Go Beyond the 9 to 5: Balancing Creativity with Routine

A traditional job isn't a trap - you just have to think outside the box.

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Countless times, I have heard others insist that the “9-5 lifestyle” isn’t for them, and that they are simply unable to envision themselves sitting at a desk for the rest of their life.

On some level, this is valid. After all, it is common knowledge that creative types are better suited for working environments that allow them to play by their own rules. Typically, the stringent schedule of an average workday is considered a deprivation of the freedom they desire.

In actuality, things aren’t always so black and white. It can in fact be possible to work traditional hours, while still experiencing that creative stimulation that you find yourself craving.

Here are a few ideas:

1. Seek out a specific work project that allows you to indulge in your expressive side.

This will take some digging. It can be difficult to find a task that requires your innovative ideas, while still ensuring relevancy to your overall objective at work. Do some research – which can involve talking to other co-workers about their daily roles as well. It is entirely possible that there may be an upcoming project that you would love to take ownership of – you just weren’t aware it existed.

2. Reserve availability on your weekends for “me time”.

Block off a couple hours on a Sunday afternoon to blog, draw, play an instrument – whatever creative outlet it is that you enjoy. It’s common for us to feel that our brains are “over capacity” during the week, which sometimes drains us of our creative energy. Make a conscious effort to save time for your activity of choice. Even just squeezing in a half hour can help you feel more motivated to tackle the work week – it reminds you that as important as your job may be, it still isn’t the only thing that defines you.

3. Add a spark of creativity to your daily routine – you may be surprised how much it helps.

It can be as simple as discovering a different way to organize that boring spreadsheet. Suggest a new structure for a weekly meeting, which may in turn end up increasing productivity. These little changes may seem menial, but you’re still slightly switching things up – which can help you shake that feeling of “going through the motions.”

Creative types get antsy in routine, so there is no better feeling for them than contributing something new and exciting.

Contrary to popular belief, working a traditional job doesn’t mean you’re trapped – you just have to think outside the box. And isn’t that what you’re good at anyway?

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