30 illustration ideas #ICanDrawAboutIt

“What motivates you to draw everyday? Where do you get your content/ ideas from?” – are questions I get asked frequently.

My Instagram feed is full of ideas/concepts that I have impulsively jotted down on my phone or a piece of paper amidst dinners, loo breaks or a long runs. I call this the “I can draw about this!” moment. The exercise is to actively think about and mindfully observe thoughts or scenarios that happen daily that would make great illustration. When you notice something noteworthy in your day, you ask yourself if it works as a still visual and bingo –  this is the “I can draw about it!” moment. In the beginning it is a bit tiring to actively think about everything that happens around you and to you, but before you know it, it will turn into a prized passive skill.
Warning: You’ll have tons of scrap paper, used tissues and scribbled restaurant bills full of ideas in your bag! 😀

This skill will take time and patience to develop, so until then, here’s 30 illustration ideas as your training wheels. Feel free to start this whenever you’d like, or let’s start together in April so you can actively see how others are doing – I will play along once in a while as well! You can also share this with your friends to see how creativity differs from person to person. No excuses no more- amazing Instagram feed starts now!

If you do participate in this challenge, do tag me & use the hashtag #ICanDrawAboutIt – that way I could handpick a few and repost them on my stories 🙂

Get drawing! And psst. currently creating some kick-ass, top notch quality products, subscribe to stay updated! 🙂

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Food VS Fitness

#FoodVSFitness is a series that elaborates the almost depressing worries of the food vs fitness dilemmas. The series consists of 10 illustrative scenarios describing the mental pressures one goes through. It talks about the lack of balance between extreme food eating habits or extreme fitness.
Creative Direction, Art Direction & Illustrations: Pranita Kocharekar

 

When you workout harder for some dessert. #FoodVSFitness I’ve struggled a lot for the last few years with the food versus fitness (fit body) dilemma. I love food A LOT & I love being fit A LOT. Finding a middle ground is very difficult & I know I’m not alone! This series elaborates the almost depressing worries of the food vs fitness dilemmas. #1193 #pranitasdrawingaday #drawingaday #dailydrawing #drawingeveryday #drawing #art #graphic #illustration #illustrationdaily #illustrationartists #ilustree #picame #pirategraphic #supplyanddesign #ballpitmag #100daysproject #1000daysproject #365daysproject #love #pranitart #pranitakocharekar #food #foodie #fitness #muscles #girlswholift

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When you’re playing ‘Waiting for weight loss’ game every morning 🙈#FoodVSFitness I’ve struggled a lot for the last few years with the food versus fitness (fit body) dilemma. I love food A LOT & I love being fit A LOT. Finding a middle ground is very difficult & I know I’m not alone! This series elaborates the almost depressing worries of the food vs fitness dilemmas. Made on #iPadPro #Procreate #1195 #pranitasdrawingaday #drawingaday #dailydrawing #drawingeveryday #drawing #art #illustration #illustrationdaily #illustrationartists #ilustree #picame #pirategraphic #supplyanddesign #ballpitmag #100daysproject #1000daysproject #365daysproject #pranitart #pranitakocharekar #food #foodie #fitness #muscles #girlswholift #weightloss #weighingscale

A post shared by Pranita Kocharekar (@pranitart) on

 

When you’re sad about it either way 🤷‍♀️🍰#FoodVSFitness I’ve struggled a lot for the last few years with the food versus fitness (fit body) dilemma. I love food A LOT & I love being fit A LOT. Finding a middle ground is very difficult & I know I’m not alone! This series elaborates the almost depressing worries of the food vs fitness dilemmas. Made on #iPadPro #Procreate #1197 #pranitasdrawingaday #drawingaday #dailydrawing #drawingeveryday #drawing #art #illustration #illustrationdaily #illustrationartists #ilustree #picame #pirategraphic #supplyanddesign #ballpitmag #100daysproject #1000daysproject #365daysproject #pranitart #pranitakocharekar #food #foodie #fitness #weightloss #weighingscale #dessert

A post shared by Pranita Kocharekar (@pranitart) on

 

 

I’ve heard this way more than I’d like and it is not coooool! 🤷‍♀️ #FoodVSFitness I’ve struggled a lot for the last few years with the food versus fitness (fit body) dilemma. I love food A LOT & I love being fit A LOT. Finding a middle ground is very difficult & I know I’m not alone! This series elaborates the almost depressing worries of the food vs fitness dilemmas. Made on #iPadPro #Procreate #1199 #pranitasdrawingaday #drawingaday #dailydrawing #drawingeveryday #drawing #art #illustration #illustrationdaily #illustrationartists #ilustree #picame #pirategraphic #supplyanddesign #ballpitmag #100daysproject #1000daysproject #365daysproject #pranitart #pranitakocharekar #food #foodie #fitness #weightloss #weighingscale

A post shared by Pranita Kocharekar (@pranitart) on

 

 

When you permanently break up with food that’s 100% damage. 🥤 #FoodVSFitness I’ve struggled a lot for the last few years with the food versus fitness (fit body) dilemma. I love food A LOT & I love being fit A LOT. Finding a middle ground is very difficult & I know I’m not alone! This series elaborates the almost depressing worries of the food vs fitness dilemmas. Made on #iPadPro #Procreate #1203 #pranitasdrawingaday #drawingaday #dailydrawing #drawingeveryday #drawing #art #illustration #illustrationdaily #illustrationartists #ilustree #picame #pirategraphic #supplyanddesign #ballpitmag #100daysproject #1000daysproject #365daysproject #pranitart #pranitakocharekar #food #foodie #fitness #weightloss #weighingscale

A post shared by Pranita Kocharekar (@pranitart) on

 

 

While at a birthday party. #FoodVSFitness (This is the end of the series, can’t thank you guys enough for the support & love ❤) I’ve struggled a lot for the last few years with the food versus fitness (fit body) dilemma. I love food A LOT & I love being fit A LOT. Finding a middle ground is very difficult & I know I’m not alone! This series elaborates the almost depressing worries of the food vs fitness dilemmas. Made on #iPadPro #Procreate #1205 #pranitasdrawingaday #drawingaday #dailydrawing #drawingeveryday #drawing #art #illustration #illustrationdaily #illustrationartists #ilustree #picame #pirategraphic #supplyanddesign #ballpitmag #100daysproject #1000daysproject #365daysproject #pranitart #pranitakocharekar #food #foodie #fitness #weightloss #weighingscale

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How to charge a fee?

Hello guys!

Wish you a very happy new year! I’m starting the year with the most frequently asked question “How to charge?”
Charging a fee is very subjective and differs from artist to artist. I’m going to share my personal view and experience on charging a fee down below!

Fee
When I started off, I assumed there is a fee that every beginner has to charge. There is no “beginner fee” for your talent & skill. You have to be really honest with yourself, compare your work with artists and illustrators whose work most closely resembles your own and ask yourself where you stand. Your fee could be as little as Rs.3,000 an illustration to Rs.15,000 an illustration (these are just random numbers being thrown around. YOU decide your worth).

Timeline
The first question I usually ask the client is “What is the timeline like?”
The logic is simple, if they are giving you plenty time to create your artwork – you can work at ease & you charge your nominal fee.
However, if they require the illustration “yesterday”(typical advertising terminology for ‘need it urgently’), then you need to stop everything you’re doing and work on this project asap.
In this case, time = money & your work life-personal life discipline matters as well so I usually charge about 25%-50% more than my usual fee.

Usage
Always make sure you clarify the usage rights of your artwork.
For example, a company requires an illustration for an internal office greeting card. Here, your client likely has a restricted budget since this illustration isn’t a part of their advertising/marketing budget; it’s from their ‘office maintenance/upkeep’ budget. This doesnt directly lead to sales.
This means your artwork should be used for the purpose of internal office use only. In case the client wants to use it for any other reason, the fee will be revised.

Why? Because a discounted fee was charged for that very reason- limited office use. In essence, narrow down usage rights as much as possible, this includes your design as a whole or partially (parts of your design) as well.

Clients
It is important to understand who your client is and only then charge a fee.
I usually categorize my fee into the following categories:

A – Clients who want the illustration for personal reasons (gifting, weddings, parties, etc.) Budgets here are really tiny because it is coming straight from their pocket for no monetary gains.

B i – Startups who are just starting up. These clients don’t have a large reach yet. Their audience is tiny, hence their returns are tiny. Which means that your illustration is benefiting them but only to a certain extent. Hence, budgets may not pay your entire month’s salary.

B ii – Startups that are big but not profitable yet (look up your client’s value on the internet!). These startups may have a large audience which means your illustration will help increase sales. They can afford quite a bit.

D – Established clients. These clients have a large audience. Their sales are massive and your illustration is only helping them push these sales more. They will have decent budgets. 

Market price
Let’s compare onions to clothes. The price of onions is more or less the same because onions are more or less the same. Whereas, the price of clothing differs.
Lets say you want to purchase a t-shirt –
For a low budget, you can buy a t-shirt that will last you about a year which is low in quality and probably just a few styles.
For a slightly higher budget, you can buy a t-shirt that will last you longer, will be better in quality and you may have a larger variety of styles.
Similarly, every illustrator’s skills will differ & hence their price differs.

I received an e-mail once from a client saying “.. but the market price of illustrations these days is Rs.700 for one.” Instead of being upset at reading this, help your client understand why you’re worth what you’re worth.

A small note: you are not only charging your client for your end product but also a smooth process of creating an illustration. Your work may be fantastic but that is not the only factor a client is looking for. A definite timeline, prompt communication & helping the client understand your process is a part of the package.

Rate card
Hence, there is no such thing as a rate card either. You could provide your client with a vague estimate range, but your illustration fee depends on a lot of factors (timelines, who the client is, the usage, etc.)

Terms & Conditions
This is a huge lesson I learnt when I started pricing and I would love to share this lesson with you:

> Always charge an advance fee.

> Always charge a cancellation fee (Incase they don’t seem interested/ slack the project mid way – you have to be paid for the time/effort)

> Mention the number of changes you will allow. After which add an additional fee.

> Be strict about the usage. (For example: This can be used only on your social media handles. If you wish to use this for print, I will help you with a revised fee).

> Make sure you mention the number of options you offer. If they require more options, you charge more.

> No changes/alterations to the designs can be made without your consent. In case they have to be made, you charge them a fee for it.

The above are a few common terms you can clarify before beginning any project.

“Opportunity”
“This will be a great opportunity for you” , “I’m presenting you the opportunity to work with us” – I have heard these sentences more than I like.

Elaborating a real life incident further ahead.
I once got a call from an agency who wanted me to conduct an illustration workshop for a big shoe brand for an audience of 20-40 people which was going to happen over the weekend.

How I see it: Sure, this sounds like fun, plus big shoe brand on my portfolio will look great. Though I have to prepare for this for at least a couple days + spend my entire weekend at the workshop. Time given = 4 days. 4 days where I don’t take other projects and solely focus on the presentation.

“ We don’t have a budget but this will be a great opportunity for you since the audience will get to know you and there will be other industry biggies at the event too.”

This could be a great opportunity for someone who is interested in developing a career conducting workshops, or for someone who believes that mingling with industry biggies is a gain. I personally didn’t want much of either of those.

You decide to choose what an opportunity is for you. If your lifelong goal is to be a children’s book illustrator, this event is not an opportunity for it. It is a great way to make money. Don’t let anybody define opportunity other than yourself.

Barter
Lastly, barter deals are something that could be worked out incase the client doesn’t have big budgets. If you really want to work for the brand but they don’t have good budgets – you could propose a barter deal for their products/ services. I have been approached for many barter deals and the best way to deny a barter deal is with honesty. If you don’t see yourself promoting or using a certain product, refuse the barter deal.

Flexibility
Having said all of the above, I always believe in flexibility. If the client is someone I wish to work with or if I truly believe in their brand’s business model, I try being flexible in terms of pricing. Sometimes you do come across brands and clients that are wonderful to work with & you truly want to benefit their brand. WORK WITH THEM, help them grow! 🙂 (not sorry for the punny illustration)

These are more or less the things I keep in mind before charging a client. You could also read this link written by Jessica Hische which is a great guide as well.
This is my personal take on charging a fee. If you have any contributions to this article, do post in the comments below! 🙂

Psst. Valentine’s Day products launching on the coming Wednesday! Stay tuned!

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How to begin freelancing

This post is very subjective, every freelancer has their own journey and I’m sharing mine with you. Today I’m writing about my education and initial work experience, why I freelance and how my career has shaped so far.

Questions for today’s blog post were:

1)   How do you start freelancing and look for clients? – @paradox7_
2)   How does one starts out in the industry, where do you look for opportunities and what are some things that you think is a good idea to do as a student in order to yourself in a good position when you graduate? — @taraanandart

This post is very subjective, every freelancer has their own journey and I’m sharing mine with you. Giving you a brief idea about my education and initial work experience, why I freelance and how my career has shaped so far.

I went to a design college and learnt commercial arts, advertising, graphic designing and typography. The four year course was divided into two parts: the first two years were majorly hand work, while the latter were digital work. In my third year in college, I sent a few samples of my work to an advertising agency called Leo Burnett based in Mumbai. I interned there for a few months and had two realisations –

1) I enjoy designing
2) I don’t get enough time for myself because of long work hours

The prospect of good clients and good people to work with was not enough for me, I craved time for myself and personal projects as well as a disciplined schedule.

Around then I decided I will be my own boss forever. I have never had a job before!

 

Over the years I realised that being a freelancer is way more difficult. During my final year, I was very certain of not wanting a job but instead build my own opportunities. I started working on projects that would attract appropriate clients. I worked really hard on multiple college campaigns and uploaded them on my Behance profile.


Here are images from some of my college work. You can browse through my work on my website to see the whole project.
Around my final year, I received a call from a talented creative director from Ogilvy and Mather for an illustration project for Vodafone. This was my first major commissioned project. Because I uploaded a bunch of work on Behance, the agency found me and I had the best time working with them on the Vodafone campaign. The campaign attracted a lot of attention and thus, people began recognising my style.

A glimpse of the vodafone project.
This experience was proof enough for me to keep working on personal projects and updating my portfolio from time to time.

During my college years, I won a few awards which attracted multiple agencies that offered me jobs. (Work hard on your college assignments!) I was very honest to them about not wanting full time jobs, but being open to freelance opportunities. The honesty was appreciated and some of them even got in touch with me for commissioned projects!

And that’s how my career began.

3 important things you must never forget:

As a freelancer, you are doing much more than just designing or illustrating.
You have to balance three things at all times:
– Market yourself
– Interact with clients while working with them
– Handle your finances

Marketing:

1) Uploading projects on behance is a wonderful way to begin. Build your portfolio.
I attracted clients like Vodafone, 5star, Oreo, Quikr, MP Tourism because they found me on Behance. An international brand called Chegg also found me on Behance.

2) Social media – Upload projects or glimpses of your sketchbook, snippets of larger campaigns, etc. on your social media. Social media is a great marketing tool – you can interact with others here. Over the years, I built my social media content and eventually attracted clients like Animal Planet, Nivea, Netflix, Adidas, etc. through Instagram.

3) Create your own projects: One of my college professor said, “Don’t let a single day of your life be unproductive unless planned.” And sticking by this is so important. On days without commissioned work – Practice lots and share it on your social media/ portfolio. It is important for the world to see what you’re capable of, only then will you attract the appropriate clients.

Once a client reaches you, you must have a smooth experience with them so they come back/ recommend you to someone else.

Interact with clients:

Usually agencies have a team of people who communicate with the clients. Here, you’re on your own till you can hire someone.

1) Remember to always have your conversations in written with your client. You may go in for a meeting or may speak over a call – but to avoid confusion – always have everything written and confirmed in an email.
2) Advance fee – Never work on a project without an advance. In my early years, I have had many unfortunate occasions with unpleasant clients. It is always better to be safe and have your own set of terms before beginning any project. Make sure you receive an advance.
3) Cancellation fee – Make sure you mention a cancellation fee. After receiving your advance, sometimes projects could get shelved. This could be because of multiple reasons – the project isn’t working out, the client wasn’t clear of what they wanted and now don’t want to continue working with you, client’s priorities have changed, etc. – whatever the reason may be – you have to get paid for your time. Hence, a cancellation fee.
4) Pending payment – Make sure you have it in written about your payment date before commencing the project.
5) Number of changes – Make sure you have a set number of changes mentioned. If the client requests for more changes, revise your estimate accordingly.
6) Process – Remember that your client may not be able to visualize like you. You are helping them shape a brand and it is your responsibility to carry them with you through your process. Share every stage of your work with your client – right from ideas, rough sketches, drafts, etc. This assures a smooth process that is hassle free!

You’re having a great time freelancing, working well with clients but how do you handle your finances?

Handle your finances:

1) Pricing is one of the most difficult factors of freelancing. Your radar for knowing where you stand must be accurate. When you’re a freelance illustrator there is nothing like a “market price”. People’s style, talent and experience differ. Factors such as time invested in the project, who the client is, how swift will the communication be, number of iterations, how will the project weigh on your portfolio, etc. should be considered.
While over-pricing might be your constant worry, underpricing can be equally unappealing to a client. Make sure you know your worth!

2) There will be times in the beginning of your career when your planner will have “harass xyz client for payments” – that happens. Some clients delay payments and you have to be responsible enough to politely but consistently be asking for your payments.

3) Specially in the beginning of your freelance career, you will have some months where you’re loaded with work, followed by some very very dry months. This happens and that is okay. Salaried employees are advised to have 6 months worth of expenses in liquid/easily liquefiable assets in case of layoffs. I believe a freelancer should do have more. A big paycheck followed by a big splurge is always a recipe for financial disaster. Save. Way more than you think.

Tip: During dry months, work on personal projects – you’ll attract more clients.

Final thoughts:

Sleeping and working in the same room can be a bit difficult. You must have a lot of discipline to wake up and convert your room into a workable environment.
Eating on time, sleeping on time and having strict work hours is very, very, very important. Else your work will consume you! You are your own boss, learn to be a good boss to yourself.

And finally, you might hear people offering you work in lieu of ‘good exposure and recognition’. My only two cents about this is that only you should decide for yourself what is or isn’t a good opportunity. While the client may  think this is a good opportunity for you, you are your own true judge, because you are going to pave your path. Don’t get too consumed in this “opportunity” business.

Note: While starting out, I read some well-crafted articles by Jessica Hische. These two (this and this) articles will be really insightful!

If you have any questions feel free to write to me at otherpranitakocharekar@gmail.com with “Questions” as the subject.
I would love to create a conversation with you, if you have anything to add to the post, feel free to drop comments. We learn from each other! 🙂

Have a lovely day!
Love,
Pranita.

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How to be an illustrator?

In this post, I’ll talk about how to be an illustrator (every illustrator has their own techniques, I’ll be elaborating on mine), my tools of trade & inspiration.

I will be answering @delhidoodler08’s questions.
“What advice would you give to someone who wants to learn illustration? Which tablet and software do you use? Who/what is your biggest source of inspiration?”
And also, @thatgraciasgirl’s question,
“How did you develop your style of illustration, what was the process?”

Before I begin elaborating each of the above, let me help you understand a very simple concept.
As children, we were taught to hold a pencil and trace alphabets. Eventually, we learnt how to use a tool – the pencil.
We all learnt the same tool – yet our handwriting is different because it reflects who we are as a person.
The same concept applies to illustration. Knowing a software isn’t enough to be an illustrator. You have to practice to develop your own style which will mould depending on your personality, thoughts, interests, etc.

My tools of the trade:
1) Pencils! I usually use 4B pencils for smoother strokes
2) Software- Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator – I use either of these to digitize my illustrations.
3) Wacom Intuous 4 – I use this tablet to retrace over my scanned illustrations. The pressure sensitivity of this pen is beautiful and helps to recreate the desired strokes. Although I’m excited to upgrade soon!

How to be an illustrator & how does one develop their own style?

1) Observe

Back in Art College, we drew people or objects for 30 minutes every morning. Most of us hated this session, though I realised the importance of these 30minutes much later.
Observing your environment, people, human behaviour, objects, shapes, thoughts, etc. is important for an artist. And documenting these on paper is a practice we must develop for improvement. Just like journaling! At first, your humans may not even look like humans, but it’s important to keep observing and keep practising. The best lesson is to observe.

2) Draw, draw, draw!

I upload #pranitasdrawingaday on Instagram everyday. It has been almost 1000 days now. This project started for the sake of practice – to observe not only visual objects but also my thoughts and feelings. This helps in developing your own style & also trying new techniques.

3) Learn how to draw gestures, expressions

The best way to draw expressions, gestures, etc. is to look in the mirror and observe.
For example, if you want to draw a sad face, you emote it in front of the mirror and try imitating it on paper until you perfect it.
You will notice your eyebrows wrinkled, your lips pouting, your face drooping, etc. – observe the change and adapt it.
Don’t worry, after a while, you will not need to do this. You will automatically be able to visualise the expressions. (Disney animators used to have  mirror beside their desk.)
Sometimes, referencing your own body and face is way simpler and more effective than the internet!

4) Build confidence

Try and be passively aware and observant. [this is a mental practice that you can build – it will be as obvious as breathing overtime.]
If you observe something and want to draw it, use your pen to create a quick scribble. Using a pen will allow you to build your confidence because there is no room for corrections. Developing this habit overtime will help you quickly jot your ideas/thoughts on paper.
Using a pen to jot down your thoughts and ideas within a few seconds/minutes is a great way to think faster.

5) Learn to simplify and analyse

Let me explain this with an example. My subject is a bear. My illustration demands a middle aged bear character. Now in real life, you can’t really tell the age of a bear. But in the world of your illustration; it’s possible. All you have to do is analyse the thought – what can make the bear look older? And communicate the thought as simply as possible.

I added age on the bear by analysing and simplifying the thought. However, to expand this further, you can also add a slight hunch, droop the smile more, etc. 

6) Develop your own style

Developing an illustration style is just like developing a personality – like I mentioned in the beginning of this post.
If you keep practising, keep observing – not only objects but also your feelings and thoughts, and documenting them as illustrations on paper – you will automatically develop a style over time.
Your personality, likes and dislikes will automatically be seen in your illustration style.
One very important factor to consider is – do not imitate another illustrator’s style. This will only limit you to the illustrator’s identity. You will not be able to explore and express yourself!
Developing your style will require lots of practice – not only drawing practice but also thinking. 

7) The process

Everyone’s process is different depending on their style. But while working with a client, I believe in presenting a very detailed process so you can avoid changes, understand the direction of the project and assure your client of authenticity. I’m sharing my process here below, though one must do what is most comfortable for their style.
Example,

  • Write your idea in words: A girl has had a long day, she looks tired. But she is happy and excited that her day is finally over.
    >> Tired girl looking very excited, coffee mugs and papers fallen around.
  • Create a thumbnail of your layout.
  • Create a rough sketch on paper
  • Create a linear illustration digitally of your rough (this depends on your illustration style. This style has outlines.)
  • Colour your illustration
    Having a detailed step by step procedure not only helps your client understand your process, but lets you improvise at each stage.
    Tip: It is always good to go back to your illustrations after a while to look for room for improvement. 

7) Kick your fear away!

During college days, I often feared what my final artwork would look like and was obsessively careful of my process. Be fearless! It will take time to build this confidence. Constantly remind yourself that you can always redraw over and over, you have lots of scope for improvement. Wanting good results and setting goals is good, but constantly beating yourself because of a perfectionist attitude will only slow you down. Believe in the process, and be fearless!

8) Who inspires me the most?
My inspirations are constantly changing as I constantly change and grow.
The source of my inspiration almost always is books. I love reading, and the people who inspired me over the last one year were discovered through books.
My inspirations are mostly people who make me want to work hard, who keep me motivated and remind me of my goals.
Malala Yousafzai’s undying spirit reminds me that if you are determined enough you can achieve your goals. This keeps me going! [Read her book – I am Malala]
And also, Dory (from the movie Finding Dory/ Finding Nemo) is also an inspiration. I love how her character is imperfect and flawed (I’m a forgetful person, too!) – yet she sticks to beliefs and moves on – just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming!

If you have any questions feel free to write to me at otherpranitakocharekar@gmail.com with “Questions” as the subject.
I would love to create a conversation with you, if you have anything to add to the post, feel free to drop comments. We learn from each other! 🙂
I hope this was helpful and I truly hope you have a more productive day today (and always!)

Have a lovely day!
Love,
Pranita.

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From procrastination to productivity


One fine morning, I uploaded an unticked to-do list for the day on Instagram stories & by the end of the day a fully ticked one. I got a ton of messages asking me how I managed to complete so much in a day. Until this point, I thought my to-do lists are really mediocre and I don’t do as much as I wish to. But reading your replies and questions made me realise that I indeed have stopped procrastinating. There are no simple steps to achieve this though. It is a long but assured process.

1) Set the practice of awarding yourself instead of easily getting what you want.
While working, for e.g., if I complete my to-do list from Monday to Friday, only then will I eat (insert fav food) over the weekend.
It is necessary to set this practice not only for work but everything else as well.
For e.g., if I finish reading 50 books this year, only then will I buy myself the kindle.
This helps you stay focused on your goals, because you want to grab that carrot at the end of the stick.

2) Time set aside for leisure every week.
This is really, really, really important. I realised the importance of this only very recently. I was someone who would work 7 days a week for 9 hours a day. And that only lead my brain to feel very tired, not being as productive and eventually hating everything I did.
The solution was so simple – give yourself a break! Saturday and Sundays (or any two days!) are days you don’t go to work. But physically not being there is not enough, you have to train your mind to push aside all work thoughts on your break days – no work calls, no checking your e-mails, no talking about work – nothing.
This helps your mind to relax, don’t underestimate the power of breaks. The more relaxed you feel, the stronger you start your week – the more productive you are.

3) Discipline. (This should’ve been 1)
Discipline is a habit that you have to create which involves effort. No, people are not born with it – they work for it! Start small. Discipline yourself wherever you can. Let me give you my example: It was easy for me to take time off to exercise, because I enjoy doing it. I set a discipline of exercising every alternate day – no matter what. Next I picked the newspaper. I began reading the papers every morning – no matter what. Next, I set a discipline to work from 10.30 sharp to 7pm sharp (freelancing is hard sometimes) from Monday to Friday, not a minute before, not a minute after (still struggling here, tbh). Now you may ask – how is this helping me?
Setting a discipline is a practice. If you lead a disciplined life, it will automatically reflect on your work schedules. You will develop the will power to finish your to-do list for the day.

4) Start and end your day with anything but work.
I had a habit of grabbing my phone the minute my right eyelid managed to open, tapping on my Gmail icon (or social media) and checking my mail before my left eyelid could open. This made my half-asleep brain feel mushy and tired. I suggest starting and ending your day with something you enjoy doing. I set aside a couple hours every morning and night for reading (or solving Sudoku puzzles, or solving the Rubik’s cube, or meditating).
Starting and ending your day on the right note means sleeping well. When you’re well rested, your day is productive.

5) Don’t let your work consume you.
I felt like a lab rat when I would wake up, crawl to my desk, work, work, eat, shower, work, work, exercise, work, sleep. This is when you hear your friends say “Get a life!” and… they’re right. Now this may be subjective, but it has helped me so much so I will present my point of view anyway.
No matter how passionate you may be about your work and how your whole life seems to be defined by what you do– it’s very important to understand that you are not your work. I believe that some level of detachment from everything in life is very healthy – bringing a balance. The most important question here is – how can I give my 100% and at the same time be able to detach myself from what I do for almost 7 hours a day?
It is a practice (again!) and will take time (I’m not there yet, but I believe and hope I will be one day).
Nothing can absorb you until you let it. And one way to make sure of this is to be fully aware about your work (what you’re working on, why you’re doing what you’re doing, what are your goals). Being aware of what you’re doing (whether it is the goal of wanting to be a CEO or earning a xyz amount a month) helps you focus on your goals, instead of robotically ticking things off your list. There is no point being a part of a rat race that never ends.
Make sure you’re introspecting your work (and life, in general) from time to time so you know exactly where you stand. Because there will be times when you step out of your comfort zone and constantly ask yourself “Why am I even doing this?” That’s when the introspection will put things into perspective and you’ll continue to have a productive day.

6) Love thy Mondays. Here’s how:
I know, you can’t and shouldn’t force an emotion. It is very natural to want another break day after a lazy Sunday. But Mondays aren’t all that bad when you plan something exciting for yourself. My to-do lists consists of either something easy, or something I have been wanting to work on, or something fun but challenging on my Mondays. And this helps!
Starting your day of the week on the right note helps you stay motivated for the rest of the week!
If you aren’t a freelancer, you can still apply this by talking to your boss. I’m sure your boss will be happy to make this change for a motivated-you throughout the week.

7) Solution to a creative block is to break down your to-do list excessively.
Everyone has creative blocks or times when you just don’t feel like drawing/writing, etc. And I found a fun solution which has been working for me over the last year.
I break my to-do list into tiny, tiny, tiiinnnyyy lists. Because there will always be something on that list that you can do even when you’re beaten and tired.
For example, a short to-do list may look like this:
– Start Project ABC
– Keep the house clean before guests arrive
– Finish writing blog post
This can be broken down into:
– Start project ABC : 1) Write ideas on paper for project ABC 2) Draw rough thumbnails 3) Draw linear illustrations 4) Colour it up.
– Keep the house clean before guests arrive: 1) Put clothes in place 2) Dust the curtains 3) Place candles/glassware on the table 4) Replace pillow covers
– Finish writing blog post: 1) Jot down pointers 2) Write a rough draft 3) Edit draft 4) Add images
Now are you saying you cant tick one thing off this list?
(Tip: Always start your day with a simple task that can be ticked off fast – this helps you feel more motivated.)
This helps your mind sense the feeling of accomplishment. This may motivate you to do more/ better the next day. I always say – something is better than nothing!

8) Organisation and scheduling will save you a lot of time = productivity higher!
A good way to live life (not just work life) is to be really organised. Other than having fixed work timings and lunch hours, you should value your time and make others value it as well.
For example, don’t pick non-work calls when you’re working (unless you absolutely need to!) so that your friends value your work hours and speak to you by the end of the day = less distraction.
Schedule your calls with your clients. Allowing your clients to call you whenever they wish to will lead to disturbance in your schedule. Scheduling calls helps both you and your client respect each other’s time which leads to a more organised day, with lesser disturbances.
Less disturbance = more focus = more productivity.

If you have any questions feel free to write to me at otherpranitakocharekar@gmail.com with “Questions” as the subject.
I would love to create a conversation with you, if you have anything to add to the post, feel free to drop comments. We learn from each other! 🙂
I hope this was helpful and I truly hope you have a more productive day today (and always!)

Have a lovely day!
Love,
Pranita.

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