unyoked founders
Credit: Supplied

The days are slowly but surely rolling on as we work and create from our homes. Whether it be on the lounge, dining table, bed or for the lucky ones, a home office, the will to stay inspired day-to-day is a guessing game. Though it is okay to have days when it all seems too hard, we hope to fill the void, even just for a few fleeting minutes of this article. In a fresh series, ICON speaks with industry creatives – be it music, style, dance, writing, or even social media – on how to stay inspired during self-isolation. And hopefully a handful of tips for you, the reader, on the way.

For Unyoked founders and brothers Chris and Cam Grant, self-isolation is considered a lifestyle rather than a current necessity. Long before the pandemic, these two creatives were erecting tiny homes across the New South Wales and Victorian rural countryside, in a bid to get city slickers out of the 9-5 rat race. So what’s their secret to life lived in the slow(er) lane?

ICON: Can you explain what your work entails, day-to-day?

Unyoked: As startup founders it’s sometimes like a choose-your-own-adventure each day, only you’re not the one making the choices. Each day can change a bunch depending what we’ve got in our pipeline from being out in the wilderness assessing new cabin locations or doing a whiteboard session with our team on a cool initiative we’re working on, to choosing the font type for salt and pepper shakers. It’s pretty broad!

How has your daily routine changed since lockdown?

U: Apart from not travelling to and from the office, or catching up with friends after work, we’ve kept things relatively similar. Coffee meetings in the AM are still going on, only via Hangouts, still getting some training in, only in the backyard, and a few cold beverages are getting put back, only on through FaceTime. We’ve been pretty lucky!

What are three items you have with you whilst you work?

Pen/paper (let’s cheat and call that 1), something caffeinated, music.

How are you staying creative during this time? Where do you look for inspiration?

With the COVID-19 travel restrictions impacting our business it’s been a bit tricker to de-stress, but we try and remember to step back, disconnect and just let your mind wander from time to time. Things like just going for a swim, or a walk or just listening to music for a while. It’s hard to remind yourself but not thinking is a key part to thinking and we try break our days up where we can with that in mind. R.E. inspiration, I actually love looking at the restaurant industry, there’s so much creativity that goes into the prep of the food but also the whole dining experience, so I nerd out on Chef’s Table sometimes and then go down a rabbit hole from there. The Grant Achatz episode is a favourite to get the juices going.

Do you have any advice for people struggling with the transition of working from home?

The main thing would be, you don’t have to replicate the office. Try and think about what works and what doesn’t work for you and do what feels right. The whole 9-to-5, sitting-at-the-desk-because-everyone-else-is approach is such B.S., no-one really works well or creatively in that way, but feel it out, break your day up, and add a little bit of doing-nothing in there for good measure.

You can read Part 4 with Montblanc Creative Director, Zaim Kamal, here.