Why Creatives Don’t Succeed In Traditional, 9-To-5 Work Environments

Full-time jobs are not for everybody. Sure, to most of the workforce, they’re seen as amazing opportunities to take care of expenses and responsibilities and prepare for the future (children, retirement, your own home, etc.), but they also provide a sense of security that does nothing for the free-flowing creative, nor the risk-it-all entrepreneur.

The people in these two categories love the struggle of bootstrapping businesses and stretching resources to do the impossible, even if they can’t pay the rent.

Here’s why nine-to-fives have no place in the lives of the super creative:

1. Too Much Structure

If artists have too much structure, especially structure someone else dictates, they go crazy. I’m not talking about “method-to-the-madness” crazy, I mean damn-near-killing-people-for-no-reason crazy.

Entrepreneurs and creatives crave the abstract, free flowing of things.

They prefer to have pieces to a puzzle so they can determine which pieces fit in their lives best. They also don’t mind open spaces in that puzzle because that’s exactly how they want it.

2. Little To No Flexibility

If a creative can’t decide what to do with his or her time and resources, he or she won’t be a happy camper.

Creatives love when you give them a budget for resources, an abstract of what you need done and the time in which you need it completed.

They’ll produce awesome work for you afterward. Heck, they’ll even provide you with a multitude of options to choose from so you won’t ask them to change anything in a particular piece.

3. Creatives Need To Work At Their Own Pace

Pressure a creative to finish a piece in a timeframe with which he or she isn’t comfortable, and you better be prepared for a nuclear explosion.

Work this group completes does not, and usually cannot, have an exact timestamp.

And, even if he or she can estimate how long it will take to complete a project, he or she would much rather you trust the project will reach completion within the specified timeframe.

A creative will also let you know, before knowing your preference, how long he or she feels it will take to do it.

If you don’t like the timeline, a creative has no problem moving on to another client or another struggle.

I can’t imagine holding a corporate position that mandates short deadlines and constant pressures throughout the day.

4. Creatives Crave Autonomy

Creatives need to have the responsibility for a job they do left up to them. You need to give them all the requirements for what needs to happen and, also, the freedom to do it, without constantly looking over their shoulders.

Trust me, if creatives want help, they’ll either ask for it or Google it.

There’s no point in interrupting the focus of someone in this group. It will just take a longer time to complete and you may just get sub-par work. Then, no one is happy....more

The Case for Free-Range Parenting

On her first morning in America, last summer, my daughter went out to explore her new neighborhood — alone, without even telling my wife or me.

Of course we were worried; we had just moved from Berlin, and she was just 8. But when she came home, we realized we had no reason to panic. Beaming with pride, she told us and her older sister how she had discovered the little park around the corner, and had made friends with a few local dog owners. She had taken possession of her new environment, and was keen to teach us things we didn’t know.

When this story comes up in conversations with American friends, we are usually met with polite disbelief. Most are horrified by the idea that their children might roam around without adult supervision. In Berlin, where we lived in the center of town, our girls would ride the Metro on their own — a no-no in Washington. Or they’d go alone to the playground, or walk a mile to a piano lesson. Here in quiet and traffic-safe suburban Washington, they don’t even find other kids on the street to play with. On Halloween, when everybody was out to trick or treat, we were surprised by how many children actually lived here whom we had never seen.

A study by the University of California, Los Angeles, has found that American kids spend 90 percent of their leisure time at home, often in front of the TV or playing video games. Even when kids are physically active, they are watched closely by adults, either in school, at home, at afternoon activities or in the car, shuttling them from place to place.

Such narrowing of the child’s world has happened across the developed world. But Germany is generally much more accepting of letting children take some risks. To this German parent, it seems that America’s middle class has taken overprotective parenting to a new level, with the government acting as a super nanny.

Just take the case of 10-year-old Rafi and 6-year-old Dvora Meitiv, siblings in Silver Spring, Md., who were picked up in December by the police because their parents had dared to allow them to walk home from the park alone. For trying to make them more independent, their parents were found guilty by the state’s Child Protective Services of “unsubstantiated child neglect.” What had been the norm a generation ago, that kids would enjoy a measure of autonomy after school, is now seen as almost a crime...more 

Fitbit's Surge fitness watch will soon track your bike rides

The Fitbit Surge is now useful for tracking more than just your running when you're outside. An April update to the GPS fitness watch will let it track outdoor bike runs, so you'll know if you beat your previous best time or got your heart thumping on that uphill route. On the mobile app, you'll also have a history that shows whether or not that last ride was as intense as you thought it was. And Surge cycling isn't the only big Fitbit update in the works -- you can finally link multiple trackers to a Fitbit account as of this week, so you don't have to wear your exercise gear to the office just to maintain an accurate step count. Via 

It's not just you: How to bounce back after an unproductive rut

Via Pikaland
As you’ve most probably read in my previous post about how the final weeks of December through to February has been the most unproductive for me work wise, I’ve tried to identify what the reasons were for this lapse in productivity. After all, it’s a good 3 months off my calendar – a quarter of the year that could have been spent on getting my hands dirty and my schedule full: new clients, portfolio, projects, etc.

So I’ve whittled it down to 3 things on my end – maybe you could identify with some of these issues that I’ve faced and maybe, just maybe, it’s what’s holding you back too. And of course I’m not going to leave you hanging! Once you’ve gone through the list, I’ll let you in on what worked for me for hauling my butt into gear!

Problem #1: Holidays

Ah, the good ol’ holiday season. For some it can stretch from November to January, or maybe it could be spring/summer/winter holidays. Or maybe you’re just back from traveling and have trouble getting back into the swing of things. Hey it happens – we need a holiday right after our holidays! Holidays are great though – they allow you to recharge after a hectic year, and helps to balance out the challenges of work and life. But starting up a routine again after a few weeks or a couple of months of not doing much work-related stuff (or maybe you’re only doing the fun stuff) is almost like switching the ignition of a parked car that’s been idle for a few months. It groans, heaves and simply doesn’t comply. Rattling it all the more might give you more sighs and fake starts, but you’ll soon notice that no amount of cajoling will bring it to life. Welcome to the post-holiday blues.
Problem #2: Emotional stress

I was a bit of a wreck in October, after I lost my dog to cancer. I won’t lie – it was hard leading up to the final moments. I had a class to run as well, all I could do was to hold it in and just compartmentalise my thoughts and emotions, doing things proactively instead of just worrying too much with nothing to show for it. So my time was divided between managing my classes and doing research on canine cancer, along with finding alternative therapies to help make my dog more comfortable. I was pulled into a few different directions and my emotions were running on the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. I was lucky that I was working while I took care of my dog, because it allowed me to break away, even if it was just a few hours everyday. The downside to it was that I was a bit of a mess for a couple of weeks after everything ended. I felt as though a big weight was lifted off my shoulders as the compartments I had assigned within my mind all crumbled away. I felt everything all at once. I was tired.

Problem #3: Being unwell

I had severe acid reflux for 3 weeks prior to my Melbourne trip, out of the blue. I was nauseous all the time, and didn’t have any appetite to eat (the constant nausea had a lot to do with that), and to top it all off, I couldn’t sleep lying down because bile would come up into my throat. A round of blood tests and ultrasounds later, I found nothing that could explain my symptoms. I finally found the cause after a bit of fluke – it turned out that a particular medicine I was taking had caused the symptoms. Once I stopped, everything returned back to normal. So while my body took quite a beating a month back, I’m much better. I’m still tired though, and feel as though I’m still catching up on the sleep that I lost.

Finding your flow: A 4-step process

So those were the 3 issues that I faced during the last few months. It might be different for you depending on what you’re facing at the moment, but I’ve found that it doesn’t matter what you’ve experienced – the important thing is to get back up on your feet. I recently started to focus on how I could propel myself out from this bit of a slump and I found that the below tips work really well for me. So while I’m still gaining steam to get back into full-on work mode, I know I’ll get there! And here’s to hoping you will too.

Tip #1: Rediscovering inspiration

When you’re sick/emotional/away from your desk (or your workplace), it takes a bit of time to get back into the swing of things. I know this because with the crazy highs and lows that come with all the above mentioned scenarios, sitting still at a desk and actually doing work doesn’t sound attractive at all. Nope siree. So it’s either inspiration overload (holidays) or I-am-not-in-the-mood-for-anything (emotional/being ill) sort of situation.

What worked for me this time round was to slowly allow a bit of online perusing to trickle into my schedule. As a personal rule, I don’t often visit blogs or Pinterest. I prefer to do my reading through an RSS reader (Pulse on the iPhone) and as for Pinterest, I only allow myself a 15 minute peek every now and then because otherwise I’d look up from my computer and realised that I lost an hour in what I now refer to as the Vortex of Time Suckage.

So what happened was that by injecting my eyeballs with these sort of short doses of imagery on a daily basis, it got me pumped up again. In a kick-in-the-ass pants kind of way. The one where you clutch your hair, slap your forehead and go “That so-and-so who did this-and-that is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?!” You know, existential questions.

At least that’s what worked for me. Every time....more 

Amazon adds personalized music stations on iOS

Amazon is looking to become your source for all things streaming media. Its next step is taking its music streaming more seriously – well, at least for iOS users.

The company is introducing Prime Stations for iOS with version 4.0 of its Amazon Music app. The feature is what you’d expect: music stations tuned to certain genres and preferences, a la Pandora. The more you use the feature and skip or highlight songs, the more it learns about your tastes.

Prime Stations include unlimited skips, and the updated app brings along an improved design for easier browsing, as well as some performance bumps. It’ll also serve up recommendations on songs, albums and playlists based on your listening preferences.

Prime Stations were already available on the PC, Mac and Fire tablets, but this is the first time they hit iOS. There’s no word on Android support yet – we’ve contacted Amazon and will update this post if we hear back. Via  

MUSIC: Yukon Blonde - Saturday Night

MUSIC: Kassassin Street - To Be Young

MUSIC: Pale Hands - Fanatic