We could all use some rest. Not only for the sake of our personal lives and self care, but also because it allows more room for creativity. Below, writer and entrepreneur, Mallory Lehenbauer shares her best tips for creating space for more creativity.
Recently I picked up the book, Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang and I bring it up in almost all social situations. My husband is over me talking about it and I am in love with it.
As a freelance writer and entrepreneur, I frequently experience what I like to call “work guilt.” Because my schedule does not look like most of my friends or my husband’s full-time 40 hours a week gig, I feel a sense of shame or guilt when I head to the grocery store at 3 in the afternoon or take my dog for a walk at 10 am.
After reading Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less I have thought a lot about creating space for creativity in my daily life. Not just for my profession, but also to create space in my life for the sole existence of movement and self-preservation.
Here’s what I’ve come up with:
Walks without headphones
I usually take a walk with my dog every morning and listen to the the NYT Daily podcast, which is great but I remained “plugged in.” I now intentionally getting up from my desk and take a walk around the block with no distractions. I leave my phone, headphones and dog at home. I walk for the simplicity of a stroll to get fresh air and clear my mind.
Do not look at your phone RIGHT when you wake up
I feel like this is in every wellness bloggers queue, but it’s serious. Wake up slowly, make coffee, read or talk to your housemates before you take that first peep at your phone. Allow yourself time to settle into the world and your surroundings.
Find a hobby
Step out of your normal comfort zone and find something you can enjoy outside of your profession. Maybe it’s an art class or maybe it’s joining an intramural sport you played in high school. Do something that can classify as “deep play.” According to Pang deep play must be something that is completely mentally absorbing, it must give new context to skills you already possess, it should give you satisfaction and it should provide a living connection to your past. This is no easy feat but can take a series of trial and error to discover a place in your life for deep play.
Actually, go on vacation
I am notorious for scheduling a beach vacation and then spending each morning on the phone or my computer. In order to spark creativity and create space in your life – let work go. Turn off your email, pause the project you feel stuck in and just allow yourself to be present. This can be a staycation, a luxurious one, or just a short weekend trip. Get out of your head and create space to just do life.
Eat your lunch
This seems strange, but either we tend to eat meals while we work, while we watch TV or while we scroll Instagram. Take time, sit and enjoy your meals. This can be done alone or amongst friends and family. Focus on your meal, enjoy each bite and allow space for conversation or thought. This is a simple way to create a small amount of space three times a day.
After reading Rest and thinking about my day to day life as a creative and entrepreneur, I have decided to abandon guilt about my work day and my productivity has increased. I work more efficiently and I enjoy my entire day more.
Let’s unplug more, work smarter and give ourselves space to just be.
Mallory Lehenbauer is a writer and entrepreneur. She’s also the Founder and Editrix in Chief of Writing Home Society.