Five Ways to Stop Your 9-5 Job Killing Your Creativity

When graduation finally rolled around at the end of June and I was very much jobless and unsure of what I wanted to do with my life (I definitely still am), I realised it was time to get a job and I landed one in an office. I, like many of my fellow graduates, currently have no idea what I want to do with my life and decided the best thing to do was find whatever I could to get some cash together. While I’m glad I have some sort of job, I find myself coming home in the evenings and sometimes struggling to write or play music because I’m simply so tired and worn out after sitting in an office all day staring at a computer screen; my brain would rather switch off than do anything productive. However, I refuse to let this temporary job take over my life, so have put together five tips to, firstly, get the cogs turning in my brain and, secondly, to encourage those of you who are in the same position.

For someone who did really badly at art in school, I drew this angry seal that resides in Central Park Zoo  and I think it came out okay…

1. Remember that your co-workers are people too. You have been employed by this company to do a job for them, so while in your place of work definitely do that job, but on your breaks talk to people, engage with them, find out about their lives. You may not want to become best friends with your colleagues (some people go to work to work and go home again and that’s fine) but don’t think that everyone else in your office is a robot who loves their job. You can definitely take inspiration from these people as your interact with them every day and, over time, will get to know them quite well.

2. You’re not alone (this links in with my first point). I don’t just mean in relation to other university graduates either; chances are, that person sitting at the desk next to you may not want to be there either. Refrain from making snap judgements about your colleagues as that suit or tailored dress doesn’t say anything about their skills and hobbies. If you are as much of an artist as you believe you are then who’s to say that your co-worker isn’t the next Picasso? This world is full of struggling writers, painters, poets, and musicians and, unfortunately, it’s a hard business (if you can call it that) to crack; we all have to do something to support ourselves. You’re not “selling out”, you’re simply being realistic.

3. Do some sort of physical activity in the evening. As soon as I was offered the position at this job I decided that the day it started I would be out that evening doing some form of exercise. True to my word I went cycling on the Monday and Tuesday, swimming on Wednesday, and then cycling again on Thursday. This all resulted in my leg cramping up in my sleep, causing me excruciating pain and then a weird feeling in my calf muscle for the whole of Friday! I don’t suggest you push yourself this hard, but even just going for a walk or doing something every other night will keep you sane and let you process your thoughts.

4. Being out of the office doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be at home. This links in with point number three; have a treadmill in the house? Forget about it and take your walk to the streets. Go cycling, go swimming, go out for coffee and take a book, talk to a friend, just be somewhere that isn’t one of your “normal” environments. At the minute on Twitter I keep seeing a lot of my favourite writers and bloggers (namely Donald Miller and Jamie the Very Worst Missionary) posting tweets about how your best ideas will come to you when away from your desk. Just go somewhere different and gain inspiration from the things around you.

5. Remember that this job isn’t forever. I’m working on saving up to do a Masters degree, and you may have other plans too. Whether or not you’ve figured out yet what those plans are you can be content in the fact that this job is simply a means to an end, something to keep you going, to help you on to the next stage. If you remember this you’ll be more encouraged to keep pushing towards your goals with your writing, or music, or whatever other art you do, as you’ll know there most definitely is light at the end of the tunnel.

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