10 Daily Habits that will Empower and Strengthen you as a Professional Creative Person

10 Daily Habits that will Empower and Strengthen you as a Professional Creative Person

December 5, 2012 by

There is no doubt that a large chunk of what determines the fortune of a person is rooted in the little things that we as people do every single day. As such, the power that lies in a habit, good or bad, cannot be overlooked as we all find a means to get ahead in this busy world.

Having discovered the functional beauty of using apps (software applications such as ‘Habit Streak’ on Android) to help chart the progress I make with my own habits in improving myself and contributing to the world, I felt it a good moment to turn to a set of habits that can be specifically meaningful to creative professionals reading Red Lemon Club.

The following habits range from daily steps you can take that benefit your creativity, as well as those that will have positive effects on the more technical aspects of your business. Overall, however, I’ve put together what I feel are a set of actions that complement each other very well.

Connect with 5 people

Reach out to five people that serve to gain from your expertise or that simply might gain from knowing you. Connect in some way through a simple greeting or introduction (as long as you are relevant to what they do), or better yet, giving some kind of value.

I talk a lot about this is my small book: ‘Promo 3.0’, which you can download here.

This needn’t take buckets of time. This is a daily thing, and small connections here and there over time is what separates the pros from the amateurs at self-promotion.

Do a self-assessment

Look over your recent work and put that against your older creative endeavours. Realise how much you’ve improved and how you intend to keep your style and craft evolving from this point on. Having a regular overview of where you’re at with your work like this will keep your momentum ticking nicely.

Record all your expenses

Often overlooked, and one of the harder habits to master, but the value that lies in this is huge. Knowing where all of your money is going will help you take charge of your spending and keep you on top of your finances. Being unaware of this is the biggest cause of money that runs away from you.

“Being unaware of your expenses is the biggest cause of money that runs away from you.”

This means writing down every single financial cost to you over the course of a day and recording it in a spreadsheet, app or somewhere else that is easily accessible.

Remind yourself of your personal mission

Read your personal life’s mission or purpose to yourself with gusto. I’ve written more about purpose in ‘Promo 3.0’.

Check your targets

Check in on your year’s and future goals and tweak if required. If you haven’t set any targets or goals, I would highly recommend you do so, and record them somewhere where you can see them every day, such as on Google’s document cloud: ‘Drive’ (previously Docs).

Seeing them every day will keep you focused on where it is you are going, as well as providing you with the opportunity to update them if you feel uncomfortable with what you have set for yourself.

Make a quick earnings assessment

Take a look at how much you have earned this month and how much more you need to earn in order to reach your designated minimum monthly income level (this is a term I just made up right now).

If you haven’t set a minimum amount you need to earn each month, to keep bills paid for, whilst enjoying a reasonable standard of living, you’ll want to get on that.

Checking in like this every day will make it very clear to you what is required in order to reach your threshold, and hopefully blast through it. A great habit to keep!

Clear your brain

Spend some time clearing your head through meditation, exercise, yoga or others. Your brain is like a machine that requires daily care. Caring for your brain involves a lot of things, but especially for the benefit of creative and focused-thinking, diverting your thoughts from unnecessary ones, is one of the best things you can do for yourself each day.

Educate yourself

Read a chapter or more of nonfiction that will benefit your career and your craft. Obviously fiction is great for expanding your imagination and unwinding, but there is so much goodness to be gleaned out of teaching ourselves a little bit every day, especially those things that directly benefit our ‘careers’.

Do something nice for someone else

This is simple one, but far too often do we take actions that are aimed at bettering our own lives. Help someone else out, give something to someone and improve the quality of someone else’s life with no strings attached.

Inevitably this will bring about a sense of wellbeing, good karma and even returned favours later on anyway.

Work on your masterpiece

Put away some time, even 5 minutes daily, to work on some personal creative work that you will be immensely proud of looking back over the rest of your life. Pieces of work that you put everything into will continually raise the bar in terms of what you can do, and will change the perspective others (friends, fans and potential clients and customers) have of you and your output.

Even though I’ve provided what I think are 10 self-supporting habits, I’m always interested to hear from you and what other ideas for habits specifically for creative pros you might have, especially those that have worked for you. Do comment below! Thank you!

About the Author: Alex Mathers

Alex is a project starter, sometimes finisher, writer and illustrator. He started Red Lemon Club in 2009 with the aim of helping talented creative people leave their mark.

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"Your blog inspires me so much, and helps me feel somehow not as insignificant, despite the plethora of artists around the world."Natalie, artist

  • http://www.stormstudio.nl kevin

    Absolutely spot on! Not that I do all of these every day, but I am a great believer in “paying it forward”. I actually did a small run of “RAYNAF”, a personal project I did “Random Art You Never Asked For”, to see how far I could get, on the World Map.

    What I did was pick someone from my friendlist and made them a piece of art, personal, a portrait. Then I asked them to pick someone from their Facebook Contact List, and tell me a few things bout that person.

    Then I made a new piece of art, for that person, and surprise-post it to their wall, with the same question.

    I started my run in the Netherlands, and got as far as New-Zealand! It was a fun experiment, which ended when someone did not reply to the post.

    Being friendly goes a long way into meeting people, and it certainly comes back to you in the end!!

  • Alex Mathers

    Thanks Kevin. Excellent idea and a wonderful way of getting your art out into the world, whilst making many people both happy and surprised! That kind of stuff gets noticed. Got any links to the art you made?

  • http://www.stormstudio.nl kevin

    I deleted the facebook page after I quit that, having “progressed” as an artist to the point that the work was no longer really a good indication of what I could do. The people still have their at, on their walls here and there. It was fun to do, and was never about the credits, It was a genuine way of trying to get people to do the same, and just be kind, unexpectedly. I was not posting that story here to advertise it, but just to acknowledge the point that doing a random act of kindness, with your core business as a vehicle, really works. It’s exactly what I see in your work, and it resonates. If you really like, I could dig up some of those old artworks and email them your way, to prove I’m not BS’ing you here;) Keep it up!
    Kevin

  • http://hazelbasil.com haZel

    Thank you for this!! I needed a dose of inspiration and this hit the spot[s]!! I recently got laid off but I needed that swift kick anyway. Your site is amazing and awesome. Are you really living in Tokyo? Please tell me you’ve tried the wasabi Kit Kats. I actually enjoyed those and the soy sauce ones too! :) Thanks for all you do!
    high 5s,
    haZ

  • Alex Mathers

    My pleasure Hazel and thank you for signing up to the newsletter! I had heard of those, but haven’t got round to munching on them. I’m leaving here in a few days, so it’s a priority!

  • Alex Mathers

    @Kevin – please do!

  • http://www.kaizenjournaling.com Dolly Garland

    I like this list. Habits are the backbone of sustainable success.

    I especially like the idea of devoting 5 minutes a day to your creative masterpiece. I do so much creative work, but in doing day-to-day stuff, big projects that you just want to do, sometimes go on a back burner. Focusing on them for short amounts of time makes it more possible.

  • Alex Mathers

    Thanks Dolly, absolutely. Chunking things down into approachable tasks makes the daunting stuff do-able again!

  • http://www.harlequingraphic.me Kevin Walsh

    Awesome post as usual Alex.

    I must admit i fail at most of these, i get too caught up in general admin and day-to-day business, i cant remember the last time i made something just for the sake of it. And i must admit that i think my skills are suffering as a result :(

  • Alex Mathers

    Thanks Kevin, it really is never too late to start new habits though :)

  • http://grafica-artica.blogspot.com.es/ Jesús Sanz

    Hi Alex. I have recently discovered Red Lemon Club. Congratulations and thanks for sharing your experiences. I feel very identified with you, because I’m a freelance illustrator too. Great this list of issues to look how to progress as a freelancer and as individuals. Being freelance is a very exciting way to live our life, but also demanding. It is very important to be aware and know where we are in every moment. Some creative people do not see the value of having your feet on the ground. Meditation is a good point, it’s the time better spent, It helps us to see everything in a new way.

  • Alex Mathers

    Great comment, Jesús, you’re absolutely right. A lot of the job of a freelancer is to regularly assess where he/she is and to make new decisions based on those assessments. Meditation will certainly help for this!

  • http://www.guesswhatdesign.com lori

    Great post, Alex! Thanks so much for all you do for us creatives! :)

  • Alex Mathers

    thanks Lori!

  • http://www.khalilsidaoui.com Khalil Sidaoui

    Awesome day start-up Alex! Thank you!

  • http://Www.sarahprestonillustration.com Sarah Preston

    I signed up for your free ebook ages ago and like many people I was just too busy to go through it and use it to its full potential! Over last 6 months I have been disheartened and have had a really rough ride as a freelancer financially. I have been using this time to develop my skills and your email came at just the right time… I have picked myself up and written myself a plan of action using your amazing tips. As soon as I am financially able to I will be purchasing your new book. I feel more motivated after reading your articles. I can do more constructive promotion without having to spend cash I don’t have! Thank you Alex :-)

  • Elena

    Hi ALex,

    Great post as always. Your book Promo 3.0. Is it available only on kindle? Can it be read on a computer? Thanks a lot :))

  • Alex Mathers

    Great to hear it guys, and all the positivity is very encouraging for me too.

    @Sarah We’ve all gone through tough periods, and we can move through them, as you have. Good luck with moving ahead and enjoy the read!

    @Elena Thank you. Promo 3.0 can be read on any device – you just need to download the free kindle reader app… enjoy!

    Alex

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  • greenhorn gallery

    There’s an Art to simply living your life. I did a free outdoor Yoga Class today. I’m working on improving my Diet. Cooking and eating are supposed to be fun! I built my 1st Patio recently which adds peace to my home.

  • http://www.goalsontrack.com Harry @ GoalsOnTrack

    We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle

  • http://blog.247square.com Alaa Kabalan

    This is so helpful. I have mixed feelings about lists, but this list (even if I am not going to abide by every step to the letter) seems interesting. Change in our daily habits is hard, but we need to constantly try or else we remain in place.