Goal setting has not been going great for me lately. My life has felt all over the place and because of that, I have not been seeing the progress in my own projects and goals that I have hoped for.
However, as a student, September feels like the start of a brand new year (more so than January 1st) and I am going to use this month as a reset. While it is going to be hectic month with the start of online classes, full-time work, etc, etc…I am determined to continue reading, writing, and of course, blogging.
Before I get into today’s blog post, I wanted to let you all know that today is the LAST DAY to get 10% off any of my editing services on my freelance website. Check out what I offer HERE because I’d love to work with you 🙂
Anyways, enough of the rambling. Here’s to a productive month!
Finish Vicious by V.E. Schwab – I started my re-read of this amazing book a few days ago and while once upon a time, I would be done it already, I’ve been in a reading slump for a looong time. However, I am determined to get it read before the end of September so I can dive into Vengeful, the sequel! I am already flying through this book so I have high hopes I will achieve this goal.
Beloved by Toni Morrison or The Round House by Louise Erdrich – I don’t know which one of these I will be reading first because they are for my American Lit class (which I hopefully will stay in and not drop). Regardless, I haven’t read anything by either of these authors so I am excited to see how my experience is with them. You would think by now my course outline for the class would be released since I have less than 2 weeks till class starts, but nope! I still have no idea what is going on for it, let alone which book we are starting the year off with.
Post on Blog 1x Per Week – I was really hoping to keep up with posting 2x per week on here, but I’ve made a list of all my commitments for September and realized it wasn’t practical. I’m determined to post at least once a week and keep up with connecting with you all and providing content you want! I will be keeping my Monday posting day (but instead of posting at 12pm PST, I will be posting at 8am PST) but not Fridays unless I have the time and have something I really want to post.
Write Article for Flanelle’s Print Edition – I think I was supposed to have drafted this already, but July and August were so hectic that I am going to work on this in September instead. I can’t reveal what the topic is, but I’m curious to see what I come up with for Flanelle’s October print edition. It’ll probably be at most, 1,000 words which shouldn’t take my too long! If you want to check out some of the articles I’ve written for Flanelle, check out my portfolio on my freelance website HERE!
Write 17,000 Words – Once again, I am working on The Obsidian Butterfly and re-entering it into the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future writing contest on September 30th. I don’t know if I mentioned this, but my last version of this story got a Silver Honourable Mention so that has really inspired me to work on the story more, re-write it, and then re-submit it. It will be a bit challenging trying to get a polished draft ready to go in my busy month, but I love this story and am determined to do so.
That is everything I have planned for the month of September and let’s cross our fingers I can check off 80% of this at least. The thing is with my goals is they are rarely things I want to get done but rather things I HAVE to get done (give or take a few). They are all goals I genuinely want to achieve, however, and I am looking forward to keeping busy.
Time management is NOT easy. One day you think you’ve got the hang of it and then the next day is a completely different story.
Whether you work a full-time job, are in school, have a variety of hobbies, or all three, learning how to manage your time is a never-ending struggle.
However, there are ways to make it EASIER.
This coming fall, I will be a part-time student, a full-time employee, and the owner of my own freelance editing and writing business (check out my services HERE). Alongside all that, I am an active blogger and like to post frequently to my Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. Oh, there are also some books I really need to read for review. Basically, the list goes on and on!
To conquer time management is impossible, but to understand it…that is how you will have more time to do what you want while crossing everything off on your to-do list.
Here are 5 tips for time management.
1. Set S.M.A.R.T Goals
The key to time management is setting goals that are actually achievable. One easy way to do this is by following the S.M.A.R.T goal outline. This stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based. I recommend making your goal list and then going over each and every goal to make sure it follows the S.M.A.R.T criteria. Is your goal something YOU can control? Is it specific? Did you set a deadline?
Setting S.M.A.R.T goals will ensure you are spending time on productive things rather than things that can wait, and do not have much importance or looming deadlines.
EX. Today, I will pre-write 2 blog posts (5 Tips for Time Management and Beginner’s Guide to: Roman Mythology) that will go up today at 5 pm and Monday at 12 pm.
2. Get Work Done So You Can “Play”
In the past, I thought breaking up my workday was a good idea. I thought it would be more efficient to work from 9am – 12pm and then break for a few hours, then work again from 3-6pm, break, and then work from 9pm – 12am…THIS IS NOT A PRODUCTIVE SCHEDULE.
Now that I have a full-time job and I realize I will soon need to balance my job, my one class for school, blogging, writing, business, and other hobbies. I understand the importance of getting everything done within a window of time and then enjoying the rest of your day.
My new plan is to work from 7:30 am -3:30 pm (that is, if I need to do a full 8 hours that day) and then whatever else that has a deadline (school, internship, etc) right after. This has been working well for me because it allows me to get all my work done at once and then I still get off early enough in the day to enjoy it.
3. Start Your with a To-Do List
Personally, I don’t enjoy structuring my day off a rigid outline. I’ve found what works best for me is writing a to-do list in the morning filled with all the things I have to and want to get done that day. This way, I am setting myself up for a productive day by outlining my goals, but it is not a full on, detailed schedule.
When I write a to-do list, I write down anywhere from 5-10 things on it. If your tasks are big, keep closer to the 5 but if they are smaller and more miscellaneous tasks, you can add more. Don’t overwhelm yourself but make sure you have enough to keep busy during the working hours!
4. Spend At Least 3 Hours A Day Not Being Productive
I know that seems like very few hours, but when it comes to running a household or working, and just adulting, we spend a lot of our time being productive. Spend at least 3 hours of your day just relaxing, watching TV, reading, listening to music, going a walk, etc. I work full-time and my hobbies include writing so often times, I will get off my job of content creating and then jump straight into content creating for myself because it is also part of my hobby. I’ve learned to set aside a part of the weekend instead of doing it right after my full-time job.
5. Set a Time Limit to Tasks
Whenever my time management skills are faltering, it is usually because I am focusing too much time on one task and it fails to leave me with time for the others. The best way I can explain this is by speaking to all you fellow writers out there. I know you all know the struggle of never feeling truly done with a project, right? This is the same thing! Sometimes we need to only allot an hour to write a blog post so we are not spending 3 hours on it and ignoring everything else we need to get done that day.
It isn’t productive working on one task for hours unless it has a fast approaching deadline!
Those are my 5 time management tips for all your productive and busy people. If you are a creative person like myself who is alway is always juggling multiple things at once, this is an essential guide for you.
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If you have NO idea who I am, you are probably wondering why I am creating this business. What have I done that qualifies me to offer these services?
Who Am I?
Currently, I am a second-year English and Professional Communications student at the University of Victoria. However, because of my ambition and dedication, I have already succeeded in the writing, editing, and digital communications fields.
For over 5 years, I have written in various genres and received numerous awards and publications. My short stories have won first place and received several honourable mentions and publications from ZG Communications, Polar Expressions Publishing, and L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future. Since 2016, I have posted (almost) weekly to this blog and have created over 700 posts and grew an audience of 800 followers. I have several articles published by Flanelle Magazine, who I frequently freelance for, and The Martlet.
Since January 2020, I have been a substantive editor and proofreader for The Albatross, an academic journal at the University of Victoria. Shortly after, in February, I began my volunteer position as a newsletter writer and editor for the MS Society. In April 2020, I completed substantive edits, copy edits, and proofreading for the biography, Fransesca: A Remarkable Life by Katrina Pavlovsky.
Digital Communications Experience
In June 2020, I began my internship as a Marketing and Social Media Coordinator for Gypsy Journals where I help manage and create content for Pinterest and the blog. I create SEO friendly captions and blog posts filled with keywords and hashtags that draw in the right audience. Starting in August, I will be a full-time Communications Development Lead at Focal, a marketplace for people to find the perfect photographer.
For samples of my writing and editing, check out my portfolio HERE
Make sure you spread the word and check out my freelance website on its launch day. I have dedicated an incredible amount of hours to creating this dream of mine, and it would mean so much to me if you would join me.
It is that time of the month where I share all my reading and writing goals for August, and go over what I got done in July. To be honest, it was not a lot! Life got in the way as it always seems to do when I attempt to be productive, but c’est la vie.
August is going to be a crazy month no matter what. I have some traveling I am doing (which is completely following the rules of my province), I start my brand-new full-time job as a Communications Development Lead, and I am launching a secret business! There is a limit to what I can do alongside all of this, so this will be a very practical goals list.
TIP: Write down everything that you MUST get done that month and then plan your goals. This way, you know what your main focus(es) are but also how much time you have to dedicate to other projects.
Here is what I wrote and read during July.
The Obsidian Butterfly – This is my Camp NaNoWriMo project and my goal for the month was to reach 25k. However, I ended up only writing 6,704 words. I am not too bummed about it because I was dealing with a lot of things for the last half of July. Overall, this is a good start and I’ve decided to take a break from the novel version of this story anyways (more on this later).
Flanelle Magazine Interview – In July, I got a really exciting project for the magazine I write for (Flanelle Magazine) and it was an interview with Zonnique, a 24-year-old, Atlanta born singer. This was a cool project because I’ve never done an interview before. I will link it once it is live on the website!
Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid – Even in a reading slump, this book never fails me. While this was the third time I’ve read this book, I zipped through it in only 2 days. I adore this book, the characters, the story…everything about it is just so addicting. It follows the rise and fall of this band from the 70s, and it was inspired by Fleetwood Mac so what is not to love? 5/5 stars
Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron – This took me a bit to get through, but overall, I really enjoyed the mythology, the characters, and the overall story. It didn’t blow my mind and I didn’t love any of the characters specifically, but it reminded me of my own book and it helped inspire me to work on it throughout July. Kingdom of Souls is inspired by West African mythology and follows a girl who year after year, has not been able to find her own magic. When the story takes a dark twist, she finds magic but it is not in the way she wanted or expected. 3.5/5 stars
Here is what I want to write and read in August…
The Obsidian Butterfly (Novella Version) – In March, I wrote a novella version of my novel idea, The Obsidian Butterfly, and submitted it to the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future contest which I received a Silver Honourable Mention for. I’ve decided to re-write this story because I feel it was missing some things that really held it back. My goal is to get 7,000 words done in August because the word limit is 17,000 (which being the overwriter I am, I will reach). Since the deadline is October 1st, it should give me enough time to finish it even with all the other things I’ve got going on.
Eliza and Her Monster by Fransesca Zappia – Yes, this is a re-read but apparently I am in the mood for re-reading my favourite contemporaries. Eliza and Her Monsters is an all-time favourite of mine, especially because the main character suffers from anxiety and how she feels and eventually copes with it is something I strongly relate to still. With everything going on, my anxiety has definitely spiked. I’ve been the most anxious these past few months that I have ever been in my entire life, but I’ve found re-reading my favourite books has helped.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – I have an unofficial tradition of reading this book every summer, or in the fall, before school starts. I am going into my second year of university and Cath, the main character, is in her first and we follow her as she experiences it. This book is also another one that is so easy for me to read. I have no doubt I will fly through it in less than a week!
Those are all the things I want to write and read during August, and also what I got done back in July. I swear, the months are flying by and I can BARELY keep up. But, I am doing my best and despite everything, this has been a productive quarantined summer.
Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below! I will be announcing my secret business on there first, so follow my Twitter, Instagram, AND Pinterest.
I cannot believe it is already time to talk about my July writing goals, but here we are, only 2 days away from finishing up with June.
June was an interesting month. No a single word of creative writing got written, but I was pumping out the blog posts, Instagram posts, and whatnot. So, it was an incredibly productive month, but for July, I really want creative writing (specifically my Aztec novel) to be one of my main priorities. Especially since it will be Camp NaNoWriMo!
Before we jump into my July goals, let’s reflect back on June.
Finish Re-Typing: I did finish this today actually, so yay! A checkmark for me. My goal deadline was June 12 which was quite a while ago, but I got it done before July and that is all that matters. This project was challenging, but a lot of fun because I got to read this person’s story and learn a lot. I cannot say anything about the story or its author because of legal reasons, but hopefully I can sometime in the future!
Finish Writing Act III of The Obsidian Butterfly: This is my Aztec novel idea and I’ve been working on it for over three years but it has changed a lot structure wise over the years. I really wanted to finish outlining Act III in June, but I decided to scrap my outline and re-start. Fingers crossed I get it done in the next 2 days…
Write 10,000 Words of The Obsidian Butterfly: Ha, this did not happen.
Write 2 Articles for Flanelle Magazine: I didn’t write 2, but I did manage to write one article about this hair product called Wetbrush. I don’t think it is on the website yet, but I’m glad I was able to contribute something this busy month.
While I didn’t achieve every goal, June was still productive and I am proud of it. Things change and goals have to be adjusted due to these changes. I still like to set some goals each month, however, because it helps keep me on track during the month. Now, let’s discuss my July goals.
JULY WRITING GOALS
WRITE 25K DURING CAMP NANOWRIMO
During Camp NaNoWriMo, I want to at least write 25,000 words for The Obsidian Butterfly and get back on track with this project. I only have 2 months left before school, and since I plan on doing a full course load AND working part-time, I want to go into the school year with a good chunk of this novel’s first draft written (even though technically, this is like the fifth draft). This is still a lot of words, especially since I am working and interning in July, but I think it is doable.
WRITE 2 ARTICLES FOR FLANELLE
Once again, I am bringing this goal back. I have written a few article ideas out, I just actually have to sit down and write them. Like I mentioned before, I enjoy writing for Flanelle because it allows me to write things I wouldn’t post to my blog such as how the film industry is impacted by this pandemic and how art is as well. If you want to check out my articles, here are the links:
About a month ago, I was given a book to review and I really want to get that up on my blog this coming month. I haven’t done a book review since House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig, so I feel like it is time to write one up. The book I will be reviewing is A Touch of Death by Rebecca Crunden so stay tuned!
I decided to keep my July goals short and sweet because I know I have a lot going on. It is important to not expect too much for yourself when setting your monthly goals, or really, any goals, because that is setting yourself up for failure. Well, most likely. I hope you enjoyed hearing what I have planned for July, and make sure you comment your goals for July if you have them planned already!
Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂
Do you struggle with taking time off and away from your work? Do you often feel overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious? This guide on how to self-care as a creative will help you lead a better balanced life.
This guide includes tips, practices, and advice on how to incorporate self-care into your busy schedule, and how to ensure you implement it into your every single day. This is your reminder that self-care is the key to your success, not the downfall. Working 10 hours straight will only bring you to burnout.
Trust me, I would know.
Why Is Self-Care Important?
Asking yourself why self-care is important is like asking why we eat and drink. It’s because we need to! We need self-care to replenish our bodies and minds after a long workday.
A lot of people misunderstand what self-care is. Not that it is a difficult concept, but no, scrolling on your phone is not self-care! Watching a movie or TV show can be, but only if you are not multitasking while doing so. If you are unsure if what you are doing is self-care, then ask yourself if it is benefitting you. Will it relax you? Re-energize you? Entertain you? If any of these are a yes, then it probably is!
Just make sure you are using your designated self-care time to practice self-care. Do not mix it with some other activity because it is the time where you will focus on you and how you feel.
3 Tips On Self-Care for the Creative
1. Self-Care Time Must Be Scheduled In
Just like any activity, it is hard to practice self-care if you do not enforce a designated time for it. How you schedule it in is up to you! It can be broken up into portions throughout the day, like an hour in the afternoon and an hour in the evening. Or, it can be one, long unwind session at the end of your day. Personally, that is what I like to do. I do what I can to finish before it is too late in the evening and spend the rest of my night taking a bath, reading, watching a TV show, and just relaxing. No work-related tasks, including social media like Instagram and Twitter! I’ve scheduled it into my evenings, and you must do that to!
2. Combine Self-Care + Bettering Yourself
Reading, listening to Podcasts, and working out are 3 examples of how you can combine self-care and bettering yourself. They still tend to your body and mind, but improve your well-being and overall self. It doesn’t matter if you are reading a YA fiction novel, or listening to a true crime podcast. It all educates you one way or another. Self-care doesn’t always have to be about bettering yourself, but it is nice to incorporate this kind of it every once and a while.
3. Create a List of Self-Care Activities
If you have a list of things you can do during your self-care time, it ensures you won’t waste time trying to figure out what to do. I have a bullet journal page with all my activities on it in separate categories: body, mind, soul (which is inspired by the info graphic above I found on Instagram!), and I think that is a fun way to create your list. Have anywhere from 5-10 activities per category and you will be set for your next self-care session.
10 Self-Care Activities for Creative
Read a book! Need recommendations? Check out THIS blog post
Go on a walk
Spa night (bath, face mask, candles, etc)
Listen to a podcast! Need recommendations? Click HERE to check out my 4 podcast recs for creatives
Binge the Harry Potter movies! Or some other nostalgic series
Create a playlist or two
Buy a colouring book and colour!
Re-decorate your workspace
Those are all my tips, tricks, and advice for practicing self-care for the creative, and I hope you found them helpful! Remember to carve out time and enjoy it. Focus self-care time on self-care.
Don’t forget to check out my last blog post and all my social media accounts which are linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂
Camp NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, which is why I will be sharing 7 tips for conquering Camp NaNoWriMo this July.
What I like about Camp NaNoWriMo is that you get to set your own goal. Instead of a word goal, you can have a page goal or even an hour-related goal. It allows you to really tailor it to what you can honestly achieve. Don’t feel forced to try and reach the 50,000 words in one month goal. Do 20,000 or even less if you want!
Even with a flexible goal, it can be hard to make the time to write. Especially with everything going on in the world right now. I recommend using your writing time as you hour or two in the day to escape. While it is essential to be present during some of the crises we face today, it is important to know when to take a breather. Channel all the anxiety, fear, and anger you are feeling into your writing and enjoy your absence from our crazy world for a little bit.
Read on to explore the other 7 tips I have for conquering Camp NaNoWriMo.
1. Spend Time Creating an Outline
Having a guide to what you are supposed to write, and where you are supposed to take your story is one of the main things you MUST do in order to win Camp NaNoWriMo. Even if you are like me and consider yourself a pantser, try and write out the main points of your story and characters in some tangible form. That way, if you don’t feel like writing or don’t know where to start, you will be able to turn to that outline and feel comforted that at least past you knew where the story must go.
If you don’t enjoy outlining, carve out an hour each day for a week or so to spend on your outline. Include an Act I, II, and III with at least 5 major events that occur in each one. Spend time thinking about your characters too. Who are they, what do they like, what are they afraid of? (Check out below for some key questions to ask your characters!) You can make outlining fun too. Put on some music or a podcast and break out your stash of coloured pens and highlighters. I love colour coding when outlining because when you look at your outline during a writing session, it will be easier to find what you are looking for.
2. Install Writing Triggers
Writing triggers are great for getting your mind and body in the writing zone. A writing trigger can be anything from a certain beverage you only drink when it is writing time, or a playlist that you curated specifically for writing. They ensure that when you drink them or smell them or hear them, you will feel obligated to write and hopefully, have a good writing session.
My writing trigger is any lo-fi music, but I do enjoy the Chilled Cow the most. Usually I will just plop my headphones and listen to the Spotify playlist, but sometimes I will play the YouTube videos. They are relaxing and a nice background noise to ensure my mind doesn’t wander because this is the biggest problem I face when writing!
3. Complete a Trial Week of Writing
Before July, take a week the month before to test out your writing schedule. This will show you if it will actually work in your day-to-day life, or if you need to choose a different time of day. Make sure you spend 7 consecutive days testing out your writing schedule. Don’t skip a day or two in between! If you realize your schedule isn’t working, you will save yourself SO much time instead of discovering this when you are actually supposed to be writing. This trial week also serves as a great writing warm-up!
How to Find a Writing Time That Works for YOU:
Ask yourself, “When do I have the most free time?” because this might be when you need to be writing!
Decide if you are more of a morning or night person. This will tell you when you are most creative and productive.
Ask yourself, “Do I work better in writing sprints or straight working sessions?” because this will ensure you get the MOST out of your writing time.
4. Aim Lower…You’ll Achieve More
As backwards as this sounds, it is true. If you sit down knowing you need to write like 1,200 words, you might feel a bit intimidated. If you tell yourself that yes, 1,200 words would be nice but for now, I will just try to hit 1,000 words, there is a good chance you will be able to surpass that. This is because once you hit that 1,000 words mark, you will realize another 200 isn’t too bad. You are already warmed up and the creative juices are flowing, so what’s another 10 or 20 minutes?
5. Reward Yourself
I discuss having a reward system often because it is so important and a huge contributing factor to your success during Camp NaNoWriMo. You need to curate your reward system according to you. For example, some people enjoy experiencing some small rewards after every writing session like a special coffee from the coffee shop or a TV episode. On the other hand, others will enjoy larger rewards after a successful week like going to see a movie or taking an afternoon off.
Rewarding yourself will encourage you to keep writing. It will show you that all your hard work does pay off, thus making you want to keep doing it! Make sure you set limits to your rewards and also guidelines. If you want to have a big reward at the end of each week, how many words minimum do you have to write? Or in your daily sessions, how many words do you have to write? You must know this before you reward yourself, otherwise you will be tossing out rewards left and right, or none at all!
6. Join a Writer’s Group
The great thing about social media is that you have a community right at your fingertips. This is incredibly helpful amidst all of this COVID-19 chaos. Whether you join a group of likeminded writers who are also participating in Camp NaNoWriMo on Twitter or Instagram, having others who will hold you accountable to your goals will help you conquer Camp NaNo.
Check in with each other at the end of each day and discuss if you achieved your goal for that day or if you didn’t and why. These people can help you work through your struggles and offer you advice because most likely, whatever you are feeling regarding writing, someone else in your group has experienced it too. That is the great thing about forming a community. You will feel less alone in this lonely passion and having those connections will encourage you to write even more!
7. Remember that Camp NaNo is Fun!
Remember that the only person truly holding you accountable is yourself. Don’t hold yourself to insane standards, but also do not let yourself slide too much within your goals. Achieve what you can, work hard, but enjoy the experience. At the end of the day, Camp NaNoWriMo is an event where you set your own goals and spend time doing what you love: writing!
Ask yourself: “If I don’t hit my Camp NaNo goal, what will happen?”
Nothing! It just means you have more of your story to write, but guess what? You (probably) have lots of time left to do that in next month and the month after that!
Those are my 7 tips for conquering Camp NaNoWriMo and I hope you enjoyed. If you have any other tips, please leave them in the comments below!
Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂
Balancing work, life, and downtime is no simple task and it is easy to completely overwhelm yourself. That is why I am here to share 5 tips and steps I take to take control of my time and find the perfect balance.
This is geared towards those of us working at home, or just anyone who enjoys taking on multiple projects at a time while juggling everything else life has to offer. This would still be helpful to anyone who is busy and looking for some tips to avoid overwhelming yourself.
As a creative who enjoys working on multiple projects at once, I will be the first to admit that I often overwhelm myself. I am trying to get better at it which is why I wanted to make this post. It forced me to sit down and think about the things I wanted to change in my life to make it more balanced. Sometimes…well, often times, I take on too much and I am sure any other creative can agree. Since the things I work on (for the most part, give or take a few projects) are projects I genuinely enjoy like writing and social media, a lot of times I forget that it is still “work” and time-consuming. However, even if we enjoy our work, we need to take breaks and not let it consume all the hours of our day.
Learn how to get your work done while still taking time for yourself and live a balanced life with these 5 tips for not overwhelming yourself
1. Take a Look at Your Projects: What Can Stay and What Can Go?
The first reason you might be feeling overwhelm is because you are working on too many things! Which is why you need to make a list of everything you are working on and figure out if anything can go, or be postponed.
For example, I post blogs 3 times a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) but because I have so many exciting projects on my plate, I decided it was best to cut it down to 2 times a week for the time being (Mondays and Fridays). I love writing for my blog and posting to it, but sometimes, we have to make sacrifices for the sake of our sanity. However, I am not too sad about it because it is only temporary. Once I finish up some current projects, I am hoping to return to posting 3 times a week.
When you make your list of projects, sort them by priority. If one of the projects involves your actual paying job, whatever that is, that should be your top priority because other people are expecting it to get done and it pays your bills. Figure out where your other projects fall after that, all in order of importance and/or urgency to least important and/or least urgent. Cut the 1 or 2 at the bottom off, or move them to the “save for later” pile. Ensure that you include at least 1 passion project though! This way, you will still be doing something you love and can look forward to making time for it during the day.
2. Set Your Work Day + Break Times
It is important to know when you are working and when you are not, especially if you are working at home and/or running your own business. I know it sounds silly and obvious, but a big contributing fact to me feeling overwhelmed is because I work until I feel “done.” This knocks any source of balance out of my life because my workday can go on until the minutes before I go to sleep.
Does a 9-5 workday not work for you? That’s okay, because while I used to do that, lately it hasn’t been working for me. Whatever time you want to start working, as long as you end it 8-9 hours later, having that normal work schedule (and sticking to it) will positively impact your mental health and sanity. Remember that this work schedule is for weekdays. I highly recommend trying to avoid working on weekends. Or, at least don’t make it a habit.
It is also important to schedule in your break time. This is something I am a rookie at because I will sit at my desk for hours, only breaking when I feel hungry or need go to the bathroom. In reality, you need to take at least an hour and a half of a break each workday.
3. Use a Planner
Organizing your projects and their deadlines is the key to leading a balanced life. You can use a paper planner or digital one like Google Calendars. I alternate between both and sometimes use them at the same time. Sit down with your planner at the end of each week, or the beginning, and plan the week ahead. Include your project deadlines as well as when you want to hit certain milestones within the project. For example, say you want to write 50,000 words in a month and you include a weekly goal of 10,000 words by every Sunday. Make sure you write that down!
Some other productivity tools I like to use to manage my projects and keep myself organized (and sane) are Trello and Hootsuite. I love Trello because it allows you to make different boards and then it lays out your tasks or goals in visually appealing way. You can easily move things around and add other boards too. On the other hand, Hootsuite lets me manage my social media posts. I take advantage of the free plan and have linked my Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to it. Hootsuite allows you to schedule posts and create them on their website. I’ve only recently begun using it, but so far it has freed up so much time in my day.
4. Come Up with a List of Break Activities
When it is finally time for you to take a step back and relax during the workday, you should curate a list of activities that you can do so you don’t waste time trying to figure out what to do. Some things on my list are:
Read a book
FaceTime a friend
Go on a walk
Add as many things to the list as you want, but having one ready to go will save you valuable break time. If you are having trouble coming up with ideas, take a look at the photo below and try to tailor your break time activities to things that take care of your mind, body, and soul. It will ensure you get the most out of your break time!
5. Enforce an End Time
Figuring out when to end your day is crucial, otherwise you will keep working until the sun goes down and your eyelids are sagging with exhaustion. Whether that is 5 pm or 8 pm, choose a time and stick to it. Since I’ve been starting my workday later (at around 12 pm), my end time is now 8 or 9 pm. But no later than 9 pm!
Having an end time also helps to prevent burnout. If you keep chugging along into the night, there is a good chance you won’t feel as productive the next day. Slow and steady wins the race; remember that, because I know I have to remind myself of this all the time. It is better to consistently work 8 hours 5 days a week rather than 10 hours one day and only 4 hours the next. So, find an end time that works for you and stick to it.
Those are my 5 tips on how to not feel overwhelmed while keeping productive. I hope you found them helpful! If you have any other tips, don’t hesitate to leave them down below.
Also, don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂
There is no clear path for a creative, which is why I wanted to share my 5 helpful tips for succeeding in a creative field. When you choose a creative career, you are also accepting a path that will take you down unexpected twists and turns. You are accepting that failure will knock you down often. You are accepting that your success will look different than your favourite author, artist, photographer, etc.
While we are told that success in a creative field is rare, I don’t believe that is true. Scratch that, I know that’s not true. At a young age, I have found various forms of success already that comfort me in my decision to choose a creative career, and continue choosing it. I feel confident that with all the time, effort, and work I’ve poured into my writing, I will continue to find success as a creative.
A responsive community on my social media and blog
So many opportunities have arisen in my creative career already, and I am only 18 years old! That means you too can easily find success as a creative.
Here are my 5 tips for finding success as a creative
1. Constantly Produce Content
The first thing you need to do is to keep all your content in a portfolio and continue to constantly produce content for it. Have a lot of it too. Having that one “brilliant” story idea is not enough in this highly competitive field! As a creative, you need to always be at your laptop, writing. Or at your easel, painting. Or behind your camera, taking photos. Whenever you have the time, even if you don’t feel inspired, you should spend time creating content and expanding your ever-increasing portfolio of work. If one piece doesn’t work out, guess what! You have several others to pick and choose from and then throw out into the world.
It is important to diversify your content too. For example, I am a writer and at first, my portfolio only consisted of fiction short stories. Now, it is filled with more stories but also articles, blog posts, social media posts, and newsletters. I also have manuscript editing experience. It all relates to my core passion of writing, but I display expertise in so many forms of writing. Check out my blog post on how I organize all my content HERE for more info. This is the driving force behind all my success and opportunities that I’ve been offered, and the opportunities that have found me without having to search for them. The point is, the more content you have and the more you make it public, the easier it is for you and success to meet up at some middle point!
2. Choose 2 Social Media Platforms to Grow
As a creative, social media is essential to your success because it is how others will find your portfolio and how you will network with other creative minds. I recommend really focusing in on 2 platforms because otherwise, it gets a little much. Feel free to make your creativity known on several platforms, but pour your energy into posting on 2 at the most.
Before choosing your social media platforms, consider these tips:
Which platforms do you gravitate to already?
Google what platforms are best for your creative passion
Research what days and times are the best to post on those platforms
Make posting/being active on social media part of your weekly routine (you should post as much as possible, but also don’t overload your audience!)
Plan out some ideas of what you will post. What type of content? What photos? What captions?
Instagram and Twitter are popular platforms for writers, and while I am active on Instagram, I despise Twitter. I have to force myself to post on it every once and a while because if I don’t, I will never post! That is why I have been switching over to Pinterest lately. I enjoy the creativity Pinterest requires, similar to Instagram. It is exciting to post to Pinterest and because of that, I actually do it!
Grow your social media presence, connect with other creative minds, and it will be much easier for success to meet you.
3. Spend Time Replenishing Your Creativity
On the path to finding success, you have to make an effort to replenish your creativity so you have the energy to continue working and creating. This means watching movies, reading books, looking at art, etc.
This is something else you should schedule in daily! Whether it is thirty minutes or an hour, make it a priority to inspire and spark your creativity. Lately, I have been spending my mornings reading or watching movies. I have changed my working time to starting in the early afternoon and ending in the later evening because I was finding it hard to remember to replenish my creative well. This way, I am doing it first thing in the morning and starting my day off right.
4. Set Short-Term + Long-Term Goals
It is crucial to have goals for everything you are trying to achieve, but it is also important to have a plan of action for these goals otherwise they mean nothing.
For example, if you want to reach 1,000 followers on Instagram that is great but how are you going to do it? Are you going to follow a certain amount of people every day? Are you going to post every day or every second day? Are you going to determine who your audience is so you can post content they will like? These are the action steps you must think about and plan in order to achieve that goal of reaching 1,000 followers.
Sit down with a notebook and write out all the goals you want to achieve in the next few months, and then in the next few years. This will help you gain a clear idea of what steps you need to take in your career to achieve these. This also means you will most likely see results faster! Check back in with these goals every month and see if you achieved them, or are well on your way to doing so. Adjust things if you are not close to succeeding in them until you are.
5. Get Used to Failure
Failure is inevitable as a creative. Even if you’ve been faced with it 5 times already, failure will find you again. I was greeted by failure for the first time regarding my writing when I was 13 years old. I had sent short stories to a few contests but only got the mass email that read: “Thank you for submitting to our contest, unfortunately, your story has not been chosen…” Does this sound familiar to you? Well, if it doesn’t, it soon will be!
Failure is something I am used to now. Yes, it still stings but I take it as a hint that I need to work on my writing a little more. My writing can always be stronger. But no matter what, I always pick myself up after facing that rejection or failure and push forwards. It has never once discouraged me from submitting to other contests or literary magazines. It has never once made me feel like a was an awful writer because rejection from a contest or literary magazine does not mean that! Rejection and failure mean that you gave your art to the wrong person, but the right person is still out there.
That is why it is important to follow the previous tips because when you have that portfolio of work to share, and that social media following it will allow you to find the right place for your art.
I recommend checking out my Instagram account because I began a series called “So you wanna be a writer?” that touches on finding opportunity, learning from rejection, and overall, pursuing creativity. The posts (there are 2 currently) are filled with tips and tricks for doing so. Click below to read them!
To start this week off on a productive note, I wanted to share with you all how I organize my content and ensure I am creating and posting all the fun things. Planning and organizing my content is something I started doing in May and with all my projects and various platforms I post content to, I found it was essential step to keeping my sanity.
For a long time, I thought I didn’t need to write anything down because I would remember all my ideas and their due dates. However, that is not the case! The more you are doing every day, the less space you have in your head to store all your daily and weekly tasks. That is why writing everything down in a list or on a calendar is SO important and critical to your success as a content creator. Once I began writing down my content and organizing it, I became obsessed with lists and notebooks and now I cannot live without them.
There are a couple of techniques and strategies I use to organize my content each month so let’s get into them!
TIP #1: STICK TO ORGANIZING YOUR CONTENT IN ONE PLACE – MY CONTENT PLANNER
When it comes to organizing your content, keep it all in one space even if the content is not for the same platforms. That way, you will never lose where you wrote down that blog post or Instagram story idea because there is only one place it could be.
For me, this space is my content planner. This is my old planner for 2020 that I used before I started my bullet journal. I kept it because I didn’t want it to go to waste and am glad I did because it is a great place to organize my content. Each different type of content is colour coded so when I look at the week, I can easily see what I need to create. For example, blog posts that I need to write and post are written in red, social media posts are in blue, freelance writing is in orange, and so on.
It is helpful to have this separate place for content that is not your daily planner because it declutters that space. If I have a deadline for a freelance project, that will also go in my bullet journal but it will only be written in on the date it is due. In my content planner, I can breakdown the steps to create the content as well as when it is going to go live.
Whether you write your content ideas down in a notebook or in a digital calendar, make sure you have a space dedicated solely to where you keep your content ideas because it will ease your stress when you sit down with it at the beginning of each week.
TIP #2: DEDICATE TIMES AND/OR DAYS TO SPECIFIC CONTENT – MY MORNING VS AFTERNOON ROUTINE
Dividing up the days so I work on different types of content at different times has been a huge reason why I am able to achieve so much within a week. I even started doing this without realizing it because dedicating my mornings to more heavily writing-related content (blog posts, creative writing, Flanelle articles, etc) and afternoons to more business-related tasks (internships, social media, editing, etc) felt natural.
Focusing on writing in the morning also helps because I am able to get in the mindset for writing and create even more because of it. Over the years, I realized I am most creative in the mornings which is why I preserve my writing time for my mornings. If you haven’t figured out what time of day is your most productive, this is something you should figure out ASAP! That way, you can schedule your most time-consuming tasks during that time.
This is another reason why having somewhere like a planner to keep your content ideas is crucial because when you are scheduling out when you will work on it, you can divide up your day where you can visually see it.
Don’t forget to include the dates and times you POST your content too! For example, I post to my blog on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 12 pm PST, and I try to post to social media every weekday around the same time. I make sure to always write this down in my content planner, even though I always post on these days and times.
TIP #3: ENJOY WHAT YOU ARE CREATING – WHY I ONLY POST CONTENT I LOVE
Obviously, there will be some content you don’t enjoy creating but have to, but for the most part, I make it a priority to create content that I love. This is because the content I post on my blog, Instagram, etc is for people to enjoy as well. I figure that if I don’t enjoy it myself, nobody will! That is also why I try to be active the most on platforms I genuinely like to be on (give or take a few such as Twitter). Once again, some platforms you post to might not be your favourite, but I just remember my main focus is on ensuring I like the content I am posting there.
If you are unsure what your audience wants to see from you, use polls on social media. However, ultimately, you should be in touch with your audience and have a general idea of what they like and want to see, but there is no shame in asking for some help!
These are some tips for how I organize my content to maximize my time and efficiency when creating and posting to all my various platforms. If you have a method for organizing content, let me know in the comments below because I am always looking for new techniques to use!
Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below.