Creative Space: Petra Gana

Creative Space: Petra Gana

What is your ideal work routine? What does a good day look like?

My ideal work routine (at least in this quarantine) would be me starting work after lunch and ending before dinner. I’ve also been having around three meetings a day for the past few weeks, which I’ve gotten used to! I know it’s important to give yourself space to think, but I actually feel the most productive when I interact with people and facilitate discussions. My work focuses on the development of more internal processes and systems for our studio, so my output tends to be more intangible.

A good day for me is a day where I have all my tasks checked off while still having enough personal time to cook, draw, watch a film, or learn something new. From a work perspective, I feel validated when I know I’m helping people (and our projects) progress. On a more personal note, I feel like having small wins for yourself (in this climate! haha) is necessary and keeps you motivated. Planning a photo project or Youtubing a new recipe keeps me excited for the next day.

What does your space look like? How do you make it personal?

To be honest, my physical space isn’t that personalized. Since I sleep in a room with my parents, “my room” serves as more of a common space for all three of us (note: it has a refrigerator).

I actually planned to renovate my room ever since my sister moved out but it’s been postponed because of the ECQ. Right now, I’ve done small things to make the space more my own. I’ve added plants to my room, a small couch (made by a friend), and a mirror in front of my desk. I feel like it’s weird to say that I like looking at my reflection, but I feel like it keeps me aware of myself and helps me focus on the present when I work.

What activities help you get into the "flow"?

I love the idea of productive procrastination so I usually watch YouTube videos to warm my brain up. Recently I’ve been gravitating to videos on spaces (Never Too Small, 一条Yit) or food (Dianxi Xiaoge, or anything from the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen team) but anything is actually fair game for me to check out and watch.

Once I feel like I’ve learned or accomplished something outside of my “work”, I feel more inclined to dive in and focus. 

I guess this is me also craving for balance? But at the same time, a gateway to procrastination (haha).

For days when you lack drive/motivation, how do you get unstuck?

Recently, cooking has really been helping me get into the flow. I think taking a break from the constant conversations (with others and in my own head), helps me clear out my mind and keep it open for newer ideas. I feel like creating something simple that can make you and your family happy helps boost your confidence to take on harder challenges. Creating something good, in whatever form, I feel is a healing practice.

I realized I usually think of concepts or ideas when I’m not sitting in front of my desk. I get unstuck when I’m doing a totally unrelated activity (like taking a shower) or consuming unrelated media that inspires me to find parallels.

What drives you to do your work? What are you trying to change?

The two driving factors for my work are the team I work with and our shared vision. It sounds cheesy but I’m motivated by opportunities to help people and empower them to act. I love the people I work with, and seeing them fulfilled and able to pursue their passions is a strong fuel for me. I’m also pushed to work hard for our studio dreams — especially because we’re shifting into a new direction and our goals are more ambitious.

In terms of things I’d like to change about myself and my work ethic, I would want to give myself more room to breathe.

I’m obsessed with increasing the volume of tasks accomplished, but I know that isn’t healthy too. I want to train myself to be more self-aware and more intentional in everything I do and say.

Story and photos by Petra Gana
To learn more, follow her on Instagram and see her work
at And A Half's website.


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