I look at the photo below and wish I could transport myself back to the Algarve and Portugal with a click of my fingers, to feel the sand beneath my toes, the sun beating down on my cheeks but we’re home now, the Easter break is well and truly over, the chocolate has all been eaten and it’s time to get back to normality, to cook for ourselves again (shock, horror), to embrace the spring in Yorkshire (even if it’s too cold for my liking) and importantly, to crack on with work once more.
I’m over halfway through writing my book (out in March 2018-yay) with a first draft deadline of June 1st so that, along with campaign work and of course writing posts like this, to help myself and hopefully you guys too, are on the list that never ends. I LOVE what I do so work never feels like work (it’s a joy to be paid to write and film), I just wish I had more hours in the day (sound familiar?) and getting back into a routine after fun in the sun, or any kind of break for that matter, feels a bit tough going. Get the violins out, I know!
Here are the tips I’m reminding myself of, so I can snap out of these post-holiday blues and get my booty back in gear. I hope they help you too:
1. List Writing. Oh, how I love a list. I use everything from Google Calendar to massive diaries and whilst they each have their place and are useful, nothing makes me happier than ticking boxes in a notepad. I tend to write or add to lists several times a day, having a work list by my laptop so I don’t forget deadlines and pending pieces, as well as notes for post ideas and projects when inspiration hits and I also keep notepads everywhere I go, with shopping lists in my bags, notelets in my bedside drawer and post it pads in the kitchen.
I find it therapeutic to write a to-do list before I go to bed at night too so I can clear my mind of what needs to be done the following day, and sleep.
2. Exercise. I know I bang on about this a lot and I’m a bit of a hypocrite as I can go for weeks without doing any to then two runs a day (argh) but when I run, power walk, lift weights and get on the mat regularly, I really feel amazing. I’ve recently become a bit addicted to sport and am committed to keep up with it. I love that rush. Plus, nothing helps me de-stress or firm up physically like getting my sweat on.
3. Prioritise. As we creatives naturally procrastinate (Facebook for the 50th time this morning, anyone?) because it’s hard being an artist right but it’s important to get strict on ourselves and crack on with what’s a priority first, ignoring distractions so we can complete the job in hand.
4. Routine is as important for you as it is for your kids. I love to write my book at night because the house is quiet and I feel ready when night falls. Writing my blog and even emails by day feel like the warm up I need for my nightly book writing sprint, by night. I’ve gotten into a routine of running first thing before working on blog posts with book writing from 9 pm once the kids sleep.
Work out what works well for you when it comes to work and family life. I always stop at pick-up and tune out of work and social unless something urgent is on the agenda. Obviously, if you feel tired and grouchy from burning the midnight oil, consider getting up before the kids on a morning to give yourself some space to write, or dedicate time over the weekend where you can write, paint or film. Find a routine and stick to it.
5. Take time out. Yes, you’ve heard it all before but do you actually give yourself a break? I know that I only create my best work when I actually LIVE my life. You can’t write about life if all you do is write, right?! Breaks, holidays, downtime, fun with family and friends makes for one happy creative. Go be inspired by the arts, visit a gallery or museum, walk in the countryside, turn your phone off and connect with others being present in that moment. Then, return to your work, renewed and ready to give it your all.
OK I’m ready for action now. Are you?