Let’s face it – you’ve got to hustle before you have a side hustle. Clocking in and out for a 9-5 might seem like a soul-destroying idea to those who want to manage their own creative business, but the reality is that sometimes? The bills come first. The trick to part or even full-time employment is to stay awake – awake to your passions, awake to your goals, and awake to the idea that this is not the ‘forever’ job!
Motivation can be hard to come by when your work isn’t exactly ticking all – or any – of your ‘boxes’ in terms of fulfilment. Here are some simple tips to keep you attuned to your creativity and inspired while you punch the clock.
1 – SURPRISE YOURSELF
If you’re able, switch up your working environment as much as possible. Even if this just means bringing a plant and some beautiful things from home to your desk at work, or whether you take this more literally and take your work to somewhere new if you can – if you work on a laptop, why not take your job outside for the afternoon? Or to a new part of your building? By keeping what you see around you day to day a changeable thing, you’ll expose yourself to more aesthetically and learn when and where you’re most productive, what stimulates you and inspires you, and how you best like to work.
2 – CHALLENGE YOURSELF
Does your job mean that you can shadow someone else you work with? Are there paid-for training opportunities you could take part in? Could you spend some of your time at your desk taking a Skillshare class? We live in the age of information and it has never been easier to access skill-based learning online. Teaching yourself something new is one of the easiest ways to boost your own morale, as well as helping your work day to feel fuller and more rewarding. This could be the time to take that Illustrator course you’ve always been interested in!
3 – PLAN YOUR FREE TIME
One of the hardest things about working a ‘day job’ and trying to keep up with your passion projects is finding the time and energy to commit yourself to working double. One of the easiest ways to combat the desire to get home and collapse on the sofa in a pile immediately is to give yourself goals for your free time. Separate out the tasks you want to complete, when you want to complete them by, and work out accordingly how much commitment you need each day that you work in order to make that happen. Treat the ‘Netflix and chill’ portion of your downtime as a reward for hard work well done.
4 – VISUALIZE
This might not work for everyone, but some people find being able to keep a physical representation of their ultimate goals nearby helps them to stay determined and focused on the task at hand. Whether it’s a visual dream board, a simple picture, a quote on your desktop wallpaper – anything that reminds you what you’re working for and what you’re heading towards – place it in your line of vision at work and keep referring back to that stimuli when you feel yourself flagging or getting frustrated.
5 – FIND YOUR TRIBE
It’s almost a cliché, but a worthy one at that – your ‘tribe’, the group of people you surround yourself with, are so important – particularly at work. If your heart isn’t truly in your 9-5 but you surround yourself with like-minded folk who keep your days interesting and as fun as possible, you’re much more likely to stay motivated and positive. Don’t underestimate the power of group mentality – invest your time in people who give as much back as you give to them. Who knows? These could be future project partners and important connections in years to come!
Written by Tamira Hamam.