10 Things My Day Can't Be Successful (or Awesome) Without
The last year as a creative entrepreneur has been an extensive exercise in establishing a routine that ensures I am productive, creative and rejuvenated. Here's a look at the 10 things my day just cannot be successful without.
1 | Coffee
This is a no-brainer and the first thing I do when I get out of bed. Before Richard hops into the shower he preheats our DeLonghi so it’s ready for me to steam the milk and make our cappuccinos. It’s super important to me to share a bit of time with Richard before he leaves for work. Our weeknights are so busy that sometimes by Friday we feel like we haven’t seen each other all week if we skip my favourite part of our morning routine.
2 | 8tracks
I have always been a music-loving girl and oftentimes being grounded in high school meant my Mum took my hifi away. My walls and door used to be covered in gig flyers and posters and, before the days of easy access music on the internet, I would religiously tape the 5fm Barney Simon show on Sundays nights where he showcased all the new rock. Fast forward a few years, I listen to much less punk but still need music playing all the time! Introducing 8tracks. This really checks all my boxes with a huge selection of 8 hour + playlists and, because it’s user based, it’s just a matter of finding a few great people to follow.
3 | Moleskine
With a serious lack of creative day planners locally, such as Day Designer and the like, I have fallen back in love with Moleskine products. I usually buy the set of 3 cahiers in grey or navy for general note-taking and sketching and then use the daily planner to schedule my day and batch my tasks. With client work, errands and business tasks, a lack of clear focus means my day can get really messy and unproductive if I don’t get it out of my head and onto some paper. This helps me keep track of approaching deadlines, available spots for new projects and when certain business tasks are due.
4 | Gym
No, I’m not a bash-you-over-the-head-with-my-fitness sort of person, I promise. I’m not even particularly fit but my morning gym classes at a ladies gym close to my house ensures I am dressed and out of the house at an early hour. I see other humans, my car gets a drive and I even work up a bit of a sweat. It’s provided me with a more efficient workflow at my desk, longer periods of concentration and an all-around good feeling.
5 | Green Smoothies
Yes, I know you’re thinking liquidised spinach is gross. But it’s kind of a case of ‘don’t knock it till you try it’. I’m not a big morning eater and I found a few variations of a green smoothie that really work for me. I do them in large batches and freeze them in muffin cups to take the hassle and mess out of everyday smoothie making. After gym I just pop 2 in my blender with some water, turmeric, cinnamon and lemon juice. Yum!
6 | Pinterest
Do I really need to elaborate? As a visual person working in a visual industry on visual tasks it really goes without saying that Pinterest is one of my BFF’s. This is my first stop on branding and packaging projects as I collate an inspiration board. As an image search engine it’s the best place to gather inspiration and it has millions of beautifully styled photographs to choose from. The inspiration board, which includes images of mood, tone, texture and colour, becomes the reference of style once the design process has started.
7 | Adobe Creative Cloud
All my projects are executed using one or a combination of Adobe apps. As someone who was forced to use Freehand for a contract job many years ago, I can tell you there really is no alternative. The apps work seamlessly together and the iPad apps mean I can draw and design on the go and send it straight to Illustrator. I have a subscription to CC where I can install any of their applications, and get real-time updates and support. No more discs, lovelies. I mean, how 21st century is that?
8 | Apple iMac
Because how would I enjoy any of these things if I didn’t have a nice big iMac? But seriously, having switched from a Macbook Pro early on in my freelance career, I couldn’t imagine going back. The clarity, size and speed of this amazing machine, combined with the usability of OS, is a dream for 6000% magnification, switching between desktops and seeing/using multiple application screens at once.
9 | Hand Lettering
Okay, this is going to sound a bit woowoo, but every day, to get away from the computer, I sit at my coffee table in some kind of relaxed (and contorted) yoga position and do some hand lettering. This clears my head, exercises my patience and lets me use an artistic skill. It’s grounding! The content usually matters a lot less than the action and sometimes I sit practicing shapes for an hour.
10 | Stepping Away
This is a biggie and one I had to learn the hard way. While I can’t always leave my mail (with real time notifications from Inbox by Gmail), I can get away from my desk and stop working. Sometimes the extra hours yield nothing but frustration and (if it’s just fannying about and reading other blogs) feelings of inadequacy. Finishing work at 6 means some quality time with Richard when he gets home, cooking and eating dinner together and watching our favourite shows when we don't have other commitments. It didn’t take long to find out in order for me to approach my tasks fresh (and not frustrated) the next morning, I need to leave the office and go home.
Now it's your turn! What are your non-negiotables for a great and productive day? I'd love to hear what keeps you on track and motivated.