Move over the Ice Bucket challenge, the Forbes Creative People challenge is where it’s at. Unlike the ALS Ice Bucket challenge however, I made this one up, because I like to keep things interesting and possibly end up with health issues like sleep-depravation. Last week I decided to make a few lifestyle changes that according to Forbes have been adopted by many creative and successful people such as: Ernest Hemmingway and Howard Schultz in the past. As some of you may know I have been trying to explore my creative side because I figured that day dreaming about living in a studio apartment (preferably shared because let’s face it if I had to pay for that by myself I’d be out in the streets singing ‘All by Myself’ in no-time) in the Big Apple would only come true if I got off my ass and actually honed my inner Mindy.
So I sucked it up and prepared for this challenge in advance, by sleeping in as long as I could with minimal distractions. I was essentially a bear that only woke up from its long slumber to grab meals. But I was prepared, my body was ready.
- Wake Up Early
Where do I even begin with this one? You know how some people are just incredibly chirpy in the mornings and walk around with a glow so aluminous that it haves you feeling like you’ve aged an extra 20 years? Yeah. I’m not one of them. I’m like Anne Hathaway at the beginning of the ‘The Devil Wears Prada’. Tired, irritated and slightly optimistic after she’s had a strong caramel cappuccino.
Regardless of my tragic and rather compelling love hate relationship with my bed, I was up at 6:00(it took me half an hour to stop abusing my snooze button) in the morning ready to start the day.
- Exercise Frequently
After I cursed out loud a couple of times and soaked in the rays of the morning sun, I’d then grudgingly put on my gym gear and drive down to my local gym, repeatedly humming the ‘ Eye of the Tiger’ like a mantra. I know I adopt weird techniques to motivate myself.
When I’d eventually get to the gym, cold and slightly irritated I’d hop onto the treadmill and run the fatigue away. I’m going to be honest. It did help me a lot. Something about being able to get a head start made me feel like I had already accomplished something. Although to be fair in my mind I kept imagining that I looked like one of those flawless fitness models. But we all know that I probably looked like your pet hamster running the wheel.
- Stick to a Strict Schedule
If I was ever comfortable enough with you to share the embarrassing password that I abusively reused in high-school, you’ll know for a fact that I like to take things as they come. The word schedule ceases to exist in my dictionary. However as part of this new approach I decided to stick to a strict schedule, which actually helped me achieve a fair bit in terms of my writing. However, Friday happened and Friday night drinks happened and the rest as they say was history. I’m lying, I just don’t remember much. To sum it up though, I can honestly say scheduling my day in advance did make me feel like I achieved a lot, even if it’s not completely true.
- Keep Your Day Job
As a student who is currently trying to complete her bachelor’s degree, working part-time/full-time at an amazing firm, pursuing dance classes and trying to incorporate writing into her daily routine, it can get pretty exhausting. This is why Red Bull is essentially my late night booty call, allowing me to pursue something that I’m passionate about and giving me just about enough energy to make it through to the next day.
I figured if successful people like Stephen King were able to make it, then it should be piece of cake for me. I have never been so further away from the truth in my life. When I get home from work I essentially transform from a human to a sloth. I refuse to move from the couch for an hour and will snap at you if you try to converse with me until I have binge watched a couple of episodes of my favourite T.V show. At first I admit I struggled to manage both writing and work, however as the week went on I realised I worked better under time constraints. And since maintaining a day job restricted by availability, it was automatically a win-win situation.
- Learn to Work Anywhere, Anytime
When I was in primary school I used to carry this SpongeBob shaped book around, in case my tiny brain discovered something important, which would ultimately allow me to obtain the title of the next Albert Einstein. I recorded useless crap in it though, for example was it important to make a note of the fact that Farah’s lunch menu changed from her usual Nutella sandwich to a Peanut Butter one? Not really. But I’d do it anyway, because along with that bright yellow A4 book, came the ability to work from anywhere.
Last week I adopted the same principle, except instead of a SpongeBob book I carried around a NYC themed notepad. Yes, I know I have issues and possible obsessive tendencies.It was actually incredibly efficient and allowed me to jot ideas down anytime and anywhere. It felt great to know that my ideas weren’t restricted to my Mac.
- Learn That Creative Blocks Are Just Procrastination
One of the most important lessons I’ve ever learnt was that there is no such thing as a ‘writers block’. It’s just a fancy name that lazy people use when they can’t seem to get their shit together. At this point I would like to say that I’m not one of them, but that would be a lie. Truth is I was one of the laziest people you’ll ever meet. Seriously, to this day I’m pretty sure Theodore (my pet guinea pig) questioned my ability to be a successful pet owner.
However last week I decided to integrate all of the above steps to create a kick-ass schedule that allowed me to write, work and play. It was challengin, but it was one of the best things that I’ve ever done for myself.
Maybe next week I’ll give Beyoncé’s lemon detox diet. Just kidding, you’re talking to someone who secretly eats Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough ice-cream at 12am while watching repeats of Friends. This diet would be a complete bust before it even began.