This blog is the fifth blog of our 8-part Rhythm Series. You can learn more about what rhythms in business are here and why I believe they are the foundation of any successful, sustainable, scalable creative business. Be sure to click here to subscribe to my email list so you’ll be the first to know when the next blog drops each week.
You are a creative entrepreneur. Whether you’re a maker, an illustrator, a graphic designer, a web developer, or a writer you are passionate about creating for your business. So, it might surprise you that this blog is all about how to tend to creativity as a rhythm in your business.
Sounds like a given, right?
Wrong (you’d be shocked how often it’s not!)
You’re gonna want to keep reading…
You see, while you may be creating for your clients, your portfolio, or your brand, tapping into your creativity outside of your “to-do” list has probably become an afterthought.
Do these scenarios ring a bell?
→ Most days it’s impossible to muster up the energy or the desire to be creative outside of your work.
→ Sometimes it may even feel like you don’t want to “waste” that creative energy on something that isn’t directly moving the needle forward in your business.
I hear you, but I want to challenge this misconception.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
― Maya Angelou
I love this quote because it is so damn true!
Creativity is at the core of everything you do as a CEO, an artist, and a leader in your industry. You need to prioritize how you nurture your creativity so you can build a sustainable, successful, and passion-driven business.
As we work through this 8-part Rhythms Series, you’ve been putting in a LOT of effort into establishing the right foundational rhythms throughout your business. WAY TO GO! This week we’re going to focus on something different. I have a feeling you’re going to welcome the change of pace! You can step into this blog knowing that all the rhythm-setting work you’ve done over the last several weeks is going to support your ability to carve out the creative time!
You may notice this rhythm blog is a little bit lighter than the rest. This isn’t because it’s not as important (or as hard) as your other business rhythms. It is equally as important AND sometimes even harder. The difference is you already KNOW how to be creative. I don’t need to teach you how. I simply aim to remind you of the creative options available to you so you can put the right boundaries and practices in place. Together, let’s remember why and how to prioritize creative time in your personal and professional life as an entrepreneur.
I hope you walk away from this blog reinvigorated and inspired to have FUN within your craft, explore ways to be creative outside of your comfort zone, and commit to carving out time for creativity’s sake on a regular basis.
It’s true. You can (and should) choose to create simply for creation’s sake. But, it’s also important to understand how valuable this time is for your work as an entrepreneur. Creative time doesn’t just benefit you personally, it also has a positive impact on so many different aspects of your business. Understanding the WHY behind your creative rhythms will help make it easier to justify the time and energy you pour into getting into the creative mindset.
To be successful as a creative entrepreneur you need to stay inspired! If you allow your art to feel mundane or like a chore, it will most likely be reflected in the quality and variety of your work. Your audience, clients, and customers can FEEL it and SEE it when your creativity becomes stale or insincere. Creative rhythms help you nurture your craft while pushing you to grow and expand.
It’s no wonder so many celebrated musicians are also painters or poets (hello, Stevie Nicks, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell). Whether your art is musical, visual, or design-based, exploring different modes of expression can help you see things in a new light and shift your perspective. You’ll come back to your work with new ideas, inspiration, and ways of thinking that you may not have accessed otherwise. Regularly taking time to be curious, inspired, or experimental will keep your work fresh and spark new ideas for client work or your own business.
The moment your craft becomes your career, it is no longer just a hobby or a talent. It is a beautiful thing to be able to share your art with the world while supporting yourself financially. However, it is a tricky balance to maintain.
If you’re new to your creative business, it can be especially hard to pour into your creativity when your passion becomes your profession. Sometimes your craft, skill, or art can start to feel like it’s only a means to an end.
This is a fast track to burn-out. If you aren’t careful, you may even begin to resent the art you produce. Carving out time outside of your business to be creative can help you avoid burnout and continue to feel engaged with your craft.
I encourage you to set aside creative time that has absolutely nothing to do with your business. Seriously. Prioritize time to create just for FUN and allow this to reignite your curiosity and awe!
Since you’ve chosen to make a living creating your art, I’ll go out on a limb and guess that creativity fills you up. While others may be taking bubble baths or getting massages (which you can totally do too!), your version of self-care probably needs to include time for art and creative pursuits!
Creativity can help to increase happiness and get you into a “flow state.” In addition to being great for your mindset, research shows that creativity also improves brain function and physical health. Creative time reduces anxiety, boosts your mood, enhances your immune system, and even slows your heart rate.
When we shift how we approach our creativity, we realize it can help our mental, physical, and emotional health, and our overall well-being. So we can show up as the best CEO, friend, partner, or parent we can!
A regular creative rhythm can also help to support you when the creative juices run dry. We’ve ALL been there when it comes to our professional work:
Instead of drowning it all out by binge-watching another Netflix show (no shame), you can turn to your already established creative rhythms.
For example: If you’ve been taking a weekly dance class, take a break from that mind-boggling client project and practice your dance moves for 10 minutes. Simply carving out some space from the frustrating project and tapping into a different form of creativity can help you gain clarity and return to joy.
They’re there to support you on the days you WANT to be creative and the days you need that extra spark. This way you can get back to your work with more alignment and inspiration.
Creative rhythms offer boundless options. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Remember, creativity may involve physically creating something, but it can also include simply putting yourself in a new environment or headspace!
You might consider:
Whether you try something new or reconnect to a familiar technique, skill, or craft outside of your professional work, it’s important to switch up your creative routines! You’ll be surprised by the new ideas that emerge through this practice of being creative beyond your comfort zone and seeking inspiration in the world around you.
You get it.
Your business will be more successful when you create space to tap into your creativity. But time can feel limited when you’re also responsible for managing your business’s social media, providing top-notch customer support, tracking your business expenses, and doing the creative work that your business is built around.
I get it.
But we make time for the things that matter most. Here’s how to actively create that time and space in your life and your business to make your creativity a priority again.
The most important thing you can do to establish creative rhythms is set aside time on your calendar. Easier said than done, I know! But, with the right strategy, you can make it happen. Treat this rhythm like you would any other appointment or meeting on your agenda. It should become a non-negotiable. You can approach this in a few different ways, so feel free to play around with the rhythms that feel most aligned for you.
CEO Time is a perfect way to prioritize your creativity. CEO time is time to work on your business outside of your regular tasks. It allows you to focus on big picture visions, or in this case, the creative spark behind your work! You can take CEO time weekly, quarterly, or even annually. Find a balance between tapping into your creativity consistently while also carving out some more in-depth, extended time to get those creative juices flowing without the interruptions or distractions of your typical, day-to-day tasks.
You can also block time on your schedule and prioritize it alongside your regular tasks. Decide how often you want to reconnect with your creativity. I recommend starting small. Once you feel like this new rhythm has stuck, you might block off more time in your schedule. The beauty of creative rhythms is you can block them off during your workday or during your personal time because it is a rhythm that truly straddles both sides of yourself.
We all have the same 24 hours each day. And while we can’t magically create MORE time, we can get creative and innovative when it comes to how we use the time available to us. If you are hesitant to carve out time for creativity, it might be because you’re feeling overwhelmed! Let’s explore a few ways that you can optimize your capacity and get your time back. Creativity doesn’t have to feel unattainable or frivolous.
It comes up in almost every piece of content I share because if a computer can do it more consistently than you, why not let it do its thing?! Lean on systems and automation for things like scheduling and email marketing so that you can reduce your mental load and create more space in your brain AND your schedule for creativity!
Sometimes it is more efficient, productive, and even cost-effective to hand that project over to the pros. Even though you could probably figure it out and do a good job, an expert can usually do it better and faster.
Consider this: even if you spend money to hire the freelance copywriter or the social media consultant upfront, you’ll probably see a huge ROI (return on your investment) in the form of money and time. Strong leaders know that asking for help is a sign of self-awareness, not a sign of weakness.
If you have a team, consider delegating tasks. This may be tough if you subscribe to this mentality…
“If you want something done right, do it yourself.”
That’s the kind of mindset that will leave even the most driven entrepreneurs into the BURNOUT zone! We need to be able to count on our community to support us.
Consider reviewing your Operations Rhythms to put systems and SOPs in place. This will help you manage your workload and ensure that your team can produce work that meets your expectations. When you feel more comfortable stepping away from a project and not having your hands in every single piece of your daily operations, you’ll free up space for creative rhythms.
COO Tip: Looking for more strategies to help you reclaim your time in your business? Click here and check out this entire blog post on that EXACT topic!
You don’t have to do this alone. It’s easier to commit to a new creative rhythm when you involve the people you love. Pull friends and family into the mix as you try something new.
You can also tap into creativity with your biz besties! Taking time to connect with other entrepreneurs is a great way to inspire creativity. Grab a coffee to chat about the projects they’re working on, what they’re most interested in, and how they’re nurturing their own creativity. Plus, it’s an opportunity to collaborate and network in a fun, low-lift, and social way.
COO Tip: If you don’t feel like you have this kind of community around you (yet), you can build one. Be on the lookout for online or niche/industry-specific challenges related to your work or just creativity in general. These challenges hold you accountable, offer great ideas to get you out of a creative rut, and may even introduce you to peers in your industry!
We all need some accountability. When you enroll in a class or a workshop, you’re putting some skin in the game! Investing time and money into your creative pursuits means you’ll be way more likely to follow through with that commitment. After all, you want to get your money’s worth, don’t you?
You might register for something completely new or choose to use this as creative professional development time. Learning and developing your skills is an investment in yourself and your business. Challenging yourself to improve, receiving feedback, and expanding your creative boundaries will help you to push the envelope in your work.
Carving out time isn’t always enough. Set clear, defined boundaries with team members, clients, and even your family and friends. Your creative time should become a sacred time. Make sure you’re able to work in a space that is conducive to the creative venture you’re exploring. Then protect this space from unnecessary interruptions. Let others know when you’re unavailable and what kinds of situations would or would not warrant being disturbed.
You may have reserved the time, but now you need to use it wisely. I am a big believer that setting the scene for your creative time is the key to being productive and getting into your “flow” faster. Make the most of this time by creating some physical cues to help you shift out of work mode and into your creative mindset. For me this looks like working in a specific space (different than where I do my COO work), lighting a favorite candle, having all of my materials handy, making sure my space is neat and putting on some tunes! When we make the experience feel FUN it will feel easier and it will be simpler to transition into the creative zone and get the juices flowing!
There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” plan for your creative rhythms, but there are some tried and true rhythms that just make sense! Here’s some advice to help you choose the right rhythms.
Creativity is the bread and butter of your business. But if you aren’t mindful of nourishing your creative energy, you risk resenting your work or burning out. Tending to your creativity through creative rhythms can help you fill up your cup, spark new ideas, and ultimately allow you to create and sustain your successful creative business.
I am so excited to help you put rhythms in place for your business this year. I encourage you to…
With the right rhythms in place, your business will be humming along in the new year creating space, systems, and strategies that will help you to actively work towards, meet, and even exceed all the goals, resolutions, and dreams you have in mind for the year ahead!
Keep the creativity flowing by pinning to Pinterest!