There are a great many benefits to working from home, including flexibility of working hours, taking unscheduled days off, waving goodbye to working in formal business wear and spending more quality time with the family. However, working from home can also produce challenges, including reduced creativity.
Image source: Flickr
Many freelancers find that when they are working from home every day by themselves, it begins to take a toll. Concentration becomes difficult to manage, work quality or standards start to slip and the flow of ideas becomes stagnant. This in essence is a dimming of your creative sparkle. Fortunately, you need not despair as there are a number of strategies to help you maintain your creativity.
If you have found yourself staring at the same spot of your office wall instead of concentrating on your latest project, why not have a change of scenery. You could get some fresh air and work in your backyard or on a porch or balcony. This may provide the change of atmosphere you need to revitalize your creativity.
If this is not possible or doesn’t work for you, why not try working from a local coffee shop or your neighborhood park. This will provide some opportunities for people watching and new inspiration to reignite your creative spark. At the very least, this will allow you a time out from your desk and make you feel more positive when you return.
If you are finding that you are spending the entire day at your computer and you are losing focus and concentration, you will probably benefit from taking a break. While the temptation is to jump on the internet and spend some time on social media or surfing, do something different. Move away from your computer to do another form of activity.
Image source: Flickr
The choice of alternative activity is limitless. Take time out to enjoy cooking a meal for your family, spend half an hour coloring with the children or tend to your houseplants or garden. Doing a physical activity, rather than the mental challenges of using a computer will give your brain a rest and rejuvenate your mood and creativity.
We all have an idea for a personal project that we long to complete someday. So, if you are struggling to grasp your creative sparkle, it is just the right time to start your pet project. You will discover you can gain a huge boost in creativity, when you are working on something that you have been imagining completing. This could be something small like reorganizing the space in your office, through to starting that best-selling novel that you always wanted to write. Any project ideas that you feel passionate about will get that creative spark igniting. Start working on your new idea and let the ideas and energy build, this will then spill back into your work project and you’ll be eager to get back to work.
This can be the most challenging activity when you are feeling low, but it can also provide the biggest boost. Exercise is well-known for providing a boost to your energy levels and sense of well-being. So this will boost your creativity, health and positivity.
If you lack the motivation to leave the house and go for a jog or a bike ride, why not exercise at home and do some yoga or Pilates. If you already have a regular exercise routine, why not change it around a little, so if you usually run on a treadmill switch to an outside run, or if you usually exercise outdoors why not try a swim instead. Any activity which will get you moving will be good for your body and your creativity.
Take a moment to stop what you are doing and work out if there is a reason behind your decreased creativity. Is there an aspect of your project which you are not comfortable with? Are you feeling pressure or stress from something? Have you got something on your mind which is worrying you?
Once you have analyzed why you are struggling with your creativity, you can take some positive action to remedy the situation. Sometimes, simply realizing that you are worrying about an upcoming appointment or feeling stressed by your schedule not working correctly, will provide enough relief to correct the issue and allow you to fully concentrate on the job in hand.
If you don’t usually have a problem with a lack of creativity, a nap may be just what you need for a recharge. Spend a minute thinking about your routine over the few weeks to work out if you have been getting to bed later or not getting your usual amount of sleep. If this is the case, then you may benefit from a nap.
Image source: Flickr
A nap can take anything from fifteen minutes up to a couple of hours; this will depend on the time of day and what your body actually requires. If a nap is not possible, then try to go to bed earlier for a few nights to catch up on your missed sleep. After a couple of days, you should feel better and have recovered your creative sparkle.
This could be in the form of collaboration on a particular project through to having a chat with someone who understands your field. Loneliness can stifle creativity, so interacting with another person can provide a boost to your creative idea flow. Remember that not all projects are the same, so if it is a particular project which has you stuck for ideas, you may need someone for a sounding board or to help with the idea flow.
Laughter can be a great medicine for a number of ills including waning creativity. Take a little time to enjoy something that makes you laugh and it can give you a real boost. This could be watching an episode of your favorite comedy show, through to watching the family dog chasing his shadow. Whatever makes you laugh will help you relax and revive your creative spark.
Share a tip with your fellow freelancers – what do you usually do to stay creative while working from home?