I think there is a danger in ‘I’ll start tomorrow’, or the ‘yes, that’s my new years resolution!’ I think its dangerous, because they are things that have come out my mouth more times than I can count, and I have never ever followed through on.
I am a cronic ‘half starter’, actually no – that’s not true, I start everything with gusto – full throttle even, it’s the follow through of seeing something through to the very end that I lack. My Dad (even now, 14 years into the SAMANTHA WILLS Pty Ltd journey) still jokes ‘I mean, I still can’t believe you stuck with it!’ – Neither can I, some days Dad!
I think the ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ or the ‘new years resolution’ milestone start dates are dangerous if you are a similar personality type to me, because they become very fixed milestones, that are very easy to move back to the next tomorrow, or the next new year….
While rarely finishing things I start does is not a trait I admire in myself – and which sadly if I am truly honest with myself, has become a subconscious habit in many areas of my life - if I am to look at trying to find an optimistic spin on it, I think it does make me a very good Creative Director. It allows me to think big & develop ideas, and in the absence of finer detail execution & follow through, it has forced me to become a good communicator, and to surround myself with people who are detailed focused, and are much better at executing the idea & concepts, than I ever would be.
A fixed milestone that I DO like to work with in my life, is the change of season. While the term ‘Spring Clean’ can be applied year round, I think it’s a well timed occasion to reset.
If you are Small Business Owner, Startup Founder or Solorepreneur, your life & work are probably fused pretty tightly together in most, or all aspects. You might have a home office, you might working from your garage or dining room, or you may live in a studio apartment where there is no dividing wall (or mind space!) between your life & the empire you are building.
Change of season forces a change in temperature, in the hours of sunlight, in your wardrobe (and style), in your social life, what you do in your down time (e.g More beach in summer v More cinema in winter).
I read a definition one ‘flux’, it was beautified & emotionalized for ye olde tumblr, but it read;
A change of season sees things around us change – and with that movement, it is often easier to create movement & change as you can almost take a que from the changing environment around you.
Sometimes even the slightest change or refresh in our desk or work space area, can evoke new creativity, an almost fresh approach at your business or brand where you might see something clearer or in a different way. It could inspire new idea or, new venture completely.
Here is a side by side comparison of my work space (same desk & art rails), but out significantly different is the visual feel? And I can tell you, the physical & mental feel of the change was even more powerful, to my work, to my output, to my evolution as a creative & to a calming shift in my mind.
The change of season is a great time to (at the very least!) CLEAN up your desk / workspace. Go thru the drawers, throw out what is clutter, file things where they need to be. Stop hoarding shit. It if you haven’t used it in the last year, chuck it out. Bust out the Chux & the 'Spray'n'Wipe' & clean away the old, to make way for the new.
If doing a swift clean is all you can manage right now – that is a perfect little reset. If you want to implement something a little more, here are some suggestions, starting at minimal cost outlay:
DESK / WORKSPACE:
MOODBOARDS: If you have a mood/inspiration board hanging above your desk, simply changing this imagery will bring a whole new vibe to your creative space. Trawl tumblr & print of your fav new palette, pics & quotes – this is easy to change out seasonally.
MINIMIZE: This is somewhat selfish, modern day me advice, because, as you can see from the comparison photos in this post, 2013 me was NOT a minimalist. Everything from my moodboards, to my living room, to all the colour! But minimizing the ‘stuff’ on your desk also encourages a clear mind. If you are a writer, or a creative, I like to think of a minimal space as a blank canvas, allowing thoughts to come, go, stay, evolve. This is not for all creative, and often a moddboard is the trigger that inspires. For me, I work from moodboards, but I have them on my computer & access them at different times, pending what I am working on & what I need to dial into on that project. A minimal work space allows me to be able to jump in & out of projects, with less surrounding ‘noise’.
Minimizing could simply mean putting things in drawers, not always discarding things. It could be as simple as having one pen on your desk, instead of a cup full of some that work & some that don’t. It could be switching out loose leaf pieces of paper, for a singular note book.
CHANGE A KEY ITEM: You will see in my desk comparison shot, I changed the chairs out. (I have changed the chairs 4 times in the last 7 years I have been in this apartment). The art rails are the same, but the art on those has ben switchedin & out. IKEA gives us a very accessible way to update our creative / work spaces to make them as inspiring as possible, but within the budget we have to spend at the time.
My desk is from IKEA! And 7 years on, she s a little beat up, but is a easy canvas to re-dress when I want to make a small, or large aesthetic change.
PAINT: If you want to let your inner Scott Cam out, painting the wall your desk faces, or the room of your work space is a great way to freshen up. I often like to think of it as an artist priming their canvas. Fresh start – who dis?
LIVE / WORK SPACE:
If, like me, you work from home, & your work space is joined to, or is an open space in your home, the rest of your home affects, or is affected by your work area.
I am very conscious of this, and ensure that it all reflects each other. You will see in the comparisons pic (as I stated above - these shots are a stark contrast given they are shot 3 years part: the hoarder more-is-more approach was 2013 & the minimal approach was shot in 2016), so this was done over time, (and after a big break up, so obviously anything he had touched had to be you know… quietly discard, repainted....or burnt. ;) But being conscious to have the spaces flow together in some way, will ensure that your inspiration is not interrupted, or disrupted as you move through your place, throughout the day.
So, here we are in September – a new season – let's make some small (or big) changes to our work spaces.
No budget to spend? No Problem! Even if you don’t replace a single thing;
> Remove EVERYTHING from your desk surface, (And drawers!!), and remove everything from the wall the desk faces – strip it back to absolutely bare.
> Unplug all cords / untangle them.
> Clean the are within a inch of its life. Even in behind the desk & dust buster the skirting board.
> Now – if you look at everything behind you on the floor that has to go back – what are you keeping? What are you tossing? You might rearrange it differently so it feels new. YOU might put less art up, you might add more.
As the season shifts, I encourage you to make a shift…. Change means movement, & with movement comes momentum. – SWx