Creativity Obstacles to happiness Tools for life improvement

No time for your creative projects? Try this! 

no time-text

Being in the creative flow, painting, playing the guitar,  crafting, or perhaps gardening, is really among the times you feel happiest. The problem is, you hardly ever find the time to do it these days.
You sometimes look at those long forgotten art supplies collecting dust on a shelf (or did you put them away in the attic?) and sigh. If you only had more time, you could do more of those things that you so love.

But adult life is too demanding, full of important chores. After working, commuting, taking care of kids, cooking, cleaning and all those other things that just need to be done, there’s no time left for YOU, and for the things you dream about creating.

But what if I told you there are at least 100 hours (that’s 2 ½ weeks “fulltime”!) available this year that you could spend on your creative projects – without falling behind one bit on your chores. Would you like to have them if I gave them to you?

What “not enough time” really means

Adult life IS demanding, and almost everyone who “used to be creative” falls into the no-time-to-do-what-I-love-trap, if not sooner so at least when they get children. And if you ever had a baby, you know that the feeling of not having a minute to spare can be totally true.

For most of us, however, the truth is a bit trickier. What it really means when we are saying that we don’t have time to do one thing or the other is that we’re not giving it priority. 

I once read advice from a stress management coach claiming that we should never  say “I didn’t have time to do X” But instead say “I have been making other priorities.”

Why does this make a difference? Because how much time we have is out of our control (as a matter of fact we all have 24 hours/day and 365 days/year), but how we decide to use our time IS, at least to some extent, in our control.

 

The problem is just that it’s much more comfortable to say or think that we don’t have the time, since speaking about priorities makes it all OUR responsibility. But if you think about it once more, it also gives you power.

So how do you give creativity priority?

First of all, I would like to ask you what you DO “have time for” right now. Do you have time to watch TV? To hang out on Facebook? To play games on your phone?

When you start paying attention, you might be surprised to find that you spend several hours every day on these activities. Now please forgive me for dropping this bomb, but

2 hours a day spent on FB, TV etc. equals 4 ½ MONTHS a year “fulltime” as in a 40 hour workweek!

And while this is not a bad thing in itself – after all we do need to relax  – it does become a problem if it’s preventing you from doing something you really, deeply care about, namely CREATING.

So am I saying you should quit Facebook & co all together? Not at all. I would just like to suggest that you spend some time with your creativity FIRST. Because if you’re anything like me, once you’ve opened that blue-white FB page, or turned on the TV, before you know it those 2 hours have passed and it’s time to go to bed.

The thing is, we tend to over-estimate how much time we need to dive into our creative projects. The truth is,

 even spending as little as 5 minutes a day with your creative project will make a difference, because it will keep you connected to your heart. 

So here are your simple instructions:

 

  1. Decide which creative project you would like to make a priority in the upcoming week (paint that painting you’ve been dreaming about for months, or learn to play a new song on the guitar?)
  2.  Make sure you have the stuff you need to do it – and put it in a place where it’s easy to reach  (paper, pencils, yarn…?)
  3. When you have that time slot when you usually sink down in front of the telly or with your computer to relax… Set a timer for 15 minutes, and turn to your project instead. When the 15 minutes are through, decide if you want to continue for another 15 minutes, or if you rather get on Facebook.
  4. When the week is through, see how far these almost 2 hours have brought you, and decide if you want to continue with this project for another week, or if you’d rather start a new one.
  5. Repeat every week for one year, and you will have spent well over 100 hours – those 2 ½ weeks I promised you in the beginning– on your creative projects. Kind of cool, huh?

 

We are all different, and for some people 15 minutes is simply  too short a time frame to get into something. If this is you, try to put aside one full hour two times a week instead, or 30 minutes every other day.  Experiment to see what works best for you!

Did you just get a little bit nervous?

Realizing that we actually can do something we have been dreaming about but felt was impossible can be scary. Because knowing what to do and actually DOING it are two totally different things.

If you feel that something is mysteriously stopping you from making your creative project a priority, I’d love to help you find out what that is – and how to free yourself from it.

In my  coaching programs I help people to deal with the nasty stuff stopping them from doing the things they care about so they can live happy, fulfilling lives instead of stressful and half-hearted ones. To learn more, and book a free consultative  session, go HERE

Over to you

Do you think this idea can work for you? Why or why not? What is your best trick to actually get your creative stuff done?  What do you want to create during those 2 ½ weeks you just got? Please share your thoughts in the comments –  I’d love to hear what you think!

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11 Comments

  1. Oh i love the way you have approached this subject….this twist and re-frame is so spacious and enlightening.
    I am a creativity convert and eventually did make time at the age of 40 ( albeit in baby Kaizen steps) to pursue creativity that lights me up… then look what happened!…it’s become my passionate work!!!
    Such a useful list of suggestions… great post x
    Lisa McLoughlin recently posted…Vulnerability hangover sucks!My Profile

    • Thankyou so much; Lisa! As it’s said, every journey begins with one step 🙂 & It’s amazing to see where your baby steps have brought you 🙂

  2. Wow that 2 hours / 4 and a half months is really something isn’t it? It does make you think. I’m not a TV watcher – I would rather read, knit or potter. But I have been trying out recently working on something specific for 20 minutes and have been amazed at how much difference that can make. It is astonishing what you can achieve when you focus a butterfly brain like mine and how quickly that can build up into a body of work. I have been using this 20 minutes for ‘work’ though. I’m now inspired to try it on my more creative projects. Thanks Ann-Sofi!
    Rosemarie recently posted…Creating SEO friendly page titlesMy Profile

    • Yeah, I was kind of shocked when I did the math!
      “Butterfly brain” – such a great expression 🙂 I will adopt that! Glad to hear you already discovered the magic of setting a time to focus – I also use it all the time, for all different kinds of things. It’s also very useful for things you tend to resist (typically paying bills or such, for me.) Thinking I don’t have to do it until “done” but just until the timer rings makes it much easier to get started 🙂

      Wish you good luck with your creative projects – have fun! 🙂

  3. I love this idea in both its simplicity but also how liberating it is. The idea of (re)claiming time but doing it in manageable chunks feels really achievable. Great article Ann-Sofi! Matt
    Matt recently posted…Help! I feel so jealous of my friends’ ‘perfect’ livesMy Profile

    • Thankyou Matt! Yeah, we always can find 15 minutes, right? I’m always surprised what a difference it can make for my day if I just take those few minutes sitting down by the piano for example 🙂

  4. Really, really love this post. I have taken it to heart over the weekend and got up a little earlier than usual to finish sewing a skirt – obviously I made sure that I was awake enough that I didn’t sew over my hand! I also got out a sketch pad and have left it lying around for those moments when I’m waiting for the kettle to boil or other people to get shoes and coats on. It’s reminded me that these creative interludes – 10 minutes here, 15 there are very satisfying and I can get a lot done in that time. Thank- you for such a useful and inspiring post.
    Dawn recently posted…Using your laptop with less strainMy Profile

    • That’s wonderful to hear, Dawn! (and glad you didn’t hurt yourself in those early morning hours 😉 ) Thankyou so much for taking the time to come back and report back, it really made me very happy to hear about your creative weekend!

  5. Dear Ann-Sofi I really needed this post and as I was reading it I was thinking ‘Yes Yes how true’ . I do have art materials gathering dust and my poor piano is totally untouched for the past month – I was doing well practising every day and then someone commented that I have been playing the same thing for a long time and guess what happened? Yes, I stopped playing totally. How sad that I allowed someone’s negative comment to block my creativity. They don’t even play the piano! so I have now decided to play again for 15 minutes every day this week.

    thanks for a great post and for getting me back on track

    love Kate
    Kate wilson recently posted…Being hereMy Profile

  6. Hi Ann-Sofi

    OMG you have totally blown my “Facebook addiction”! Maybe I’ll be brave enough to start timing how long I spend on the site 🙂

    One thing I’ve learned with self-employment is how easy it is for work time to seep over into play time and before you know it your evening has disappeared. (Can you tell I don’t have a partner or kids?!)

    I’m trying to stop working at a set time so that I actually allow myself the time for other projects. Now I have a template, I’ll just have to figure out what to start with 🙂

    Thank you. x
    Kate Bacon recently posted…What you might unconsciously be doing that’s sabotaging your marketingMy Profile

  7. Well, I’ll tell you how I got back to writing. Loaned my tv to one of my students, it died on him, and he changed locations very suddently thereafter :-). Then I got robbed of my computer…and am saving the money to buy another one. That did the trick. Now I write every night.

    O.

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