Managing Creativity in the “New Normal”

When I returned to my office to work again after having been working, like many of us, from home for 3 months, things were exactly as I had left them. Even my page-a-day PEANUTS desk calendar still had the page from Monday, March 16th at the top. It was a comic of Snoopy on his doghouse writing one of his many far-fetched books.

When I flipped down to the then-current date of June 8th to pull off the old pages, I ended up pulling off a stack of comic strips that measured a full quarter of an inch thick. This, I imagine, is not too unfamiliar a concept for a lot of us returning to work after being at home for months. And for many of us, still working from home, it’s a sneak preview of the experiences to come. That strange sense of disconnect that takes a few days to wear off.

But during that time, I and millions of us all had to try and adapt to what’s often called “the new normal”, which involved doing our jobs from home. And for me, as a graphic artist and designer, it showcased a specific set of circumstances worth talking about.

Working for home offers a unique set of advantages and obstacles that can make an awkward situation better, and in doing so, some of those coping tools have proven to be useful beyond the shutdowns for when things finally return to equilibrium.

Things that seem common sense, that most of us take for granted worth bringing back up is, of course, the advice you’ve likely read in a dozen different places before: Wake up and get ready like you were still going into an office. Get dressed. Take some time throughout the day to get up and walk. Stretch your legs and get some exercise.

Many of the most basic pieces of advice, however, are also good things to think about when we are all back in our offices working again. Getting up to walk around and stretch is great advice at home and at an office. And while it may sometimes feel like it’s stolen time, in regards to time management, it often speeds UP productivity after you’ve gotten back to work. A refreshed mind and body simply function better and think more clearly.

Beyond the most basic issues involving working from home, as a graphic designer or artist, you may find yourself facing different challenges working in isolation: the lack of regular feedback. Many of us prefer working in an environment where we can touch base with others regarding projects we’re working on, and in these cases, the technology at our fingertips has become more helpful than ever.

Plan those more frequent ZOOM meetings and share your screen. Send a few more concept sketches than you might normally do. Use messenger apps to keep in closer communication with others in the chain of creativity.

Taking advantage of these tools is a good way to cut into some of the doldrums that tend to add up when working from home where you can’t just call a supervisor or co-worker over to your desk and say “Hey, check this out.”

Written by Blog Contributor: Dee Fish