Maura Chanz on Focus, Motivation, and Creative Careers
At Freedom, we love our users – not just because they use our product, but because they’re cool – cool people working on cool stuff. Academy Award-nominated screenwriters, best-selling authors, editors, developers, cartoonists, star TV actors, academic researchers, explorers, and entrepreneurs – the Freedom community is packed with curious, creative, and efficient go-getters. We love to share their stories and advice, because how better to learn about productivity than from the productive?
Meet Maura Chanz.
Named one of 21-ninety’s “dream-chasing girl bosses you need to follow,” Maura Chanz is a creative with a rare ability to connect with all audiences. Known for her unapologetic attitude and can-do spirit, women of all ages recognize Maura as a woman to watch and follow. She is an actress, multi-disciplinary artist, writer, entrepreneur and champion for several causes, most of them aimed at equal rights and inspiring young women to live unapologetically and reach their full potential.
Today, Maura can be found in the city of Los Angeles creating for herself and others. She is the CEO of her own self-named creative agency and the founder of TRIBE, a women’s empowerment organization dedicated to reigniting the spirit of tribal community amongst women of the African diaspora and beyond.
So this week we sat down with Maura to find out how someone who wears so many hats finds the time and focus to do it all.
How did you become the creative, entrepreneur, and writer that you are today? What were some of the steps you took along the way?
I became the creative, entrepreneur, and writer that I am today by simply doing. I’ve had a diverse range of creative endeavors for as long as I can remember. The biggest step I took was self-educating and releasing work. By doing the aforementioned, I was able to begin being paid to do the work I wanted for others, which ultimately enables me to be able to do more work for myself.
What advice would you offer less experienced creatives – especially in regard to staying productive, motivated, and focused?
The advice I would offer less experienced creatives is to find motivation. When I hit blocks, I’ll search for writing prompts, find new tutorials, etc…force yourself to create. Like any industry, creative careers take skill, and to enhance a skill, you must practice.
When/where are you most productive? Do you have a routine/ritual that gets you into your most productive state?
I am most productive when I have a lengthy to-do list. When my to-dos are filled, I don’t have any idle time to waste so I don’t allow myself to drop balls. When I have less to do, I also feel I have more time, which ultimately makes me lazy. I have discovered a routine that gets me into my most productive state:
- Schedule a Freedom session to block social from 10/11 pm – 9/10 am
- Wake up between 5:30-6:00 am
- Eat breakfast, journal, reflect, and leisurely read until 7 am
- Check/reply emails 30-60min
- Work uninterrupted until 10 am
- I schedule sessions depending on how long I think a task on my to-do list requires and allow 30-60 minutes of social media access between tasks
At what point did you realize that tech/apps/sites were taking a toll on your productivity and time? Or, when did you know that you had to do something about it?
I realized tech sites were taking a toll on my productivity and time when I found myself pushing passion projects back on my calendar and realizing I spent 2-3 hrs per night aimlessly scrolling (similar to how people watch tv).
What excites you most about what you do?
What excited me most about being a professional creative is that I get paid for MY ideas. People trust my mind and imagination and compensate me for that, it’s amazing really.
What resources or tools do you use daily and have found most beneficial to your working process?
Aside from Freedom, I love using Do Not Disturb feature on my phone. Additionally, I use a Grammarly and Boomerang Plugin which helps with my grammar when I’m typing quickly and scheduling emails, respectively.
What project are you currently most excited about?
I’m currently most excited about my passion projects. I am re-launching my women’s organization YouNeedTribe (youneedtribe across social), finishing re-writes for my first feature film, and developing my first pilot. I absolutely love entertainment, but community is my passion. I’m using my love for entertainment to grow my following and influence to ultimately help other women through the TRIBE community.
How do you find a balance between being connected and overwhelmed?
I’m still looking for balance. It’s especially difficult as 99% of my work is done on a digital device. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.
What do you do outside of your work routine that helps you stay productive?
As I primarily use Freedom to block social, this is going to sound ironic, but I follow really successful people. When I see them accomplishing things or launching new projects, etc. that motivates me to go be more productive.
To learn more about Maura or her work, you can visit her site at MauraChanz.com or follow her at @maurachanz.