One of the questions I’m asked most of is about my time. How do you fit it all in? Do you sleep? I was actually asked that twice in the last three days. It comes up a lot, so I thought I would share some thoughts on time and how I spend mine.
First of all, if it looks like I fit it all in, like I get everything done that I want to get done, and like I always have it together, I can assure you that I don’t. As with anyone else, I have things that slip through the cracks, things that fall into the black hole of procrastination, good intentions that are forgotten, and things that languish on my to-do list. There are times I feel frustrated with the limitation of time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to Jeff that I wish I could just press the pause button on the things that need to be done, so I can have unhurried time focusing on the things I want to do. But, there is no magic pause button on life, as we all well know.
So, we have to learn to make time for the things that are important to us. For me, having creative time is a crucial part of self-care. It’s heart work, soul work, and essential work for me. But, I have to fit that time in around all of the other demands of family and work. I think so many people, especially women (that’s just my opinion), have a hard time calling creative work essential. And creative work doesn’t just mean art. It can be music, photography, research, drawing, painting, sculpting, sewing, knitting, dancing, gardening, baking, writing, designing, coding, foraging, hiking… It can be whatever lights you up and fills your tank. It gets ideas flowing, keeps your horizons expanding, and makes you a better you.
If this blog post is anything, it’s the encouragement to make time in your life for creative work if you don’t already. It’s a permission slip to take some field trips, take some classes, or take some time that might feel selfish with everything else that’s on your plate.
I have a lot on my plate personally and professionally, but I have to make sure I allow myself time to do creative work that isn’t about profit, it isn’t meeting a deadline, and it’s not for a client. It’s just for my own enjoyment, enrichment, and growth. And often, something more comes out of that time whether it’s new ideas or just momentum to carry me into my next big work project.
If you’re struggling to make time for your own passion projects and creative works, I’d like to offer up a few suggestions…
make it a priority
That doesn’t mean you neglect things that need to be done, but maybe it’s okay if you let the cleaning slip one weekend or you order takeout so you have a little more time to work on something. Maybe it’s setting time limits so you don’t spend too much time on your phone. Maybe it means giving up some time in front of the TV or getting up just a little bit earlier or staying up a little later. Sometimes I get lost in my studio after everyone else is in bed and it’s glorious.
make a space for it
You can read a lot more about this in the free chapter of Feels Like Home, but it’s important to have a space for your creative work. It’s great if it can be in a room with a door that can be closed, but it might just be a little corner of a room, a work surface, a closet. It can be small and simple, but when you have an inviting creative space, it draws you in, making it easier to steal away 10-15 minutes to spend on your creative work.
just do something
There are times when the house is quiet and it’s the perfect time for me to create. I’ll walk into my studio, a head full of plans, and then I find myself standing there for several minutes, uncertain of what to do. Do I want to paint? Draw? Read? What medium do I want to use? What artist do I want to study? There are too many options and I am paralyzed by the buffet of choices. In that case, I just start doing something. Most of the time I start tidying up. My studio is rarely a disaster, but I can end up with supplies, papers, notebooks, and books sitting out. If I start tidying, I inevitably end up doing something. Last weekend, I was cleaning my studio and ended up binding two books that evening!
take your creative work seriously
This doesn’t mean it has to be a business or a business that grows to be an empire. This just means you don’t shrug it off and belittle your own endeavors. You embrace where you are in the journey whether you’re just starting out or you’re an expert. You invest in learning and growing, whether it’s in books, classes, or simply practice. And you can do it all without any specific end goal. You’re just doing it for your heart and the joy is found in the middle of the process, not the arrival.
I hope these are just the words you needed to hear today.
I hope you don’t look at people who do creative work for a living and think your work is somehow unimportant in comparison. We were all made in the image of our Creator and made to find joy in creating.
What is it that you want to make time for?