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Keeping calm, carrying on

The creative process isn’t necessarily a straightforward one. It requires a combination of individual work and social contact, and between active thinking and moments of relaxation.

The sudden shift to remote working was a complete disruption to our established routines. Even with lockdown measures beginning to lift, plenty of us remain apart from our colleagues and our offices/swanky agency studios. It is often hard to find the right environment to support our creative work or even just remain productive. We may find ourselves in secluded too often if living alone, or constantly overwhelmed and overstimulated if we’re in a crowded house with kids and their latest ‘lockdown inventions’. 

Sometimes, quite simply it can be hard to just find the time to switch off

During this disrupted time, where the boundaries between work and home life have blurred almost beyond recognition, we believe there are 6 main areas that we all need to be in touch with to ensure we create a new rhythm and can still deliver outstanding creative work.

With the help of our Head of Strategy and Experience, Matt Lee, we drew together our thoughts on these 6 key areas and practical ways to apply them to keep productive and remain creative while we transition back towards something more recognisable.

Our full report can be read here, but in this article - we look at one, in particular. 

Finding a calming space. An eye in the storm.

Allotment

What does ‘Calm’ mean here?

Ideation, research, exciting discussions with a team and client work are inherently active. These discussions can be intense and draining, especially when we are working virtually rather than face to face. Even for the most extroverted among us, the small virtual picture frame that we speak to daily seems only sap energy rather than provide it. Therefore, we need to make sure we factor in downtime to allow us to ‘switch off’.

Downtime and moments of ‘Calm’ might include straightforward activities such as cooking, working out or even, in normal times, the commute home. 

Why is it needed?

We need to give our brains some breathing room so to allow our subconscious mind to process. When given time to unwind, we are allowing our subconscious to knit together our frantic, hurried thoughts into a cohesive plan or solution. This is not inherently a social act. Here, the brain is free to drift and ponder the thoughts of the day, without being attentive to interaction or other concerns. At Yoyo, we’ve found it all too easy to slip into extended work hours, becoming natural to start half an hour early to ‘get ahead’ of the early morning meetings just to keep the wheels spinning. To combat this, we need to double down on actively seeking out moments of calm, scheduling them in with the same attention we are applying to day to day tasks. 

Carrots

How are we going about it? 

At Yoyo, we always seek ways to build this approach into our daily routine. We recently acquired a plot on an allotment close to our office and are committed to growing our own fruit and vegetables. This gives us a space to switch off and engage in simple tasks like planting, weeding and watering, which can offer a welcome break to the day (and some surprisingly edible food)! We now have enough courgettes to sink a ship - anyone looking for some veg do get in touch! Don't ask why they are yellow, we don't know either.

Applying this approach to the day to day can be a lot simpler than you might assume. As one small example, we’ve found that scheduling the team’s regroup the day after a creative client workshop allows your team to benefit from the power of their commute home, their hobbies and their sleep, rather than when the team is feeling wired after a full-on few hours. Revisiting a creative direction the next day will increase the chance of reaching the best possible outcome. 

As we are all working from home at the moment, we have factored in time for activities away from our work, such as weekly workouts via zoom. However, in other moments of calm, we might need to get entirely away from our screens and simply take time for ourselves.

What have you found that is effective? Where do you go to seek out moments of calm? Read our thoughts and practical advice in full here

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