After posting last week’s blog post about Creativity and Choice, someone commented that they are feeling called to create but lack the time to fulfill that yearning.
While I now have the privilege of devoting the bulk of my time to being professionally creative, there were times when I felt the deep longing to create without the time to express it. It is an uncomfortable place to be in. If you have a calling to create but are low on time, please beware to not silence the yearning - it often costs us more to quiet a call than to answer one. Whenever I don’t have enough time to express myself creatively, I get a tight, frustrated feeling that I usually and unfortunately pass along to my family members. I can get ugly.
If your creativity is calling and you are pressed for time, try making an inventory of everything you do. Ask yourself how is your time accounted for?
Our time can be divided into three categories - “Things we have to do”, “Things we should do or tend to do”, and “Free Time.”
What things do you absolutely need to do? These are things like work, paying bills, caring for loved ones, and sleep. (I don’t recommend carving into sleep unless absolutely necessary.)
Next, what are the things that you feel like you should do or the things that you tend to do? This is where there might be some wiggle room. For instance, like me, you might clean your house less frequently. For me, living in a dusty house means more time to make. On the other hand, maybe you can employ help in cleaning. Just because you are the one that usually cleans your toilets doesn’t mean you have to always be the one. Children and partners can share in the workload around the house.
If you're the one mainly responsible for cooking dinner every night, could someone else take a turn, even if that someone is delivery, to free up an hour a week of your time? Or share in cleaning up?
If you are caring for small children or elderly parents, could you swap babysitting or caretaking with another creative to free up 2 hours a week?
In my experience, I felt like I did a lot, most, of the caretaking, cooking, and cleaning for many years, and recently, I’ve unloaded a lot of that on my husband. It has taken time to adjust, but if I hadn’t, I never would have known that he is an amazing cook, he’s more responsive to the laundry buzzer than I ever was, and he can clean a mean toilet. In return, I have more time and energy for creativity. I am so thankful for all of the work he does because I know what it allows me to do. Okay, enough about the work distribution in our house.
Finally, what does your free time look like - if any? What could be shifted? Maybe you give up a night of socializing, a night of TV, or spend less time on your phone. I know that one thing that I have been giving up is exercising, which isn’t a good thing. I have managed to cut out exercising, reading, and meditation from my daily routine, and I am working on getting them back in. It’s truly hard to to do everything all the time. I do think it’s helpful to be gentle with ourselves. We can’t do it all at once. It can be helpful to think about what is most important right now and try focusing on doing that for a month.
After auditing your time, locate where you can carve out some time for your creativity - even if it is a half hour a week. Doing your work consistently will build up over time until a period in your life when there will hopefully be more time. I also recommend carrying a small sketchbook or notebook with you everywhere to jot ideas and sketches, or record your thoughts on your phone’s voice recorder while you are driving, or jot down notes on your app while you're standing in line. If you are lucky enough to commute on public transportation (winking here), you can write, draw, crochet, knit, or plan while you commute. I find that when I would work publicly it would brighten others’ days and would often spark conversation. Who knows maybe your crocheting on a train will inspire someone else to make something. Creativity can be contagious!
At the very least go to bed thinking and dreaming about your creative project, visualize it, get excited for it. This is my very favorite way to fall asleep. Hope this helps! Let me know what strategies for making time for your creativity you use.
PS I am currently developing a workbook to help structure your creative project so that you can manifest your dream project! Stay-tuned for it debuting later this month. I am really excited!!!
Hey Artist, Writers, and Makers
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.