Exactly How To Use The Rest Of The Summer To Become A Better Creative

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Warning: feels alert — I had the depressing realization the other day that summer is roughly half way over. Yep, you heard that right — we are smack in the middle of the ~bEst sEaSoN eVeR~ where our days are measured by how much time we get to spend outside and how many seasonal drinks we can consume. While everyone enjoys the moments where they get to just relax and do nothing, over time (for me at least) the same routine of doing nothing and drinking often feels dull. Even when I’m on vacation, I crave more than just tanning, eating, and bobbing along in a chlorinated pool. I try to read and stay active, and while everyone’s idea of the perfect summer vacation is different, I think it’s useful to stay engaged and sharp during the course of the season.

Summer can function as your creative reset — a chance to rekindle the flame of your hobbies and creative passions. For me, summer provides a burst of energy and a zest for life that allows me to do things that I don’t have the energy to do in the freezing cold winter months. In my mind, it’s an opportunity to channel all of my energy into things that make life richer. From staying productive on the weekends to working on vacation (if you need to), the summer can provide an opportunity to invest in yourself and the things you love. Below, I’ve identified the areas in which you can make the remainder of summer 2015 the most productive, relaxing, and creatively rich season yet.

“Summering” As A Working Professional

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To me, summer still has this vague feeling of school days where we were all set loose from the obligations of homework and classes for what felt like an eternity. It’s tempting to still think of it as a period of time where I can turn my brain off, veg out, and spend all day soaking up the sun. Obviously, the reality of life as a working professional is a far cry from that, and I don’t have the luxury of turning off and tuning out. There are tricks to staying productive during the summer so you can get done what you need to, and still have fun. While I enjoy the mental reprieve that summer provides, as I get older I view this period as an opportunity to be selfish with my time, and do the things in which I’m the most interested.

Staying mentally and physically active during the summer while taking the break you deserve is important, and I don’t advocate that you plow through to-do like a well-oiled machine that never. stops. working. Taking the time you need to relax is essential, but too much of anything is never good. Keeping your brain alert and active during the dog days of summer by doing things that ~feed your soul~, will make it easier to transition into the fall. Here are some of the best tips on how to stay sharp during the summer season, and keep our brains from going completely foggy.

Working On Vacation (And How To Do It Better)

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Ever since I started working full-time about three years ago, each vacation I take is punctured with email check-ins, or me stealing an hour here and there to get a little bit of work done. Some people view this as a cardinal sin, but others are very supportive (in fact, 60% of Americans say they work on vacation). While this isn’t true for everyone, for me, working on vacation doesn’t affect my enjoyment of what’s going on around me. Instead, it provides me the chance to shift my energy for a short period of time which makes going back to the beach, enjoying a drink, or taking a walk all the more enjoyable. The truth is, when I worked at a desk job, I hated when I returned back to the office after vacation to find an overwhelming amount of unread emails. To me, I viewed (and still do) working on vacation like doing a service to my future self where it set me up to have a less stressful return back to work.

As I’ve started freelancing, the amount I work while I’m away has increased significantly. However, it’s work that I’m doing for myself, and my perspective has changed because of that. I actually find that I enjoy bringing work with me to a certain extent, because I’m reminded of what I’ve built for myself (which is reason enough to celebrate). I’ve learned that there are ways that you can work productively while you’re away, and I’m all about making the most out of the time I’ve set aside, so I’m able to work as efficiently as possible. While I’m a big advocate of taking the break you need from the daily grind (truly unplugging does have its benefits), if completely pulling away from work isn’t an option for you, here’s how you can work better/smarter on vacation:

Exploring New Hobbies (Or Rekindling Old Ones)

hobbyThe summer is the perfect season to pick up a new hobby, or rekindle your love of old ones that you might have forgotten. Nicer warm-weather months might mean getting back into your outdoor running schedule, swimming, bicycling, hiking, fishing, grilling, cooking, etc. It seems like there are limitless possibilities for weekend activities during the summer season, and I like drawing up a summer bucket list (I was inspired by this post <3) and seeing if I can get through the entire thing.

If I go too long without tackling personal work, designing something for fun, painting, drawing, photographing stuff, etc. I fall into a rut that’s difficult to escape. I find that when I take the time to invest in hobbies that enrich my life, every other aspect of my life improves. Think outside of the box when it comes to planning summer weekends away or at home. Now is the time to challenge yourself because we all know once the cold weather hits, it can be difficult to find the energy to do much of anything.

Summer is a chance for you to focus on you. It serves as a much-needed pause in between the harrowingly cold start to the year and the hectic holiday season that spans from October on. Take time to explore the creative endeavors you might have let slip away, focus on building your career plan, or getting back into painting again — anything that enriches your life and makes you feel whole. Let’s plan to make this the best summer yet, and not let the sun-drenched days of summer pass us by.

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