Serena of @sirensfinds and I hosted a Q&A on Creative Challenges on Instagram the week of September 5, 2016. On the third day, we talked about How to Make Time. Our discussion is reproduced below.
Now we know we cannot actually make more hours in the day, but we try to help you figure out how to add creativity to a day that may already seem too busy. I learned about habit triggers from Leo Babuta of Zen Habits. This concept got me thinking that I do not need to expend the energy and recreate the wheel every day by deciding what to do and when. Using a trigger to just start my next daily habit, now my days flow more like water. This took many days of making mistakes and stumbling around trying to figure out what schedule works best. But this is a process everyone must go through to see what works best for themselves. For example, do you work best in the early morning quiet right after your coffee or tea? You may not know til you really try it. I found my assumptions about myself were rather off-base. Maybe you work best at the end of your day when you are trying to relax after dinner. Creating can help you relax. But ultimately, keeping your creative time to a reasonable amount of time 10-30 minutes a day is the best way to make time every day or rather fit this newfound activity into an open time slot (or one that could be used a bit more productively than watching cat videos on Facebook).
How to Make a Time
Kathleen...Serena and I talked earlier about How to Get Started by deciding to use just 10-30 minutes out of your day on building your creative habit. Make your creative challenge a habit by doing it at the same time each day at least in the beginning. Use an already existing habit as a trigger. Build it into your daily routine. For example, after I drink my morning coffee, I will work on my poetry for 20 minutes. As the habit becomes more established you might want to change the timing but in the beginning it helps to be a real taskmaster with yourself on this issue.
Serena...Try to find a time you devote to something unnecessary or unfulfilling and slowly add the better habit there. I started adding journaling into my after dinner time-a time I realized I would sit around and waste a good portion of the day-and it seemed like such a burden at first. Now it's specifically my brainstorm, practice, or challenge time, which makes it much easier to keep going. How do you make time for your projects, Kathleen?
Kathleen...In the beginning, I made time for making my daily fabric art squares by keeping it to 20 minutes a day and setting a timer on my iPhone for when to go into the studio. To keep it to 20 minutes, I needed to have decisions already made like what fabric to use and what design parameters for my series. Keep it simple. Keep it short.
Kathleen...Serena, I love your idea of using your after dinner time when you realized that time was ready for an upgrade. You are very honest about that it can be an adjustment when you first start too.
From Jessi…I already try to do a little of my projects every day, but I’m not sure if it’s enough time. Any tips for that?
Kathleen...I would ask, do you feel challenged? Do you find yourself daydreaming about your next day on your project? If the answer is no, you may consider making a change by adding more time each day or adding in an additional creative challenge. When my daily improv fabric art square became relatively easy to do, I added in another creative challenge in 2016 of writing a weekly article for my website blog. This writing commitment still scares me a little bit. This is where the word challenge comes up. The goal is to push yourself a bit beyond your comfort zone to make it exciting but not too far where you will not even start. Think about what you really want out of this creative project. Oh the mind games we play with ourselves to get work done.
Serena...It's difficult to determine how much time is enough time but ask yourself a few questions. Am I seeing any progress? Am I getting to my goals? When I finish my timeslot, does it feel like I've done something? If most of those answers are yes, then you're spending a good amount of time. If there are more no's, bump up your time by five minutes day by day (or week by week) until you get more yes's on your side.
Let the conversation continue.
Ask any questions you have about adding more consistent creative time in to your schedule. It truly is a form of mediation. Some people have trouble sitting to meditate. A moving meditation that focusses on creative activity could be the answer you have been looking for.
Find Serena @sirensfinds on Instagram and firstname.lastname@example.org for email. Her website and blog are at sirensfinds.com.
Find Kathleen @blueskyquilter on Instagram and email@example.com for email. My website and blog are at kathleenwarrenstudio.com.