Creativity and the Workplace | Sunday Morning Thoughts
Another week of the good ‘ol 9-5 is set to begin, or in my case, some 7-4’s, 8:00-4:30s, and maybe even a 7:30-6:30. My position as a copywriter is one I am proud of; my creative aspirations are paying off and I get to tap into the exuberant parts of my mind that I cherish so much. I won’t lie and say everyday is like peaches and cream – sometimes I encounter dull tasks, or things I really hate doing, but that’s life right?
Anyway, I’ve been thinking about how writers and others in creative fields sometimes have difficulty adjusting to that “9 to 5” office life. There are a few articles out in the world that discuss this. There’s one I don’t wholly agree with (I know a lot of people who lean far from the creative side who would like to work less and get paid more), one that talks about how to manage your creativity in order to be successful, and another that I particularly enjoy reading, usually just for reassurance that I’m not alone (thanks, Bustle).
I was always pretty free in regards to working on schoolwork in college. There were, of course, deadlines I had to meet and material I had to study, but outside of that one or two hours of class time (per course) I could manage my time any way I wanted over a number of days or even weeks. Some of this has stayed the same, but some has changed, and I’m still adjusting to the world of set work hours during the day, and how my own mind and soul is reacting to this. Here are some examples of what I mean:
I am a morning person. And not just a “I like waking up in the morning to enjoy an hour of two in my own company” type of morning person. That part of me is usually reserved for weekends or days off. I’m talking about being a morning person in the sense that I like getting everything done in the morning. My work, any appointments, exercise, apartment cleaning, and anything else I need to accomplish for the day. The “cleaning” item usually gets moved to the evenings on weekdays, which I don’t mind so much. The first two, however, tend to contradict each other in disastrous ways. I like getting to work early because those are the hours I am most motivated and most productive. Lunch always interrupts this; it takes time for me to mentally come back from lunch to take on the afternoon. When my mornings are full of appointments and meetings, I always dread the afternoon, sure to be void of any creative thoughts – especially when I have a lot of work to do.
It’s difficult for me to walk away and then come back from a troubling or stumping task, because my “effective walk a way” time is a day, or days. This hasn’t been a real problem in my most recent professional life, but it can be if [read: when] I procrastinate. This was true for many college assignments, as in many cases I only had less than 24 hours to finish a paper or piece of writing, and didn’t have time to waste in deliberating for a day or two about the content.
Sometimes I need to get an idea out immediately. An idea for this blog or for a story, and I can’t take three hours out of the work day to do this. I quickly jot it down in my notebook and try to focus on anything but that idea. This is grueling.
The fourth biggest trial I face is getting ideas for work after hours, when I’ve left for the day and have been home for an extended period of time. I’ll get bursts of inspiration and have to settle with writing them down in my work notebook in hopes I’ll remember what on earth I was thinking about the next day when I return. My mind is constantly reeling, but it’s not always in the bounds of a “standard” work day or week.
My ideal job set up would be a few set hours during the week, and then being able to cherry pick which days I’m there for longer and which days I’m there for only a few hours, or not at all, but with a little more structure than some freelance positions set up (I’m not picky, I’m particular). I wonder if there will ever come a time when the employees’ working needs will be thought of when in that interview the employer tells the prospective employee what the working hours will be; “let’s do a trial run to see how you work and during which hours you are most productive, and then we can go from there.” This may sound flighty or flaky to those not in a primarily creative field or those used to or those who love the “9 to 5,” but I promise I only have the productiveness of the place I enjoy going to everyday regardless of how my creative juices are flowing in mind.