I’m now five days post Spanish retreat bliss. After attending The Brand Stylist Retreat in Mallorca, Spain, I’ve come home entirely revitalized, focused and inspired. I’ll be journaling a series of blog posts recapping my travels and what I’ve learned. We’ll begin with my most transformative finding first: 3 Steps to Vitality as a Creative Entrepreneur. Fiona Humberstone and Elizabeth Cairns led a fantastic series of sessions. The most powerful concept I walked away with was finding true vitality as a creative business owner.
We focused on setting boundaries in our business that worked best for our lifestyle. Finding inspiration in places that don’t involve screen time. Understanding the way your body naturally works to formulate creative solutions. We narrowed our copywriting to enchant and delight our creative muses.
During a long layover in New York on the way home, I picked up a copy of Manage Your Day-to-Day by Jocelyn K. Glei. It is a quick and easy read – with every word on the page reinforcing the things that Fiona and Elizabeth had just taught me. Understanding that routine produces creativity. Scheduling regular breaks makes your working time more productive. Finding inspiration from environments around you that don’t have a “like” button.
The combination of the retreat and that book was so much inspiration, wisdom and creativity I couldn’t possibly bottle it. So I wanted to break it apart smaller and share the simple 3 Steps to Vitality as a Creative Entrepreneur that I’ve crafted from my learnings. Each of these steps have been implemented this week here at IDCO. And I’ve already felt my vitality naturally regenerating itself because of it.
The first change I made, I made in the Palma airport waiting for my flight. I turned off all notifications on my phone aside from text messages and calls. I disabled notification banners on each app’s icon. I moved my email app from my navigation bar to a folder. I reclaimed my digital space.
This has helped me overcome todays #1 time suck and vitality drain. I’m no longer implored to check my phone every five minutes, awaiting a response from a client, or hoping for a DM for a quick 4 second rush of endorphins. When I do check my phone, the only thing it tells me is the time. This eliminates distractions and reminds me I still have time to work on the task at hand.
Fiona and Elizabeth helped me to realize – nothing we do at IDCO is urgent enough that it needs immediate responses.
I used to believe in responding to emails twice a day, at very specific times. 11:30 am and 4:30 pm. This is prime to combat potential “texting” type responses from clients – firing off quick questions or ideas one by one because they know you’re at your computer. This allowed them time to digest the email as they head off for lunch, or home from the office for the day. While this theory proved helpful in calculating the types of email responses we got, it didn’t prevent me from checking my email first thing in the morning.
How many of us are guilty of opening our eyes, reaching for our cell phones, and checking your email before you’ve even sat up? Before you’ve taken you first deep breath of the day. After taking Step 1, you’re now empowered to turn off your alarm and put your phone down, distraction free.
As a branding and web design studio, we serve our clients better and more fully if we can focus all our energy into creating their final product. By interrupting the creative process to respond to each and every email that comes in through the day, as much as 38% of your day will be filled with reading, responding and writing new emails.
What’s the significance of waiting until noon though?
This change has seen the biggest results, with the least challenge. Begin your workday with your most challenging, creative projects first. Working in 90 minute sessions, dedicate the morning hours to your design work. Your brain is most alert and ready to focus first thing in the morning, and that focus should not be spent answering emails or doing admin work.
Around 12:30, we break for lunch. I read a book on the hammock swings and use a full 45 minutes to process and digest what I’ve been working on. Immediately following lunch, I add a 45 minute workout to combat your body’s natural tendency to become lethargic. Since moving into the new house, I’ve loved using our pool, so I swim laps, get some sun and walk back home.
When you return to your desk, check your email. Respond to those requiring quick responses first, then add any that require tasks to your admin list for the day. Spend the next hour or so working through administrative tasks when your brain is at it’s least creative. By 3:30 or 4pm, you’ll feel an upswing of creative energy and your focus will improve. That’s when you know it’s time to put the email away and get back to work.
Each of these 3 Steps to Vitality as a Creative Entrepreneur build upon each other. One without the other won’t reap the same rewards as the combination of all three. Limit your distractions, use your body’s natural rhythm to produce the highest quality of work and understand you serve your clients better if you don’t respond immediately to emails.
Less than a week in and I feel more connected to my craft. I’ve tackled 80% of my to-do list in a fraction of the time. I’m turning my computer off by 7pm. Making dinner for my family. Getting to sleep before 11. I’m reclaiming my vitality and realizing that being in bed before 11 doesn’t need to be the exception to the rule, it can be the other way around.
Stay tuned as I share all the travel details from our trip to Barcelona and more insights to what we learned at The Brand Stylist retreat.
The Identité Collective is a full service creative studio for interior designers and boutique lifestyle brands. Offering bespoke branding, web design and social media content creation, we help small businesses elevate their digital presence to become industry experts. Want to work together? Shoot us an inquiry here.