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How to Find a Work-Life Balance as a Full-Time Creator

Being your own boss is one of the greatest perks of being a creator. You can show up to work when you want to, leave when you please, and run your business the way you see fit. If you’re feeling a little burnt out, you have the power to turn off your cell phone and tune out for a few days to recharge.

For most people, the creative independence that comes with being a creator is one of the main reasons they branch out and start their own business. But how often do you feel like you’re missing out on the world around you? As creators, we pour our hearts and energies into our work because we’ve put our faith into our journeys. Where does this leave our family, friends, and hobbies?

Have you struggled to balance it all? If you've been trying to figure out how to live a full life while also working full-time as a creator, read on to find out how three different Patreon creators make it work. ​ ​

How other creators do it

​ Many full-time Patreon creators run into the issue of managing their business while also making space for the creativity that brought patrons to their community in the first place. For Joumana Medlej, being selective about freelance projects helps balance her workload. When she’s asked to take a freelance project, her first question is, “is it worth it?”

“I’m increasingly picky because there’s so much I need to do for my own practice, and it’s easy to get eaten up by side tasks.”

These decisions don’t come lightly, though, and happen through the art of thoughtful discipline. “My priority is to make art. Everything else, including publishing it online, are things that need to be done for the sake of making a living,” she explains.

For Joumana, this discipline manifests itself in decisions like not checking social media while in the studio, or leaving her laptop at home when she’s creating art. She structures her time so there’s no room to create bad habits, like procrastinating and missing deadlines. The end result, she explains, is pure creator magic.

“The part that’s real is when I’m engaged in pure creation because that’s when I’m bringing something new into the world as opposed to shuffling things about.”

Every moment you spend creating is valuable, meaningful, and worth pursuing.

How to find a balance

​ When your creative pursuit becomes a full-time business, it’s easy for things to fall through the cracks. For Emily Hare, structure and discipline are two of the tactics she deploys to stay on top of it all.

“Don’t get into bad habits with staying up late or procrastinating,” Emily explains. “I’ve seen how productive I can be if I work a properly-structured day… I have gotten more done in the past three years than I ever have.”

For those of us who are habitual procrastinators (guilty!), we’re constantly letting our brain tell us, “Meh, just do it later.” Procrastinating can seep into every aspect of our lives and responsibilities if we don’t take control of this sneaky habit. But why do we make the choice to procrastinate when the results are more stress and anxiety?

Emily challenges this mental mindset by using structure and deadlines. “The great thing about the structured day is that you know at the end of it you can sit down and relax without any ‘guilt’ that you should be working.” ​

Making a schedule

​ As an artist, storyteller, and creator, Kiri is no stranger to feeling overworked. Maintaining a schedule hasn’t always come easy to her, especially when the thing she enjoys doing most in her freetime is also her job. That’s why creating a schedule and ruthlessly abiding by it is one of Kiri’s top tactics for staying balanced.

“Self-care isn’t having a cupcake and a bubble bath,” remarks Kiri. “Take responsibility for yourself,” she says, “take responsibility for yourself...schedule that time to exercise and actually do it...eat healthily, and enforce taking time off to give your mind a break and to see friends and family.”

For those of us putting balance last on the list of priorities, Kiri shares some great perspective on what can happen if you don’t take care of your time. “It’s part of your job to take good care of yourself. That way, you’ll be able to keep making amazing things to share with this world.” ​ ​

Key takeaways

​ Every moment you spend creating is valuable, meaningful, and worth pursuing. When you’re taking care of yourself, your fans and audience can tell. It shows in the quality of your work and in your creative ability. As you grow with your Patreon community, make the choice to put yourself first.

“It takes a lot of space to create, which often means allowing yourself to get really bored while an idea is shaping up,” Joumana explains. “It’s very much like watching grass grow, and it’s very tempting to fill the boredom with entertaining things because nothing seems to be happening. But it is, you just have to give it the time to shape up.”

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