7 Ways to Find Creative Time

Work. Commute. Housework. Laundry. Food. Exercise. Wash and repeat. 

Our everyday lives are a great recipe for burn out. We do what we have to do, then vegetate in a stupor in front of an electronic device to recover just so we can do it again the next day. That’s why the entertainment business is booming.

However, people were not meant to live this way. Most of us sense it, but even if we find the courage to explore our intuition, we don’t know what to do about it. If we dig too deep, we may find out that our actions are not in line with our identities. Maybe we aren’t meant to just be consumers. Maybe we are meant for more. Scary thought. 

An all-or-nothing mentality toward creative endeavors can leave us feel bereft during times without projects. However, shorter and more frequent creative times can actually prevent burnout and promote healing.

I think people are meant to serve and produce. Love people and be creative. Of course, if the majority of people spent the majority of our off-work hours doing just that, the entertainment and probably a few other industries would take a major hit. Yet, many people yearn to be creative. Maybe it’s woodworking, crocheting, drawing, painting, gardening, the end is limitless. As a culture, we’ve defined these activities as hobbies. Yet there is something about them that soothes our soul because they unlock our creativity and allow us to produce something of value. 

If you are looking for ways to find time for a creative outlet, either as a hobby or as a side hustle, here are seven.

  1. Steal time. You have 168 hours in a week. That means you have 672 15-minute increments. You can’t make more time. If you wait until you have more time or until you make time, you’ll be waiting forever. Forget that strategy. Start stealing it instead. Fifteen minutes here and a half hour there add up over the course of a week. Steal time while dinner is cooking. Set timers. Use your wait times creatively. 
  2. Stop wasting time. Create a new habit and a creative routine. The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg is a great resource. Examine what takes your time that you don’t need to do. Why vacuum daily? Why dust more than a couple times a year? What bad habits do you have that need to be replaced. It’s been shown quitting bad habits is effective when bad habits are replaced with good habits. Need to reduce your social media addiction? Use your device to write or draw instead. Go to the garage and use the power tools. Go outside and paint.
  3. Anchor your creativity to a strongly in-grained habit. Try doodling while you brush your teeth. Or during your lunch hour. Practice your music for 20 minutes after you get home from work. Use your current habits for even more benefit. 
  4. Consider meals and snack time, especially if you stay home with children. After meals is great for stealing time for a creative endeavor. Waiting for water to boil, jot down a few words or dash down an idea. Done cleaning up after dinner? Pull out the art supplies or sewing machine or head to the garage.
  5. Reconsider entertainment. Do you really need to be entertained all the time? Vegging out feels good sometimes, but it isn’t necessary for all our downtime. Productive creativity can be more relaxing and more healing. 
  6. Commit to creating. Be intentional about your creativity. Plan for it. Make goals. Write them down, with the deadlines. Because a goal without a deadline is a dream. Communicate your goals. Let others keep you accountable.
  7. Include your family and friends. Have a family art night once a week. Invite your friends over to paint. Plan a write-in at a coffee shop. If you have a need, you aren’t alone, even if you feel isolated. Tell others about what you want. Step out of your comfort zone and orgazine the darn thing. Others will join you. Do not be discouraged if it takes multiple attempts. I’ve organized many activities, events and groups. It takes at least three tries before a new activity becomes habit for people. Or maybe they just don’t take something seriously if it is a one-off thing. Whatever your activity, don’t give up until you’ve tried at least four or five times. There really are others who will appreciate your effort and will eventually show up.
Landscape architects and gardeners at the Dallas Arboretum use their creativity and inspire the creativity of others.

Many writers and entrepreneurs make their dreams come true by giving up sleep and family time. Sacrificing a bit of sleep in the short term to achieve a long-term dream is probably a worthy endeavor. However, losing family time may create relationship wounds. Use caution when sacrificing time with children in particular. All that said, using your creativity productively is healing in many ways. To quote Nike: Just Do It.

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