How Do You Carve out Time for Creativity

The clock is set to go off at 5:30am in our house. Some days, I hear the alarm, some days it never gets turned on.

Life is so full of commitments. They can pile up and suffocate you when you least expect it. We live in a world where time never ceases; it’s constantly on the go, as are we.

There is never enough hours in the day, and it feels as if we’re always racing against the face of time.

 

photo credit creative commons im elsewhere

Yet, the solution to finding more time is not stopping time itself, but something we have within our grasp with each minute and second of the day ahead.

 Each morning when I get up, I groan. I glare over at the bright red numbers that seem to mock me in the morning. I know if I don’t get up, I’ll lose my time to work on my latest fiction masterpiece. Otherwise, should I ignore the clock and go back to sleep another type of wake up call will come in an hour later and snuggle into bed beside me. My son has an internal alarm and it would seem no matter what time you allow him to stay up at night, he still is awake by 6:30am. Then by 7am the entire house begins to rouse for the day.

Rather than attempt to stop time, I’ve learned to move forward.

MAKE THE CLOCK EVOLVE AROUND YOU

Life is more than what happens at our day jobs between 9 and 5 everyday. Sure, we get up and go to work and come home to relax for the evenings. But does it make you happy? Or do you let the joy of your dreams get sucked out of you by the consistently depressing news on television each evening or reality tv that makes us feel as if our lives are supposed to be dreary and awful because everyone else lives that way.

When my children have activities in the evenings, I struggle to put aside the things I think I should be doing in order to take them to the places they need to go. Years ago, I decided rather than chomp at the bit of time; I’d go with the flow. If I couldn’t be at home to write, I’d take my writing with me. So while I sat at baseball practices, dance lessons, and scout meetings, I pulled out a small tablet and worked out the next scene of my novel or a short story, and sometimes just a list of ideas or plot points. Whatever I’m jotting down on that paper, moves me forward to completing the things I want to accomplish.

DON’T WAIT FOR THE RIGHT TIME TO COME

For almost a decade I sat with other mothers from infants through preschool age in about three different MOPS groups due to various moves our family had to make for my husband’s employment. I loved to sit and listen to the women’s dreams. All of them had something they wanted, whether it was a new house, a bigger car, a career they’d put on hold, or a trip to a distant place. All of them ended their vision with, “maybe when the kids get older.”

I’ve never been a patient person. I’m always in the “now” mode, much like a lot of children I know, mine included.

As time passes, life changes to a new stage, and we have little or less time than we did before. Our lives are swallowed up by commitments and obligations and we still can’t catch up with the appointed hour in which we wanted to do something.

YOU CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH AND BE IN SO MANY PLACES…

As a young mother, I felt torn between my children and my household obligations. My husband was working and going to school and I was left alone with a baby and toddler who couldn’t be left alone for a minute. I had groceries to buy, letters to mail, people to visit and help, and doctor appointments that I needed to keep. A quick flash of supermom dressed in a cape dissolved after many nights of staying up to do laundry and wash the dishes and try to get the sticky goo of who-knows-what from beneath the kitchen table.

If you struggle to find time to accomplish the day to day things, then take a moment to re-evaluate what you’re doing and if they’re necessary. Becoming burnt out from your job, your family, or your outside commitments isn’t going to open the storage units of time for you in the future.

Ask yourself what it is you want NOW, find a place for it, what are you willing to swap for the time to make it happen?

THREE WAYS TO CARVE TIME FOR YOUR CREATIVITY

1.    Create a schedule. Pull out a calendar and pick a block of time that doesn’t conflict with major daily events. It can be a 30 minutes or up to two hours. Maybe you can split the time in two different slots of the day or make an appointment with yourself once a week.

2.    Manage your tasks. Is there anyone else in your house that can help you do a few of the daily chores or is there someone else available now that is better suited to take over a commitment or two that you’ve had in a volunteer setting or group that would benefit both the organization and your time?

3.    Resist distraction. Say no when asked to do things during your time set aside for Creativity. Avoid internet if all possible to prevent from getting drawn into social media or mindless videos. Don’t answer the phone, unless you fear it might be an emergency. Put a sign on the door so your family knows when you’re in your creative time zone and when you’re able to focus on them.

Every morning, I get up around 5:30am, I don’t turn on my email, I don’ turn on any application on my computer except for my scrivener or MS Word. From that time until 7am, Mom is invisible (unless someone is bleeding or the house is on fire). My son brings me tea when he gets up at 6:30am. He doesn’t say a word. Just a hug and places the tea by my computer. Then at 7am, the timer goes off on the microwave in the kitchen and the time I’ve carved out for my creativity is gone. If I sleep in, or a child is sick, or something happens during that time that I get pulled away, the time is gone. I have to wait until tomorrow.

This schedule has served me well over the past few years. I’ve had to tweak it and prioritize my day, but I’ve managed to get my creativity on each morning.

What is the biggest struggle you encounter trying to carve out time in your day for your creativity?

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5 thoughts on “How Do You Carve out Time for Creativity

  1. Great post! I’m finding that scheduling my writing time is the only way I can fit it in. Too many schedules! Kids. Husband. Job. Sports. This list goes on but my manuscript doesn’t want to wait! Glad to know I’m not the only one. :)

  2. Time would be my deterrent also. I love the idea of blocking a chunk of time out. My problem is I have to be in the right mind frame and that is the part that cannot be scheduled. I too have started to travel with my ipad so I can write while sitting waiting for kids to come out of school or practice. I am trying to make better use of the time I do have. Great post and so much to think about.

    • Thanks inspiretheworld2day. I, too, struggled with getting myself in the right mindset when I had the time. I guess you could say I had to learn to train my brain and develop a habit of “this is my creative time.” Do you find that you have a certain time of day you’re more inspired?

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