put it in the jar every day. But rather than noting what I’m grateful for, I write down a little moment that made me happy that day. I keep the jar on my bedside table and scraps of paper (most often shreds of failed paintings) and a pen in the drawer.
However, I’m terrible at keeping up new habits. I have to treat myself like a kid and remove every single obstacle in my way, then make the steps so simple, it’s almost harder not to continue the habit. For a few days there, even though everything I needed was right there, I forgot to fill in my little notes. So when making my bed this morning, I took the jar from my bedside and put it right on my spot on the bed.
Which means that tonight, I’ll have to physically move the jar to get into bed, making it infinitely more likely that I’ll deposit a daily moment note into the jar to make my future self both satisfied and happy.
I also hang bags I need to remember on the front door handle, put kitchen items I need to remember to put on the shopping list in the middle of the floor and keep my box of floss in my bathroom sink.
Yes, it’s a basic and almost insulting way to remember to do something as simple as floss… But I’m telling you, unless I have a physical obstruction that screams at me to complete the task, I often forget.
So the next time you want to form a new habit, think of ways to remind yourself in the bluntest terms.
- Hang your workout clothes on the shower head so you can’t get showered without working out.
- Stick a plan of your ideal day to the bathroom mirror and again on the fridge.
- Have your supplements and a glass sitting on the kitchen bench the night before to remind you in the morning.
- Leave your journal on your keyboard, so you don’t get to work until you’ve written a little.
- Stick a note to your monitor telling you what the first task you need to complete is, so you don’t automatically open email or worse… Facebook.
These are just a few examples of the random habit obstructions you can create to steer yourself in the right direction.
Do any of you use this tactic with yourself already?
Or maybe you have more willpower than me and don’t have to physically obstruct your person to remember to do something you genuinely want to do?
Either way I’d love to hear.
Rapid Fire Questions…Pajamas or Grown Ups Clothes?
Depends on the dayRegimented Routine or Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants?BothTea or Coffee? Which flavour?
Coffee in the a.m., peppermint tea in the p.m.One Big Break or Lots of Little Breaks?
Lots of little breaksWork Station or Work From Wherever?
WhereverLunch at your Desk or Dining Table?
Neither, if I can help it.
I’m getting into the nitty gritty of overwhelm today over on Rock My Style blog. If you haven’t visited them before, make sure to click through all their other posts. The content these ladies produce is beautiful, real and inspiring!
So honoured to be apart of it today.
A little snap shot of what life involves these days
Listening To: The Bane Rendition by The Raconteurs and other similar chilled out rock/blues instrumentals. This is typically the type of music I write to. I’m also pretty into The Lively Show Podcast by Jess Lively and for extra motivation, Lambo Goal Podcast by Sean McCabe.
Reading: I’m just finishing up on Cider with Rosie which is a 1959 memoir by Laurie Lee. The writing is absolutely stunning. Then I’ll be getting started on The Queens Code by Alison Armstrong.
Enjoying: Watching my two year old son slip into his own style. His mannerisms, words and little looks. I just can’t get enough of them.
Making: time for myself to paint, play and organise. I know the last one is a funny past time, but I’m starting to realise that organising my days and belongings is the best therapy. It makes me feel calm and centred. So I’m making more time to do it.
Thankful For: Balmy nights, air conditioning, dark chocolate, companionship, creativity, memory keeping, parks, cold water and 0.2 Uni Pin pens.
Looking Forward To: my creative retreat. I’ve got it booked close to my birthday, so it’s going to feel like an extra special treat. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, you might want to read this Huffington Post Article I wrote.
Saskia Nelson is the talent behind the award-winning and internationally acclaimed Hey Saturday, the UK’s coolest dating photography business, specialising in creating dating photos that kick ass and win dates for 100s of single people. She is also the co-founder of Irresistible Dating.
She’s been credited by Time magazine for creating the genre of dating photography and is recognised as the leading industry expert in the UK & US on all things dating photo related.
I love it when I get to interview people with unique or unusual jobs. Saskia is a pioneer in her field and I can’t wait to share her typical working day with you.
Over to the questions!
How and when, do you typically wake up in the morning?
I’m actually an evening person rather than a morning person and typically work until quite late the evening before so I enjoy a slow, lazy start to my day. I usually wake up about 8ish and lie there snoozing for about an hour with a cup of tea and a book.
What do you do before work?
I check out my Bloglovin’ feed for some daily inspiration to get my creative juices flowing and to get me feeling good about the day ahead. Working out of my living room, I like to remember there’s a whole cool, colourful world out there and Bloglovin’ is my window on to this world. I follow tonnes of cool blogs like Nectar Collective, Gala Darling, Braid Creative, Dylana Suarez, Yes and Yes, Trop Rouge and this one of course.
How do you keep on top of tasks?
I’m so old school, I use my “Things to do today” notepad.
How do you stay motivated?
I always make sure I include something that scares me and something fun each day. Including fun stuff helps keep me motivated. Some days, if I’m feeling really unmotivated, then I’ll have a cheeky day off and go to Brighton to meet friends and get some sea air or head to the cinema to give my brain a rest from overthinking.
What do you have for lunch?
I usually have soup or salad. I gave up bread a couple of years ago so anything that’s easy and isn’t a sandwich.
How do you beat the afternoon slump?
Every couple of days I do a short lunchtime workout (Gillian Michaels – so it might be short but it ain’t pretty!) or I head to Battersea Park or play some deep house music really loudly and have a dance, all of which then re-energises me.
When do you clock off?
I usually clock off about 7 – 7.30pm when my boyfriend comes home from work. In the early days of running my business, I’d hang with him until he went to bed and then I’d get another couple of hours of work in. I’ve recently given up caffeine though and don’t seem to have the stamina for that any more – thankfully.
Is there anything you like to always do before bed?
I unwind by watching Netflix & boxsets! Naughty I know lol. I’m currently watching Banshee, Prison Break and The Tunnel – all amazing. Getting absorbed in these shows really helps my brain totally switch off from work, which is why I enjoy it.
Rapid Fire Questions…
Pajamas or Grown Ups Clothes?
Haha, something in the middle. Sweatshirt and track pants!
Regimented Routine or Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants?
I have definitely fallen into a routine even though I like to think of myself as edgy and different.
Tea or Coffee? Which flavour?
One Big Break or Lots of Little Breaks?
Lots of little breaks
Work Station or Work From Wherever?
Desk, Bed, Kitchen table, coffee shop – I like to mix it up.
Lunch at your Desk or Dining Table?
Depends on my mood – again I mix it up
I got a bad case of creative block this week which almost sent me into a blind panic.
I don’t often fall victim to it, so when it happens, it’s damn scary.
“What do you mean you don’t know what to write about?! You have three blog posts to write, a Sunday Love newsletter to send out AND you have a four hour block, two bars of chocolate and a document of 50+ blog post ideas… What more do you want lady?”
The self berating was almost instant the minute I realised I couldn’t get a word down on the page, or the screen for that matter. So I did what I do best, I began researching. Looking for ways to get me out of my funk. It was successful! Because here I am writing. So, I’ve compiled a list of my favourite ways to get rid of a creative block. Many of which have been in my arsenal for years. Most I’ve tried. Some I’ve yet to.
If your creative juices are currently flowing, enjoy the list but make sure you save it as a ‘get out of jail free’ card for when the dreaded block comes to visit. And when that day comes… You’re welcome.
- Go for a shower – Make it cold if you’re warm or hot if you’re cold. It’s all in the contrast.
- Do tumbles – I’m serious! You’ll see some suggestions for weird ways to move your body on this list. Trust me. It works.
- Meditate – I know, predictable. But for good reason.
- Clean your workspace – Ain’t no inspiration coming to visit you if your desk is a dump.
- Go for a walk – Aimlessly.
- Listen to a podcast while cleaning – The combination of mind stretching, body moving and space preening works a treat.
- Have a treat – Go drink tea and eat chocolate, you deserve a rest while you bang your head against the wall.
- Colour in – Those colouring books that are all the rage now? Perfect for busting blocks.
- Dance – Music + movement = medicine.
- Go for a drive – It seems that motivation and inspiration like it when I’m moving at unnatural speeds with constant changing surroundings.
- Bribe yourself – If I write this blog post, I can absolutely buy that overpriced top I’ve had my eye on.
- Jump – Skip, trampoline, pogo… Anything that gets your body moving vertically. Shake it off.
- Drink as much water as you can physically take – Dehydration is really good at secretly putting us in slow motion.
- Change your surroundings – Fresh eyes, fresh vibes, fresh thoughts.
- Phone a friend – Talk it out or don’t talk about it at all, just connecting with someone will help clear your mind.
- Read a book – Getting lost in the work of another creative can help restore your faith that it’s possible.
- Have a nap – The ultimate reset button.
- Create something other than what you’re trying to – If you want to write, draw. If you want to draw, paint. If you want to paint, cook.
- Lie on the floor with your headphones on – This feeling is what they mean when they say music soothes the soul.
- Get dressed up – Do your hair nice, wear something fancy, feel good about yourself.
I’ve saved the best for last…
- Open up a blank document and just start writing. Literally like this:
So, it’s me. And I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m just writing. And it doesn’t make sense, because that’s ok. This week I’ve been thinking about Bowie and chocolate. But mainly Bowie. I also feel like cooking. There’s food. And it still feels weird to be writing and I have no idea what I’m going to do. This block is a bit scary. But I’m going to keep writing until something comes out that’s worth writing about. Even if it’s rubbish. I can always elaborate on it later.
That little ramble is taken from the blind journalling (as I like to call it) entry I did after realising I had writers block this week. I just kept writing and writing and writing for about three pages. Total nonsense, but in the end, I was able to pull out a few ideas and develop those ideas into blog posts. You’re reading one of them now.
I hope you found this list in some way useful. I know I’ll be pinning it for future reference of my own for sure!
Are there any go-to ways you bust through your creative blocks?
Anything I left out that should be in there? I’d love to update this list with your ideas.
I’m not a coffee drinker. I adore the smell of coffee, but I really don’t like the taste.
I think this stops me from being a part of some cool business owner club where everyone goes for coffee and talks about their space ship coffee machines… But alas, my obsession is not coffee. It’s tea.
The problem with this mild tea obsession is that something so simple that brings me pleasure and requires me to walk away from my desk, equates to massive procrastination.
Yes, that’s right. I procrastinate by making myself 65 cups of tea a day (on average). So when I realised that a large amount of my down time was spent waiting for the kettle to boil, and being the productivity freak I am… I had to game it somehow.
So here are the two slightly unusual things I do while my kettle boils :
High Knees Running in Place: Guaranteed to get the blood pumping and shake off the cobwebs.
Wall Sits: This makes me wish desperately that I had bought the super-duper-fast boiling kettle, it makes me pray for mercy every time and eventually fall in a crumpled heap in the floor when I finally hear that ‘click’. But my bum & legs are starting to thank me for this torture. And finally sitting back down at my desk feels really good.
Do you have any micro exercise habits during the work day?
Or do you ever force yourself to do weird little challenges like that?
*Disclaimer, I do not do this every single time I make a cup of tea. If I did, I’d likely have a backside to rival Kim Kardashian. Which I do not. There are many times you’ll find me hunting for chocolate to accompany my tea instead of wall sitting. But during work days, I try my best to stick to these rules*
Rapid Fire Questions…Pajamas or Grown Ups Clothes?Neither! Sweatpants and tees.Regimented Routine or Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants?Routine.Tea or Coffee? Which flavour?Coffee with coconut oil and almond milk.One Big Break or Lots of Little Breaks?Lots of breaks.Work Station or Work From Wherever?Work station.Lunch at your Desk or Dining Table?Desk.
Gavin and I both work really long days. We’re typically up at 5am trying to sneak in an hour or two of work before Ethan gets up, then the day commences. Gavin goes and does a 12 hour shift at his day job (truck driving) and I go and do a 12 hour shift at mine (mothering + freelance brand identity designing).
We also have a mutual agreement that from Sunday to Thursday, when Ethan goes to bed at 7pm, we’ll both work until 9pm that night too. (Gavin on his book and me on my business). The thing is… Exhaustion.
There are SO many days when one or both of us are so mentally/physically exhausted that the mere thought of firing up the computer is too much to handle. Yet we both know that making daily progress towards our goals is what makes us happy and fulfilled overall.
So how do we combat the urge to couch crash with Netflix?
We have a rule. If you don’t feel like doing the work, you need to open up the computer and commit to 10 minutes of whatever it is you don’t want to do. Just 10 minutes. Set a timer if you like. And when that 10 minutes is up, you can absolutely shut everything down, walk away and do all the Netflix binging you want.
There are three major benefits to this rule:
- After 10 minutes of working on something, I’m usually in the zone and want to keep on working. These tend to be our most focused and productive nights.
- However, when I find myself clock watching those 10 minutes, breathing a sigh of relief when they’re over and following up with some much needed lounging, I still walk away feeling hugely accomplished. Because I pushed through, showed up… And actually did something.
- I’m a big believer in listening to your body and knowing when it’s time to rest. But I feel like that little 10 minutes of work actually boosts my recharge when I take the rest of the night off. It eradicates the guilt and allows me to relax more deeply.
Do you have any tips, tricks or tactics that you rely on to help you do the work, when you really can’t be bothered?
It happens to me so often, I feel like I could do with an entire arsenal of weapons to combat it.