The pandemic made everything go virtual. Our biggest love-hate relationship might have been with our computer screens (if it wasn’t already) — due to the countless Zoom calls.
But for many creative solopreneurs, freelancers, and consultants like me, during this time, we had to seek out MORE community and online connection while working from home. Our coffee shops and coworking spaces were closed. Many of the solutions I found that kept me going were yes virtual, but they had a big community-focus and human aspect to each of them. They helped me feel more connected while we were socially distancing.
Here are my three favorite online platforms that helped me feel connected during the pandemic and my top recommendations for remote working creatively, staying productive with deep focus, and prioritizing balance for our mental health and mindset.
If you’re a creative and aren’t familiar with this organization, they are a monthly breakfast lecture series designed for creative communities. In fact, they claim that CreativeMornings is the world’s largest face-to-face creative community. They started in NYC and now host gatherings in over 216 cities and 65 countries around the globe. Their new [Virtual] FieldTrips offering allowed anyone within the community to sign up to host and generously share a unique slice of their expertise. All of it was free and on Zoom. And wow, the community stepped up.
I’ll be sharing some key workshops and lessons from those I attended (and keep attending) on my website blog. In the meantime, check out their list of free fieldtrip classes. While the list has gotten shorter, there are always new ones popping up every week and each one turns out amazing.
I was introduced to Caveday
by subscribing to their excellent productivity-focused newsletter. Their focus, however, is in deep work and mono tasking. It reminded me of the principles of Cal Newport’s Deep Work
. I began practicing more of these deep focus sessions with a free month from CaveDay (actually through an abbreviated CreativeMornings workshop). I was immediately hooked because my work was time-blocked, plus I was so much more focused and productive.
The Caveday concept is essentially a virtual coworking session where you log into a Zoom call with 50-60 others, and a facilitator guides you through several sprints and breaks (they keep track of time for you, so you can get lost in your work). You keep your video on as you do this work at your screen and initially it may sound bizarre, but those faces all working absolutely keep me accountable to the dedicated time and provides a solid sense of community. The structure works, it’s affordable, and it’s fun to see and get to know familiar faces returning each day. They have a full calendar of options and guides, usually with a theme, to keep it all fun and interesting.
If you want to try it out, sign up for the Caveday newsletter and get a free first Cave session. Let me know if I’ll see you there “in the Cave!” I’m there almost every day.
SELF CARE SOCIETY
The pandemic has brought so much awareness to mental health and ensuring we take care of ourselves during this relentlessly tough year. Self Care Society takes our hand, gives us the tools, and makes it so fun to take that time for ourselves.
I’ve followed Danika Brysha
on Instagram for a few years. She’s an approachable, real, and passionate soul (and successful entrepreneur) who brightens up my feed and my stories. Her commitment to self care is also unparalleled; she developed her own “self care checklist” that she’d go through each morning at 530 am. While most of us are not willing to get up that early, we did want “whatever she was having.” She was always glowing with high vibes. Soon enough, she was offering classes and series to teach her tools, and it’s now become a full-fledged platform and amazing community to support women in loving themselves better.
It’s been amazing to see its evolution as one of its early adopters. Early in 2020, I had quickly adopted her weekly review process and checklist that is now a must-do habit to structure my week for success. Then Covid happened and Danika actually accelerated her seed of an idea due to the pandemic because she knew it could help so much of her community during this time. I can say I was all in and felt so nourishing, then I left for a month without attending classes, and I’ve noticed such a difference. It’s like my soul had atrophied a bit. I’m back and attending her Monday Motivation and Inner Nurturing Thursdays. Her Wednesday Evening Wind Down classes have been known to have a few dance parties in them.
I love how she compares it to a “fitness membership for your spirit and soul.” There are a variety of classes each week that offer a completely new “soul workout” to develop micro habits, mental shifts, and positive practices that can lead to major change. And the tools on the site help you track your own daily self-care checklist that includes [optional] things like movement, journaling, visioning, nature, rest, and many more ideas and inspiration.
Most of all, the community she has created is one of the most loving and supportive. Take a class with Danika specifically and you’ll see her unique, refreshing approach to self-care. Check out Self Care Society
These platforms have energized me, helped structure my remote work and my day, while also taking care of my mental health during this time.
Do you have any critical tools or platforms that have saved your sanity during these times? Share them in the comments. I’d love to explore your go-to recommendations.