What comes to mind when you hear the words creative independence? For us, it’s about creating what you love, doing things on your own terms, being able to work from anywhere in the world, the list goes on and on! However, there are some downsides to a creative life.
Yes! You’re working independently but it’s also all on you to deliver for your fans, no pressure right? Also, creating something you love also makes it hard to put it down for critical personal time or knowing how to say “no” when you’re being asked to take on more projects. Not to mention that the aforementioned being able to work from anywhere can quickly become working 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
If you’re on the hunt for the elusive work-life balance and you don’t know where to start, you’re in luck! We’ve done the research and found out what 20 creators have to say about making life, work, and self-care an integral part of their everyday life.
- “Think on your priorities and make a difference between priorities and wishes. Have in mind that some priorities change a bit with time but others are always priorities, like health. Set small goals to reach in short time lapses that lead you to a main one for the year but same as priorities, have it in mind these goals can change and that is ok. Be patient with yourself if you can’t manage everything as you wished.” --Noe, Freelance Illustrator
- “I make a printed monthly calendar where I can write down all upcoming due dates and cross out days that have passed, then a daily task checklist that keeps me on track with both the smaller things and progress I need to make on bigger goals. These two things keep me on track enough that I can disengage my mind from my work in the evening, so I make evenings and (as much as I can) weekends FORCED non-working hours. Evenings are deliberately for cooking, hanging out with my partner, and playing video games. No work allowed!” -- Kate Allan, Illustrator and Writer
- “You don't actually do a project; you can only do action steps related to it. When enough of the right action steps have been taken, some situation will have been created that matches your initial picture of the outcome closely enough that you can call it ‘done’.” -- David Allen, Author, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
- “Don’t get into bad habits with staying up late or procrastinating. I’ve seen how productive I can be if I work a proper structured day (which I didn’t used to) and I have got more done in the past 3 years than I ever have. STRUCTURE is essential! If you don’t have work deadlines from clients, give yourself deadlines and make sure you tell the world so that you can’t slip out of them!” -- Emily Hare, Artist
- “I don’t think there’s such a thing as balance. We’re at a transition period between the old, established media which still dominates and casts a long shadow over everything we’re trying to do, and the new media reality. But many of them run on unsustainable business models and they’ll eventually need to shut down. Until then, all we can do is work as hard as we can to build up as much of a following as we can.” -- Fraser Cain, Universe Today
- “I think it’s like learning: you have to figure out what works for you. I think it’s fairly common for creators to be pretty self motivated, but plenty of us aren’t too. If that’s you, I’d suggest an accountability buddy or maybe putting it in your schedule/routine. Or follow a few self care accounts on Instagram. Anything that will remind you to take the time and also remind you that it’s okay (and important) to do.” -- Delilah, Lingerie Photography
- “Obviously everybody’s business is different, but with Mega Dads we’ve managed to include our kids in the content we create with features such as Small Talk and Family Game Night. If you have a chance to include the family in what you create, do it.” -- John Whal, Mega Dads
- “You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once”-- Oprah Winfrey, Television Personality, Actress, Entrepreneur
- “Don’t be afraid to change your terms. If the demand is becoming too much, increasing your prices is a good way to decrease that demand and bring your workload back into a manageable range (I’ve done this several times, and each time it resulted in an increase in revenue rather than a decrease, though that depends a lot on the relationship you have with your supporters). Reorganizing is just a part of doing business, just be sure to strategize when you do it. Bundling a change with some new feature or offering can help blunt the sting, and make it seem less like ‘moneygrubbing’.” -- Uncomfortable, Drawing Lessons
- “When I’m way over my head, I send out a notice to all friends and professional contacts to let them know that I’m way over my head and will be focusing on finishing things off in the order I started them and that I won’t be available for new work, and some of my work will be late because I have a client that pays me three times what others do and they get my priority work spot at all times. I feel a lot more in control when I send one of these out, and it leads into me getting a lot of work done in a short period because I have stopped myself from looking at/for other work for the time being and just focusing on the project in front of me.” -- Dyson Logos, Hand-Drawn Maps for Fantasy RPGs
- “We have overstretched our personal boundaries and forgotten that true happiness comes from living an authentic life fueled with a sense of purpose and balance.” -- Dr. Kathleen Hall, Stress Expert
- “Keep in mind that this is your life you are living right NOW, not just for the future. While it’s important to have goals and to work towards them, those goals will not meaning anything if you meet them in poor health or a poor mindset. Be certain to enjoy and soak up every moment, whether in work or play!” -- Kristen, Recipe Developer and Photographer
- “Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.” -- Carl Sandburg, Poet
- “Create a budget. How much time can you set aside that might take away from your regular job to devote to your creativity? Factor in how much you can get back from that and treat it like part of your job. That’s the goal, right? It’s a risk at first for sure, but a risk that must be taken. Your art deserves that kind of commitment.” -- Rob Kovacs, professional pianist and NES (Nintendo) music enthusiast
- “It may seem like an efficient way to get things done, but neuroscientists have found that we’re not actually doing more than one thing at once–we’re doing many different small things. Each time we move to another activity that requires our mental focus, the brain uses more glucose and there’s only so much to go around during the day. Too many distractions = energy zap. Today, focus on one task at a time and call yourself out when you aren’t.” -- Mel Robbins, Author, Coach, Motivational Speaker
- “Innovation is not about saying yes to everything. It’s about saying no to all but the most crucial features.” -- Steve Jobs, Founder, Apple
- “Take care of yourself as if you’re the most awesome person you’ve ever met.” -- Jen Sincero, Author, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
- “It’s all about scheduling again and also realizing that self-care isn’t having a cupcake and a bubble bath. It’s to take responsibility for yourself, it’s to schedule that time to exercise and actually do it, it’s to eat healthy, and it’s to enforce taking time off to give your mind a break and to see friends and family.” -- Kiri Leonord, Artist and Storyteller
- “You will never feel truly satisfied by work until you are satisfied by life.” -- Heather Schuck, Author, The Working Mom Manifesto
- “Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.” -- Anne Lamott, Novelist and Essayist