Motivate yourself!

Working at your own pace can prove to be quite difficult sometimes. When it comes to my creative endeavors I am my own boss, which means no deadlines, no briefs, no actual boss. I am naturally a very self-motivated person and I find myself doing multiple things at the same time. Thanks to the flexibility of my day job I can easily maneuver between doing my master’s degree, various courses (now it’s mental health, hr and pr courses) and planning to open yet another business – for now there are only plans and even more courses! But how do you stay motivated in the world filled with day jobs leaving you little to no time to relax and have a breather? Let me give you some tips!

  1. Working on a project doesn’t always mean getting stuff done – make a list of things that you need to get done in order to be able to sit down and start actually working. It may be something like getting more pencils and paper from your local shop or drafting a plan of dealing with everything. Get a scrapbook and make your mind map for the project, it makes it easier to keep on top of things!
  2. Every little bit helps – if you find yourself stuck at some point look for inspiration in different places. My current go to are online forums with fellow creators. My favourite one at the moment is the Dots. It’s a platform for creatives run by an amazing creative Pip Jamieson. You can ask the creative community questions, read posts and project plans by other creatives and simply get engaged!
  3. Webinars – in the age of global pandemic there are more and more online webinars which are easily accessible, all you need is a laptop and the access to the internet! Many creatives and entrepreneurs make free webinars where they talk about their craft and how they got started. For example Sophia Amoruso is holding a free webinar on 5 Things you need to know to start your business today this Thursday! If you’d like to sign up for the webinar click HERE.
  4. Set little goals for yourself – I love the feeling of crossing out things I did from my to do list. It gets me going and keeps me motivated. In order to be pushed forwards and not held back by your own lists make sure that what you write down is not a goal that would take weeks or months to achieve. Start small, even with a breakfast plan or morning meditation and grow from there. You need to make sure you know what to do to get to your final goal and not get demotivated by the amount of work you need to put in to get there.
  5. Treat yourself – I can’t stress this enough – happy and comfortable person equals more shit done. Don’t stress yourself, don’t overwork yourself and always put yourself and your well-being first. Make sure you know why you’re doing what you’re doing, eat that chocolate, go watch a movie, buy that book, go out with friends. Things we enjoy doing are not a distraction but a treat and sacrificing doing something that brings you joy to throw yourself into a spiral of constant work has never done any good to anyone…

Keeping yourself motivated can be a hard full time job. It is necessary to remember that we are allowed to have a day off and just… breathe!

It’s all gobbledegook to me

Since I’ve started looking at roles in the creative industry, I’ve used it as an opportunity to educate myself on what these roles are, understand the skills required, and whether it highlights a skills gap I need to address. In the Internal Communication industry in which I work, I can interpret an Internal Communication job description easily. Still, some of the creative roles I’ve seen have me interested and confused in equal measure.  Just this morning I saw a Head of Email role. Interesting.

On LinkedIn, I came across a person’s job title, which stopped me in my tracks; Chief Changemaker. What a claim, it sure carries weight and impact. But what does this person do? Make sure change happens and sticks perhaps? How about a mid-weight designer? Maybe not as ‘wow’ as Chief Changemaker, more reminds me of boxing titles like a featherweight boxer. Can you imagine a designer walking into an interview accompanied by loud music, wearing a glitzy dressing gown and followed behind by an entourage? What an encounter that would be!

The Chief Changemaker was hiring, and one of the skills required in the new role was SEO, Search Engine Optimisation, which we all know about. I did expect SEO to come with a bit more of explanation though, something along the lines of “Understanding of SEO and ability to apply it to X, Y, Z”. But no, it was merely SEO. Is this all it needs to be understood? Because I didn’t get it the first time and had to ask a fellow freelance writer what she thought the role required. Not only did the writer tell me what she thought, but she also shared the SEO service she offers clients.  I now know why it’s essential to be more well versed in it and what it means to a copywriter, so I shall be looking at Google’s free SEO courses …!

If I think about it more, perhaps job descriptions are being written in the same way we take in information. We have shorter attention spans and don’t always want or have time to read a full-length feature. Headlines should grab your attention, and good ones can pretty much tell you everything you need to know, a bit like a film trailer. It’s why The Sun headline writers earn the most. Articles and videos online now indicate how long it will take you to read or watch them. And if I think about the internal communication job descriptions I have seen in the past they waffle on an awful lot. If you don’t know the industry, they won’t make sense which is what I’m experiencing as I read creative job descriptions. Ironically, we tend to write communication job descriptions in such a way that lack any ability to raise or pique someone’s interest. If you can’t engage and inspire the very people that will be communicating messages, what hope do you have?

I wrote a reverse job ad as part of my career change course this year, so instead of a company posting a job ad, I wrote a job ad based on the company I wanted to attract. The idea was to help me understand the role or the career I wanted in terms of what was important to me. For example, I was looking for a relatively small company, where I could start work between 09:00 and 10:00. I wanted to be inspired by my boss and work with a team genuinely focused on collaborative working. To be able to finish work early to go for a run/swim/ride was encouraged because the company knew it would increase employee engagement, and I was trusted to catch up on work in my own time. If you know of a company like this, and is hiring, let me know!

My job ad used simple language that made it clear what I wanted, much like the above. I think people forget how effective, simple messaging can be. Recently my manager asked me to sense check an email from our CEO. You’ll notice that throughout my writing, I’ve used contractions; Ive rather than I have.  I prefer this style, it’s more casual, informal and I think it suits this audience, you. The CEO’s email was a mixture of both, and because I’ve heard him talk and know personal messages land better, I changed the tone.  My manager appreciated the changes I’d made but said that as a CEO, it’s better to use a formal tone. Is this a relic from our past that still pervades, the notion that a CEO can’t let their guard down and must remain somewhat above their employees? Does a formal tone hold more sway?

When people walk into work, they don’t suddenly change the way they think, read, write or hear things, and I believe people forget this. To engage people, you need to understand the audience, what makes them tick, turns them off and switches them on. Why not choose simplicity and clarity over formality and complication? Ultimately let’s not be afraid of being more human. That Head of Email? It does what it says on the tin. Maybe the creative industry has a good thing going after all.