Stay In The Zone

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This post is Day #22 in the 31 Days to a Better Work + Life Balance series.

The creative brain is so weird. 

At least in my case, it can be so easy to start motivated and then get way off track. When I'm feeling inspired with fresh ideas there's a specific window of time where I know I HAVE to get to work or get my ideas on paper. Otherwise, that creative flow is just gone. 

Once it's gone and I'm out of "the zone" then I have zero motivation. I get stuck trying to make things work when they just won't. Essentially I'm just wasting my own time.

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Last night was a prime example. I knew my husband was going to be busy for the night and my kids were in bed so I planned to work. I was thinking up great ideas and super motivated but then my husband needed to ask me something before he started on his own projects.

Deep down I was thinking, "Nooooo. I'm in the zone. I have to go get my ideas out." But I sat.

Literally after five minutes chatting, it was like all creative energy was sucked away. Sitting down and watching shows suddenly sounded a lot nicer than getting up to work. I couldn't even remember a single idea I had before. 

My one saving grace was an Influence Class reminder that popped up. That motivated me to get up and go join in while getting a little design work done. Otherwise, I wouldn't have moved off the couch haha. 

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If you suffer from creative brain too, here's a mini cheat sheet to help us stay in the zone.

1. When unmotivated...

- Remember what you're aiming for. I love keeping up with other creatives to see the awesome projects they're doing. Sometimes all it takes is reading a few posts from A Beautiful Mess for me to get motivated to do some of my own work. When all else fails, coffee and good music can usually at least get me to my desk. 

2. When distracted...

-Get rid of the triggers. You know how impossible it is to ignore a text, Voxer message, or comment notification when you hear the "ping." So remove that phone/ipad or turn of wifi for a while if you need to focus. Close every tab/window on your computer except the one you have to work in.  

3. When time is an issue...

-Creative inspiration comes at the most inconvenient times, right? Keep a sketchbook around or type your thoughts into Evernote. If you get your best ideas in the car find an app to record yourself speaking out loud. Create an outline or rough draft, just to get those ideas down.

4. When stuck...

-If things aren't working, find someone opinionated and honest to bounce ideas off of. My husband is great for this. I don't always like what he has to say, but he's usually right. It helps me to see things from a fresh perspective and know when I need to start over. I also love the Unstuck app when I don't really know what my problem is.

5. When you need a break...

-I always try to have a rotation of projects going on. If I'm feeling a little braindead from writing, I usually move to something else productive for awhile like getting outside and taking pictures. Or when something isn't working design-wise, I switch to planning or record-keeping for 20 minutes. Usually a short break will help me come back to it refreshed. 

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Do you suffer from creative brain? What do you do to stay in the zone?