One of the main reasons creative work is challenging – apart from lousy briefs – is because it’s cerebral. It gets especially challenging when you work on your own (like the folk here) and also live by yourself (as I do). How then do you unwind? For me, the answer lies in doing the exact opposite of the cerebral: engaging in something physical.
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Break a sweat
Of the 21+ years I’ve been working, I’ve been working out for 18+ of them. While the intensity may have reduced with time, the regularity hasn’t. So, Monday to Saturday, it’s a jog or walk, with swimming, football and yoga thrown in occasionally. The vigour, apart from helping increase energy and manage weight, also helps “clear the mind”. The days I don’t work out, I feel cranky and just want the day to get over… and soon.
Wash it away
As I live alone, by necessity, I have to do a good deal of domestic chores daily. I do have help with some tasks (else I’ll just be doing house-work and not my professional work!), but the help is out before I begin my work-day, so the rest of the day, I’m on my own. Clothes are a bit of a chore (thank god for washing machines, though), but what I do enjoy is dish-washing. No, really. I find the process of washing dishes, to the accompaniment of cool water and invigorating soap, almost therapeutic. A good, hard scrub can provide a much-needed break from conjuring headlines and baselines, and sometimes, the break can help come up with a crackling line. What’s that they say about creativity happening in the oddest of places?
Break it easy
For entertainment breaks, I deliberately seek out the “easy”. Comic online sketches, such as by Lilly Singh. Fun, fast reads, like Nick Spalding’s. And a regular go-to: pro-wrestling videos. While all the body slamming pumps up the adrenaline, on a particularly rough work-day, I imagine myself as the fan favourite, squashing the jobber, who of course represents an unreasonable client.
Take it light
And sometimes, I seek out less grey-cell work too. So, after back-to-back sapping strategizing projects, I am happy to take up some copy-editing or even “mere” PPT creation.
And when all this doesn’t work, it’s probably time for a vacation. After making sure the phone’s on DND of course.
Looking for some more advice on balancing your work life? Read on:
About the Author
Irfan Syed is a freelance creative consultant and writer based in Mumbai (Bombay), India. Rather than a copywriter, he considers himself a brand solutionist. And so, based on his credo of ‘Deeper Thinking, Better Solutioning’, he runs a branding blog, Brand Me Deep. As a freelancer though, he wishes folk would pay him as deep. He also believes there are no bad clients (mostly), only bad briefs.