Working From Home and Coping With the Pandemic: Savannah Hayes

Growing up as the daughter of an artist, I always knew the magic behind a home studio. It's always there. It's always ready when you are. There's no time wasted on a commute, and you can divide your workday into as many segments as you need.

I haven't always been a morning person. As an art student in college and grad school, I would pride myself on those late nights, often all-nighters, spent in the studio, happily sleeping through the entire morning and getting after it in the evenings.

But as I've gotten older, it's been hard to ignore all the compelling evidence that the mornings can be utterly powerful. In the three years since starting my own eponymous textile brand, I've tinkered with my morning routine, and in its current iteration, I'm the most productive, fulfilled and happy that I've ever been—in my studio, in my work, and even in my personal life. Did I conquer the world of work/life balance?!

My ideal day starts at 5 a.m. My alarm goes off and I'm in my third-floor home studio by 5:05 a.m. The house is quiet. My cellphone is still on "Downtime" for another three hours. I head straight to my yoga mat and do a quick 15-minute routine, followed by 10 minutes of meditation, followed by 15 minutes of journaling at my "analog" desk.

Austin Kleon has a great book called Steal Like an Artist. In it he discusses the power of digital versus analog worlds and makes a very compelling argument for why you need both and why they should be separate. My studio is set up to reflect that. 

My analog desk is full of brushes, paints, pastels, reference books, X-Acto knives, bristol vellum, rulers, etc. It's where I go to make things with my hands—the 15 minutes of journaling included. I've read a lot about the power of journaling, and when I first started I literally Googled "what to journal" because I for real had no idea where to begin. My recommendation is to just write what's on your mind. I often center these morning pages on my business—what's happening, what I'm concerned about, what I need to brainstorm, etc. It's really cool to see how much you can think up/accomplish when it's just you, a pen and some paper, uninterrupted by screens or music. 

After the journaling session, I spend the next 30 minutes listening to a podcast and making art. Any art will do. It doesn't have to be good; it just has to get done. I've found that if I sit down to work on a new collection of fabric or wallpaper designs, the pressure to create something perfect on the first go-around can lead to crazy fear and procrastination. This short daily practice of making has taken a lot of that stress away. When it's time to start working on a new collection, I tend to consult the archives of these morning studio sessions.

Now I move over to the digital desk. Hello, computer. I dive into emails and consult my daily to-do list. I live by my Poketo open-dated planner to keep track of my big tasks, events and podcast recordings for the week. I love to block out my work. Although our podcast, Gamechangers, airs once a week, I usually record four to six episodes at a time, every four to six weeks. That way, all of my attention is on the show for that given week, and when it's a non-podcast week, I can focus solely on my studio, working on the fabric and wallpaper collections, marketing, selling, etc.

I record every episode in my home studio, which can really come in handy when booking guests in places like Australia and Hong Kong when the time change can have me recording at 10 p.m. at night. 

Oh, the magic of working from a home studio. Each day I'm able to crank out three hours of work before anyone in my house is awake. I can easily "break" at 8 a.m. and spend two fun hours with my daughter before it's time for her to head to preschool. Ditto for working through her naptime and working after she's gone to sleep for the night. It's certainly not the traditional 9-5 gig, but it suits my lifestyle and the life I want for myself. Everyone on my team is a contractor, working the hours they need to work, when they can fit it into their own schedule. In that respect, I'm not accountable to them during traditional hours either. Win-win.

My studio is a lot of things. Yoga/meditation studio. Art studio. Recording studio. Traditional office. It's a flex space that changes as my business changes, and it's one of my favorite places to be.

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Savannah Hayes
Savannah Hayes has an eponymous textile brand and is also the founder and host of Gamechangers: A Mastermind Podcast for Creative Entrepreneurs, where she interviews successful female entrepreneurs from all over the world.

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