Create Jobs Alumni, Cristina Conde, shares the life skills she's learnt in order to focus on wellbeing and being well

I recently participated in one of Create Jobs' Creativity Works programmes for Content Production. The course gave an incredible insight into the creative industry by offering the opportunity to interact with high-profile production houses, magazine editors, music video directors, producers, and so many more professionals. While this was amazing in and of itself, the programme also introduced me to an entire group of peers with similar goals and ambitions; we were all at a similar point in our careers but eager to pave our own ways. I had never been surrounded by so many creatives.

While the programme taught me a lot of technical, practical and employability skills (all of which I had never had access to before and took me on a memorable journey in the space of a few weeks that flew by), there was another aspect that was equally as valuable: life skills. The support from everyone along the way - all the participants, the programme organisers, and guests - kept reminding us of the same message, to check in with ourselves and always make sure our wellbeing came first.

Online it seems like every platform from Facebook to Instagram to Twitter is flooded with an influx of creative projects, everyone ploughing through their to-do lists, learning new skills and tackling this jarring thing called productivity. Of course, it’s always best to make the most of a situation, adapt, learn and thrive.

But, in this time of uncertainty, it’s hard to focus on all those goals you had in mind. Of course, it feels like now you have no excuse but to get ahead on all these things. At the same time, though, you should also be able to focus on you and what you need. Words that have never been spoken before: it’s okay to procrastinate. Now’s the time to take care of yourself and not feel guilty for not working on that book or editing that video.

That’s not to say you should fall into a deep slumber and hibernate until September but don’t drive yourself nuts trying to compete to get ahead on this productivity train. Establish a schedule to work on your goals and set aside time to do all those things that you considered procrastination only a few weeks ago - hitting up friends on FaceTime, playing video games, whatever it might be.

While on the programme, I learnt that putting yourself first isn’t always a negative, and more often than not you do need to be in the right frame of mind to be able to create to that level that you expect from yourself. Sometimes it’s okay to not be able to create. That life gets in the way and obstacles can stop you from reaching whatever goal you had in mind, whether it was finishing that project (or starting it at all) or getting that dream job.

At the risk of turning into a self-help guru, Creativity Works taught me that everyone has their own journeys. Comparing yourself to others will do no good - it’s a rookie mistake! - so focus on yourself. Do your best - not the best out of everyone else, but the best that you can do.There are ways to make this all more manageable but it’s also okay to give yourself permission to take a break. If you get that sudden burst of motivation, great! If you feel like binging a season of Netflix’s latest true crime documentary, cool.

Prioritising your wellbeing and focusing on yourself should be within the top three things on your to-do list! Sites like Blurt It Out do a daily check-in at 11am with the hashtag #blurtcheckingin on Instagram and Twitter. And there’s plenty more where that came from. With social media being at the core of so many pressures we face, especially as creatives, try to filter out the noise and look for the positives.

We’re facing uncharted territory and the creative industry as we know it is changing too so now’s the time to work on getting that balance, making sure you can tackle your objectives (whether they’re big or small) but also taking the time to focus on yourself.

Cristina is now a Production Assistant at Acamar Films. Connect with Cristina @tkatchenko_ & @crischenko.