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.

Remember our mind map from last week? What you need to do now is, prioritize all of the things you listed on your mind map.  Here’s a suggestion of how you might do that  – the easiest  way might be to do another mind map – like this, which is based on Stephen Covey’s four quadrant time management system however I’ve slightly changed these divisions to include a section for tasks that might be delegated.

 

Making Time For Creativity

Making Time For Creativity

So now you need to look at all your tasks and manage yourself into time slots for them. Decide how much time a week you want to allocate to your creativity etc.

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.Yikes!!

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.

Doing this exercise can be quite a wake up call as to how much priority we really place on our Creativity.  Whatever the outcome I think the trick is to recognize where we are really at and if this is where we really want to be and take it from there.

This Weeks Question: Have you done your mind map yet?

Creativity Myth #3

“I love being creative, I just can’t seem to find the time.”

Time is a funny thing wouldn’t you agree. It seems to be elastic, invisibly stretchy.  Some days seem to contain so much more time than others.  The old saying  ‘Time flies when you’re having fun’ has a lot of wisdom in it.

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?

Are you playing

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 so often find ourselves far too busy to get our creativity out of the back pocket, dust it off and see what it looks like. 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  – well what to do about that ?  See next week’s post for some ideas on how to tackle this.

This Weeks Question: What is one thing you could do this week to make some new creative time for yourself.  It doesn’t have to be big – tiny steps…….

 

 

I was listening to a talk on time management, By Rich Schefren, this morning and was struck by something he said. He was speaking about procrastination and discussing the way some people find it hard to stick to a time table. He suggested that you write a list of fun things that you would love to do and then schedule them into your week. The idea behind this is that there is a two fold benefit:

  • One is that you get to have more fun in your life and of course when you are having fun, you often find that your creativity  kicks in. This is because you are not focusing on the problem and thus allowing the subconscious mind to find solutions for you.
  • The other benefit is that you work more efficiently as you now have less time to get your activities done in.  Also once you begin using this strategy on a regular basis , you become eager to get through your work load so you can get to the fun.  That’s not to say that you don’t enjoy  your work, but this adds another dimension to your life.

Sometimes we can snatch an hour here or there. I love to take photos and the other week after work instead of going home, I felt called to the beach 5 minutes down the road, so I went – and had great fun.  Here are the results-

Umina Beach

Before The Storm

Swan Song

Swan Song

Ebb Tide - sea foam on the beach

Ebb Tide

To assist you in thinking about these ideas a little more, here are some questions you might ask yourself-

  • If you are currently engaged in creative work are you really enjoying it?  If not what can you do about this?
  • Is there a particular part of your work that you find especially enjoyable and would it be possible to do more of this and less of something else?
  • Do you have fun at work and what are your feelings around that?  Is fun even allowed in your workplace?  Some businesses frown upon it – little realizing that this is one of the gateways to tapping into people’s creativity.
  • Have you any hobbies or leisure activities that you love to do? Are you doing them?
  • When was the last time you took a day off and spent all of it having fun? Did you feel just a little bit guilty about that?
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