Invent Some Balance

Set aside daily time for creating, pondering business aspects, even visualization by April Mitchell


LIFE AS AN INVENTOR can be a difficult balance.
When you are passionate about what you do, taking a break or turning things “off ” can be difficult. I have struggled with this.

It is wise to try to establish and maintain a balance to enjoy everyday life with your family. Some suggestions:

Set a routine
I have found that establishing a routine can be of immense help. Yes, you never know when genius will strike, so always have a notebook on hand or a notes section on your phone ready to go. It is important to set aside daily time to work on your projects or inventions. Many inventors and designers have full-time jobs doing other things; inventing is a hobby for them, a hope or
dream to become a full-time job down the road. Put that time you scheduled with yourself on your calendar as if setting a meeting with someone else. If time allows, do this a couple times a day. This should be considered as important as meeting with any other person. You wouldn’t stand up someone else or double-book a meeting, so respect yourself enough to show up for your daily meeting. I have seen many inventors struggle with this.

Part of a good routine is having time set aside not just for creating but also the business side of things like research, filing provisional patent applications, connecting with people on LinkedIn, contacting and calling companies, follow-ups, etc. We need to think about our goal—and if that is to get our inventions or designs into retail, we need dedicated time to do all the business stuff.

Because I enjoy creating, I often negotiate or bargain with myself and have to get a certain amount of emails sent out or do things I’m not as excited about before working on a more fun part of a project or starting a new one. I make my list of “to dos” and then rate them in terms of importance and time sensitivity. I try to do the top things on my list before the more fun and creative things.

Make time for nothing
Having scheduled “nothing” time to let our minds wander is extremely important. The moment we wake up and right before we go to bed is the best time to tap into our subconsciousness, which I have found to help with creativity. Find out what time of day works best for you when you feel most in touch with your creativity, as well as a place where you feel inspired or creative and set time aside daily to think, dream, and create. During the early morning and right before I go to bed, I also like to do some visualizations where I “see” my products and feel the emotions I would feel when I see my inventions on store shelves. I see each one of my products in the store as I “walk” through the aisles. Studies have shown that our brain often does not distinguish real from Imaginary—and this is a powerful tool. When we repeat the same visualization over and over, we are engraining it into our memory to seal in the experience. This can also help you believe in yourself and feel empowered. What a great way to get ready for success!

“You wouldn’t stand up someone else or double-book a meeting, so respect yourself enough to show up for your daily meeting.”

Buddy up!
As excited as you are about your inventions, it’s thoughtful to remember that not everyone else is as excited. A great solution—so your friends and family don’t run from you when they see you head their way—is to find a friend who shares your excitement about inventing. This is a person you can talk with about your projects, check in on and vice versa, and cheer each other on. Your buddy doesn’t have to live nearby. Having someone to do online meetings with works great, too!


Recharge by taking a break
It’s important to take a break from projects and enjoy the rest of what the world has to offer. Get outside; move your body; go on an adventure; try something new; spend quality time with loved ones. Interestingly, during or after this little break I often find myself very inspired to create, or a problem I had on a project now seems to have a clear answer. If this occurs, I recommend quickly jotting down some notes and/or doing a quick sketch or two so you can come back to the idea when you have time. Get your year off to a great start by trying some of these tips to aid in your balancing act.