Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Art Focus: Get out of your own way!

I read a quote recently that said "Great things don't come from comfort zones"

The reality of running your own business is that you can very easily get comfortable and stuck in a routine that isn't challenging you. Being your own boss has it's benefits but you defintely have to be on top of your game! 

Enthusiasm for your business is a must but that's easy to say and harder to actually maintain. So here are a few things i've found helpful when i've mentally hit a brick wall. These can apply to running a business, working from home, running a blog, youtube channel etc. 

1. Talk to others about your business - and be excited!

This is probably the hardest step, even still, for me. I'm naturally a very introverted person and find it hard to express myself in day to day life never mind talking about my business. But i've learnt that talking about what you're up to not only keeps you excited about your work but also you get so much inspiration from throwing ideas around with friends.

2. Have a few projects lined up. 

Another must for me is knowing where my business is going. Every 6 months or so i'll re-assess and plan out a few major projects i want to complete in the next few months. This way, you don't get lost in the day to day routine, rather you're working towards bigger goals or targets that give you needed motivation. 

3. Embrace social media!

If you haven't already... really??? Do it! There's nothing more awesome than instant feedback. Building a community of followers takes time, so be patient. But if people are interested in the subject area of your work they'll stick around and even better, give you much valued advice!
A warning with this though, don't listen to just one voice. What are the community as a whole telling you? Don't let one negative comment put you off the project you've always wanted to work on. 

4. Have a work environment that suits YOUR needs. 

For me, that means space, space to lay everything out. It also means letting things get a bit messy while I'm in the middle of projects - so my big desk suits my work style!
Try a few different set ups and figure out where you are most productive. 

5. Do your best to have regular work hours and stick to them. Don't do too much "over time".

Working from home comes with the added challenge of learning to leave it alone. Sometimes i'm tempted to do a bit of work in the evening, despite already working during the day. But i've learnt it's best to leave it. Be strict with 
yourself and enjoy the recreation time! Also, having scheduled work hours means i'm more productive in that time now. Rather than thinking "Ah, i can get around to that later" i'm more strict with myself meaning i usually get more done compared with what i used to. 

6. Make it fun!

Working from home can be a bit monotonous, so change it up where you can. Whether it's new projects, sitting out in the sun to do a bit of paperwork, regularly changing up your work hours, or being creative with your workspace, be sure to diversify your work and keep it fun!

I hope some of these tips help you. I work as a self employed artist and illustrator, if you'd like to see my work you check it here:

Have a great day!
Much Love, Beth xxx

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Living with Anxiety & Learning to drive...

Anxiety is without a doubt one of the most vexing things you'll go through in life. 
It's hard to describe and even harder to understand.
For me, it's an underlying thing and then, all of a sudden it consumes me. 

Learning to drive was probably one of the most daunting things to challenge my anxiety. Heart palpitations before my lessons were a regular occurrence. Often i couldn't sleep the night before a lesson. The whole day leading up to my lesson would spur my mind into a panic, leading me to think i wasn't good enough, i should give up and that i would never remember enough from the lessons to eventually pass my test. 

At the time I felt an overwhelming amount of determination, even if my mind wasn't at a good point to deal with new things, i felt like it was a necessity not to give up and that if i succeeded, this would be an incredibly altering thing and ultimately, unbelievably empowering. 

Every single mistake i made in my lessons stayed with me. More fuel for my mind to be anxious! But i carried on. I did a lot of breathing exercises before my lessons. After each lesson i tried to take a bit of time to appreciate everything i'd done right. 

I think it's important to acknowledge that anxiety doesn't go away. I try to not let anxiety prevent me from doing things. But it's still there. 
Every time i think about driving, my mind tries to tell me that i don't remember how to do it. Or that it would be wiser and safer for me to stay at home. 
It sounds absolutely bonkers! And it kind of is. But it's a reality. Like an inbuilt reaction that i can't stop. I hope that as i gain more and more experience that voice of anxiety in my head will get quieter and quieter. 

The biggest lesson i have learnt is that whilst we do acknowledge our anxiety, and that is a very important step, It's not always correct to listen to it. We can prove ourselves wrong and do things we never imagined. 

You have just as much potential to reach for your goals and pursue what makes you happy.

Anxiety is a part of me, but it doesn't define me. 

Much Love, Beth xxx 

When i passed my driving test last year....