July 22, 2018

The Opinion: How to juggle creative workloads

FILED IN: Uncategorized

Learning to juggle creativity in the EJP abode

Hey folks. It’s been a while. Sorry, not sorry.

I thought I’d spend a little time explaining my absence from the land of EJP, in the blog-world and on social media. It’s been a busy few months for me. As some of you may know, at the start of April, I landed one of my dream jobs at London Design Festival and London Design Biennale. I was in the midst of going freelance and the opportunity arose for a six-month contract looking after all things digital; the perfect stepping stone for my move into the freelance world.

So far, it’s been fun. But I can’t lie, it’s also been a massive learning curve. Working full-time on social media, newsletters and web content for two major events happening at the same time is by no means an easy feat; and when you have your own channels to whack on top of that, things start to become a little saturated. I spent the first month adjusting to working back in an office, adding two hours of commute time to my day and generally suffering with that level of tiredness a new job brings. Oh, and let’s be real here. I was also cracking on with my bedroom revamp as it was all going on. 5am starts anyone?

I love creating content. I mean, I really love it. So when that creation starts to feel like a chore for me, I know I need to take a break. It’s not good to force these things onto yourself for the sake of a few likes on Instagram. Have I seen a drop in my engagement and new followers over the last few months? Absolutely yes. Do I care? I guess not. If I really did, I would have sacrificed my sleep further for it. I believe in having a social life, taking time out offline and looking after my real-life friendships, so there’s your answer as to what has been taking up my energy outside of the 9-5.

Don’t fret, the ideas have still been buzzing around in my head, and my notes section is well and truly overflowing with blog post drafts. I’ve just not had the inclination to put them live and where’s the fun in pushing out something that you’re not on board with, eh? While my own EJP land has been a little quieter than usual, I have been busy writing for others – *ahem* Virgin – and as this space started as a platform for creative writing, it’s pretty bloody sick that I’m now getting paid on a regular basis to produce articles for others. More of that please.

And while I’m finally finding a place in my schedule for getting back to the grit and the grid, I thought I’d share with you a few tips on juggling your own creative workload. This is for anyone doing a full-time job as well as a side hustle, or just those working freelance. Let’s get to it.

Are you a morning songbird or a night owl?

I’ve found that I can produce early in the morning, but the evening is my time for the TV and the couch. Work out when you create your best and stick to it.

Use your travel time wisely

Don’t spend your commute staring aimlessly. Write, sketch, respond to emails, think of new ideas and pop them in your notes section. If the rest of your day is jam-packed, spend some of the day in fresh air and walk to work – FREE YOUR MIND.

Defeat the urge to scroll

How many of you whittle away the day on your phone? When you’re working turn the emails off and hide your phone in a drawer. Productivity – 1, Instagram – 0.

Track your goals

Make short and snappy to-do lists and manage your own priorities. It’s easy to push the big and scary jobs that will have impact to the bottom of your list (hell, I’m doing this right now!). I’ve been using this Mi Goals Progress Pack from Moxon to help track my own progress and get me back on the straight and narrow.

Use a timer

Keep track of how much time you’re spending on things. A sand timer will help to improve your productivity. These ones from Hay are my favourite.

Don’t plan your “you” time

Don’t plan in your down-time. Just take it when you feel like it. Simple things like reading a magazine, taking a bath or going for a walk will help you to recharge your mind,

Take a break and re-assess

Not feeling it? Listen to your soul. Don’t push content that you’re not happy with and take a break to reassess your priorities. Ask for advice from others and work on getting back on track!

What do you reckon? Will I be able to keep up my game? Tell me your own tips for juggling creativity in the comments below. 


  1. Emma Copland says:

    You’re killing it right now! I’m terrible at juggling different projects and totally needed this post to give me a kick up the butt and get organised.

  2. Congrats on your freelancing and paid writing work. It is the natural progression from here and well deserved. The timer is a key one for me and phone alarms. I have alarms on my phone to remind me to post, check an online business and put the screen away for the night. Xo

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Emma Jane Palin is a freelance art consultant, interior stylist and multi-award-winning blogger residing in Margate, UK. She has worked with various home and lifestyle brands not limited to West Elm, Apple, John Lewis, Habitat, MADE, Caran D'Ache + No.3 Gin. Emma is also a regular contributor to Hunker where she writes about design trends and interior advice.

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