meredith-gaston-portrait

A DAY IN A CREATIVE LIFE
SELF-MOTIVATION, TIME MANAGEMENT, BALANCE AND FUN

I have been self-employed for ten years with my studio always based at home. I love this lifestyle more than I can say, yet so many people ask me ‘How do you get anything done!?’… I suppose what they are asking is how do I structure my time, get projects completed AND get out of my pyjamas when its not completely necessary to do so?! What I have enjoyed over the years has been creating a balanced, creative lifestyle supported and nourished by my work. It has been a wonderful exercise in getting to know myself, understanding how I work best, and doing more of what makes me happy. I hope the below description of my day may encourage you to consider new ways of planning your creative life too and look forward to your comments.


1. Know your most productive time of day. I am a morning person. By night I am relaxed and ready for rest. Knowing this, I rise early and look forward to getting to work rested and fresh. Others are night owls and have their best ideas in the dark. If this is you, perhaps you can organise to sleep in a little longer in the morning if possible, ensuring you can stay up late but still get your precious sleep in. I have learnt that being well rested is critical in order to sustain an energised creative practise.

2. Create a beautiful workspace. I love my studio and spend a lot of time there. As visual, feeling people, the state and aesthetics of our workspaces affect us mentally. When I have a clean and clear desk, fresh air, and lovely materials to use that I appreciate and look after, I know I am ready to go. Favourite additions to this set-up include a big vase of fresh flowers, music, and a pot of tea. Respect your creative space by decorating it with pictures, objects and colours that inspire and enrich you. By creating a space that feels good and by loving that space, you can always know that you are in a great position to produce clear and beautiful work.

3. Whenever possible head outdoors. Head out into your garden or courtyard, onto your balcony or down to the park. Take your practise outdoors and be inspired by your surrounds. I take my watercolours into the garden on fine days, and they’re always packed in my suitcase if I’m on the go. For those who work from home, becoming a hermit can be a little too easy! Remembering to get out into the world in search of beauty, inspiration, new colours and new ideas is necessary and endlessly refreshing.

4. Break up your workday and take time-outs. This goes for any person in any job. Taking a breather and regrouping is like a mini holiday and can circumvent all kinds of stresses. Being my own boss, I am very fortunate to be able to take breaks when I need them. I will pause each day for yoga and meditation, sometimes for a long walk or a phone call. Cooking is another passion of mine, so I will pause and prepare my meals freshly so I can sit down and really enjoy them. I feel that rest and relaxation are underrated in our fast-paced world, and they are parts of life we all need to honour more passionately. This was of course the motivation behind writing my book ‘Tucked In‘ and the reason I do occasionally find myself painting in my nightie!

5. Make ‘To Enjoy’ lists. Every day I work from a ‘To Enjoy’ list rather than a ‘To Do’ list. Just the tone of this list reminds me that all aspects of my work from putting brush to canvas to typing emails is something to be enjoyed. Every job has its thrilling and less thrilling bits, but all parts contribute to the wholeness and balance of daily experience. I tick off my lists and feel fulfilled when I achieve what I have planned to. When days do not go to plan for whatever reason, I shuffle my list and move the non-urgent things over to the next day. These lists have kept me on track for many years now. I never miss my deadlines, and I often have time to reflect on the work I have done before submitting it to a client or seeing it go to print.


5. Enjoy supportive relationships. Years ago I used to work around people with whom I felt pressured and uneasy. It has been my mission to manifest fantastic working relationships that are mutually respectful, supportive and proactive. Working for myself by myself, such relationships light up my life and it is very important for me to nurture them, be they with suppliers, fellow artists or clients. I voluntarily spend a lot of time alone and I love it. However, no person is an island and building strong relationships in the creative world allows us to blossom, grow and shine. With the encouragement, inspiration and support of a solid, embracing network, anything is possible!


I look forward to knowing how you plan and enjoy your days and if you might have found any of the above points helpful in charting your creative life.