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When you work 9-5 you have a routine that’s generally set in stone for at least the duration of that particular state of employment. You wake up, wash, put on a tie, eat breakfast, drink coffee and commute to work. Your breaks are at certain set times and you likely finish around the same time every day. However, when you work at home as a freelancer, you’re not pinned down to a set routine. In fact, while most 9-5 employees complain about being stuck in an everlasting loop of repetitive activity, freelancers often struggle to create a daily structure (or at least to stick to it).

As much as most people who have to abide by a daily schedule hate it, it does serve a purpose, hence why most freelancers attempt to impose one upon themselves willingly.

Daily Routine

So, here’s what I do to try to keep some form of order in my self-employed life…

  • 06.00 wake up, then read twitter, 99u and Seth Godin
  • 06:30 run
  • 07:15 shower, coffee, breakfast, reading (currently, I’m reading Edgar Allan Poe)
  • 09:00 in the office looking through my Vimeo feed and then try to acheive ‘inbox zero’
  • 09:30 client work
  • 10:30 more coffee (usually espresso)
  • 10:45 client work
  • 12:00 lunch
  • 13:00 client work
  • 14:30 even more espresso to get over that mid-afternoon slump
  • 14:45 client work
  • 16:30 answer emails, send invoices and contracts and line up render queues etc.
  • 16:45 – 17:00 finish up and go cook/play with the kids

So, what?

Well, a daily routine is essential for creativity. It seems as though it should be the opposite. Surely doing the same thing over and over again would stifle your imagination and prevent you from conjuring up new ideas and solutions? Actually, no. More often than not, new environments are simply a distraction. When you have a solid daily routine you’re freeing up your mind to work on what you’re being paid to do…create cool stuff and solve problems.

There are lots of reasons that a good routine helps you to work in a creative field but it really comes down to two main benefits.

  1. You’re not having to think about what you’re doing every day. You’re not worried about taking a different route to work or trying to decide when is a good time to call it a day or when you can fit in a run. Your mind can concentrate its problem solving abilities on work projects. It’s very similar to showering. How often do you have to stop and think about what you’re doing? ‘Do I wash my hair or wash my legs first?’ You probably clean yourself using the same sequence every day and this frees your brain up to think about other things. People often remark how easily ideas come to them while they’re showering or doing mundane tasks. When your day is habitual and second nature, ideas will come more freely.
  2. The various parts of your routine are like triggers that set your brain into action. For example, you could make a new habit of going out to your local coffee shop every week day morning and bringing back a takeout coffee to your home office. It may seem pointless as I’m sure you could make coffee at home too (and without the additional cost) but it creates a unique pattern that will set in motion a sequence that leads you to work. So, after it becomes a recognised habit, you’ll find it easier to get into work mode by going out and bringing back a coffee first. For me it’s just the everyday process of getting up, running, eating breakfast and taking a second coffee up to my desk, but it works. If I go partially through the chain of events and don’t go to work, I actually find myself getting a little irritable and itching to get to the office.

So what does this have to do with explainer videos? Nothing directly, but I thought that this kind of post might have some worth to current or potential clients looking through this site as most of the people I work with spend at least some of their time working from home.

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