Today’s post continues our discussion on making time for creativity. There is really only one thing in the world in which there is true equality and that is TIME. We all get to have 24 hours in a day – no less no more. The all important question is – What do you do with your 24 hours?

A good way to think of time is to pretend it is money.  Here are some things to think about….

  •  How do you spend your time?
  •  Are you thrifty with your time?
  • Do you squander your time?
  • Do you have a savings plan?
  • Who steals your time – or rather – who do you allow to steal your time?

Now of course we all lead busy lives and so we often find ourselves far too busy to get our creativity out of the back pocket, dust it off and see what it looks like.

pocket 1

Why is it do you think that you can’t find the time to be creative? I can hear the million and one excuses (no apology for the word) bubbling into your head right now. The simple truth is that if you are not being creative it is because you are choosing not to be. It is not because you don’t have the time, rather it is because other things have a higher priority for you, and that is OK – you just need to acknowledge it, allow it to be what it is and not beat yourself up about it.

If it is not OK with you then you need to sit down and do a time map. How do you do this. Beginning NOW, and for the next week make a note of all the activities you do in a week and how long you spend on each one. MOST IMPORTANT! Please include things like Time spent –

  • Chatting with friends
  • Chatting on the phone or to the neighbour over the back fence
  • Hanging out or doing washing • Answering emails!!!!!!
  • Work work
  • Preparing meals
  • Showering etc. etc. etc…… you get the idea.

WHY is it important or even useful to do this? When you make time to do this little exercise you can then see over the course of the week where most of your time goes and look at how some of those activities might be condensed or even eliminated. Then build yourself a list of all these activities and prioritize them into 4 categories –

  •  Things that Have To Be Done – ie. Meal preparation, work – work, cleaning house/garden – weekly or daily repeatables etc
  • Things I’d like to do if I had time
  • Creative Time
  • Everything else

I can tell you that in all likelihood, your creative time will be quite minimal unless you have really dedicated your life to your art. It might be interesting for example to compare how much time you spend answering emails and browsing the internet, to how much time you spend creating – that could look quite scary. I don’t know about you, but I really struggle with my INBOX. It eats up way too much of my time and when it gets like 50 unanswered emails and I don’t have time to get to them – it’s a clunky rock I carry around in my subconscious all day or even for several days until I can get to it. This uses up my precious energy and creates a cycle of depletion. So what is to be done?

There are a million and one time management systems out there and guess what -NONE OF THEM WORK until you recognize that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS TIME MANAGEMENT. WE CAN ONLY MANAGE OURSELVES. If you really DO want to be creative and are currently overwhelmed by your life, then there is only one thing you CAN do. You MUST set aside a space of time somewhere in your week that is for your creativity. THIS TIME SLOT MUST BE NON NEGOTIABLE in terms of your availability for other things, people etc. The biggest temptation will be to do things like – have a coffee with a friend in this space because “there is no where else in the week and you haven’t seen them for ages. ” Or similar things. As soon as you begin allowing this erosion of your precious creative time, pretty soon it will be all filled up with other things and you will be wondering why you can’t seem to get your painting or creative project finished.

This Week’s Question: What time will you put aside for your creativity every week, beginning this week?

Next week look for: Exhibitions – Letting your work go.