Home studio productivity tips from The Paper Beast

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Published:  November 13, 2015
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Freelancing from home, you’ll often find the lines between work, personal and play become so blurred that you might struggle to distinguish between the three. When work is home and home is work, how does one create a framework for productivity? Sometimes you have to not work, to get the work done. Productivity can come from the distractions, the procrastination, the time spent away from the desk.

Carla McRae, aka The Paper Beast and creative director of Odd Pears, shares her best tips for optimising productivity in the home studio.

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Carla McRae


Don’t make a coffee

I associate the taste and the ritual of making a coffee in my kitchen with starting the workday. Make a ‘Procras-Tea’, as I like to call it, instead.

Walk it off

Fresh air is totally underrated during the working week. The motivation to prise yourself from your work cocoon can be tough in a bitter Melbourne winter, but if you don’t leave soon, my friend, you may find your body involuntarily hurling itself out of your front door, shrieking.

Make a nice lunch

While you’re out on that walk, drop into the store and grab some fresh vegetables. I’m not very good at it, but I’ve found cooking to be a different form of exercising creativity or switching streams in my brain (while feeding it too!).

Yoga break

Checking in with the self, forcing the body to move, breathing and stretching have helped me to regain perspective and remember what is important. “I am not my work, productivity is not my worth.” This is my new mantra.

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Plant maintenance

Bringing the outside in has been great for my productivity. Though I can get on rolls where I neglect my plant friends for a week or so, which is not very cool. Take a moment to water, repot or admire their growth. Enjoy the ritual of this wholesome little distraction.

Book shopping

One of my favourite things to do. Places like Metropolis, Perimeter and World Food Books in Melbourne are amazing. Flicking through a few publications, smelling the paper and soaking up someone else’s output is sometimes all I need to reignite the excitement for my own projects!

List making

Not just ‘To Do’ lists. Make lists about everything. It’s more about purging thoughts and making them tangible. I find it really helpful for defragmenting the brain.

Solo impromptu dance party

Releases pressure and endorphins. Because what better kind of procrastination is there?

Listen to Carla’s procrastination mixtape right here.


Carla McRae is a Melbourne-based illustrator and designer, freelancing from her tiny home studio. When McRae isn’t working on commissions or playing creative director for sock company Odd Pears, she enjoys making artworks, creating small runs of zines and drawing all day.

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