Finding work-life balance as a creative can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Today I am going to share with you how I create flow and work-life balance in my own creative business.
If you’re an apparel print designer who’s struggling with finding your flow or finding work-life balance in your creative journey, you are not alone. It is easy to get caught up in the myriad of things we do and the many hats we have to wear as entrepreneurs and freelancers.
For freelance designers, maximizing our time is key in order to properly take on all of the roles required of us to run our business. The key to doing this is to take on just one roll at a time. Creating space and being intentional with our time will free us from feeling frazzled or overwhelmed. I know it can feel odd to stop designing for a few days in order to manage other areas of your business, you may even feel like you are leaving things undone or behind, but this will save you time in the long run.
There are four key roles in our apparel print design business that will help create that flow and balance in our creative business:
- The researcher
- The designer
- The artist
- The Marketer (or Manager)
I’ve tried various scheduling techniques, and what I find to work best for me (and might work best for you, too) is to break up my work into weeks. Each week is assigned a role or a set of tasks, and each day is further broken down into two-hour blocks.
The week spent as a researcher is a deep dive into absorbing what’s around us creatively, whether that be by going outside to observe museums, stores, or other public places. You can also look at what people are wearing, draw inspiration from this for market-led direction. Since a lot of us are staying at home now, you can also wear your researcher hat via online shopping or Pinterest.
For the designer week, you’ll want to focus on prepping and planning your layouts, print styles and assortment. The goal is to connect to your apparel print design market and think about your designs as they pertain to the industry you’re in, to the clients you’re selling to, and to the work that you do.
The week spent as an artist allows you to be fully present and get into the creative flow, which is hard to do when you’re in researcher and designer weeks where you’re moving around. Step away from dealing with clients and answering those emails; break some design rules, play, and create beautiful pieces this week.
After you play your role as an artist, go back to being a designer and put together what you’ve created as an artist. You can toggle between these two roles and give yourself a few days each to fully immerse yourself into that headspace and find your flow.
Getting into the marketer/manager mindset during the set week is vital so you can look into your sales and marketing efforts, assess what’s working and what’s not, and strategize. Utilize social media automation and leverage technology to make things easier and faster for you. This is where systems and organization will come into play, getting your invoices out, and just really managing your business.
Now, if you are a freelancer, I recommend two to three days as the researcher, two to three days is the designer two to three days as the artist, back to two to three days as the designer, and then two to three days as the manager.
If you find that some of these roles are not being filled or things are slipping through the cracks, you may want to look at your schedule and make sure you have a buffer when planning out your weeks.
No matter how busy you are in your apparel print design career, creating space for these four roles will help you to avoid burnout and to create flow and work-life balance. It is actually going to improve your productivity and will likely make you a happier and more fulfilled designer.
For more from the Podcast, listen here!
Additional Resources: Join the Print Life Membership Waitlist to learn more about building a sustainable creative career in fashion print design.
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