How to Stay Creative while Working a 9-to-5



There's article after article, and blog post after blog post, telling creatives that it's nearly impossible to stay creative while working a traditional corporate job. These pieces tell us—creative people—that you must devote all of your time to doing just that—creating, and that it's nearly impossible to find inspiration through your corporate job. When I started my new job, I began to feel and believe this, but once I stopped making the excuse of having no time, and started making use of every minute I had, things slowly started coming back together.

Related: Self-care for the Mind, Body, and Soul


The starving artist message gets romanticized, but most times is just that—a starving artist, so many of us opt for traditional paying jobs while we spend sleepless nights, long weekends, and our lunch hours creating the work we want to do full-time. As someone who works a traditional 9-to-5, I spend most of the day waiting for that part of the day to be done, so I can work on the things I love doing. For a long time, I was angry that I had to continue to work until I heard Lisa Nichols say to look at your job as the initial investor in your goals; this message changed everything for me. I began to move differently throughout the day and started putting more into my dreams, but that doesn't mean I didn't hit roadblocks. 

While there are challenges and roadblocks, there are ways to keep your creativity while working, even in the few hours you have after working a full day. Here are five ways to stay creative while working a 9-to-5. 


I. Find pockets of time to create 

Making the most of the little bit of time you have is essential to keep your creativity going. Whether it be working during your lunch hour or getting up a few hours earlier, find little pockets of time to create and gain inspiration. Every morning before I leave the house, I read a page that will inspire me for the day, and while commuting on the train, I browse for other inspiration or take that time to jot down notes for a future blog post or edit one going up next week.

II. Keep reading

Reading is the key to keep your creativity flowing. With it, you're consistently learning and keeping your mind going; this helps expand your creative thoughts and allows you to produce more. If you don't have time to read, I encourage you to again; find a pocket of time to so you can expand your inspiration. I'm not able to read a book during my commute, so I spend 30-to-45 minutes every night before bed to do so; this helps me wind down my mind and keeps me on track with my six books a year goal.

Currently reading: Jenifer Lewis, The Mother of Black Hollywood


III. Stay inspired during your work day

The workday can be stressful and finding inspiration while getting your work done is nearly impossible, but doable thanks to podcasts, YouTube videos, and audiobooks. If you're able to wear headphones while at your desk, I encourage you to listen to inspirational podcasts, interviews on YouTube, and audiobooks (a great alternative if you [really] don't have time to read). I find listening to interviews done by Lisa Nichols, Brene Brown, Marianne Williamson, and even Charlamagne tha God open you up to new ways of thinking and give you the inspiration to keep going.

A few of my favorite interviews:

IV. Try something new

The only way to know if you enjoy something is to try it. Don't limit yourself to what you know and your everyday routine; take your creativity, your interest, and passion, and expand on it. If you're able to, go to a place you've never been to; whether it be a full trip or new cafe, try something that's out of the norm to get your creativity going. I like to give myself one-to-two weekends a month to try something [completely] new; it not only gets your creativity going, it keeps life exciting.

V. Stay focused

When you're working a 9-to-5 you don't enjoy, it's easy to get distracted by the work, the lack of time, and the frustration of not doing what you love, but you must remain and stay focused. Don't let your current situation determine your future; stay on track and focus on the small wins. Also, don't allow yourself to be distracted by social media and what everyone else is doing or not doing; take a break to give yourself time to refocus; this is [exactly] what I did, and it allowed me to come back stronger than I left. 


Wearing: Forever 21 Woven // Topman Pants (Similar) // Converse Sneakers

Having a 9-to-5 isn't a bad thing regardless of what you read or hear; if used to your benefit, it can help you live the life of your dreams. If you are working a 9-to-5, and your goal is to leave and do something you're passionate about, keep your creativity going and do the work. Continue to Live Your Life in Style and always Be Inspired


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