What I’ve learnt about “fitting it all in”
One of the reasons I wanted to do the Everyday Creatives series is answer this really common question “how do people find the time to fit this all in?”. How is it that some people are able to fit ‘extras’ or hobbies into their lives? And maybe more importantly, is it worth it?
As someone who has overcommitted, worked myself too hard, been in very demanding roles and watched friends juggle family, career and ‘extras’, there are a few themes I think help answer this question. And this blog post is dedicated to those themes!
First of all, no one does it ‘all’.
Fitting your ‘everything’ in is firstly about getting really honest about what matters most to you. What will make the biggest difference to your satisfaction in life? And the prioritising that. People who make it work say “no” more regularly. If it isn’t a priority or a ‘hell yes’ then maybe you could take it out of your life? As hard as this might be to start with the rewards are well worth it. If you reviewed your last week, what is in there that you might say no to if you had your time again? I know this is hard, and we don’t want to let people down. But you need to figure out what is really valuable to you if you are going to make space and time for it.
A positive mindset is also key.
If you don’t think you can do it, then I am afraid to say you won’t. Doyon absolutely believe you don’t have time and can’t make it? Then you don’t and you can’t. Our perception creates the reality of the world we live in, so if you want more time to do things that really make you happy, look for that time and believe you will find it. You may be a mantra or affirmations type person, or maybe not. Regardless, believe that you an find the time to make creative expression, or anything really, a part of your life and it will happen.
Super Productive People Craft Habits
Small efforts done regularly are the secret of success. Firstly, these small efforts tally up to big results. Secondly, the more regularly we do something the easier it is for us to get up and do it.
So, how can you build a little ritual into your day? Our brains love routine and once we are into it they really do work for us. This might mean a morning routine that includes 30 minutes of writing/ painting/ sewing/ cooking/ styling/ (insert your creative passion here). You might work up to that 10 minutes at a time over a month. Or it could be something you do each Saturday.
The power of habits comes from the cues that tell you what you need to do next. For me getting up means I head to the kitchen to boil the jug and make warm water and lemon. I can do this in my sleep now because its become a habit. Saturday morning is a walk in the park with a friend. Again, it just happens (well, 80% of the time!).
What cues can you program into your day? Do you get home and go straight to your office/ sewing room/ dance room?
Eat the elephant one bite at a time.
Small efforts also relates to this next one. We all have lots of big, chunky goals that we want to achieve and creative pursuits are no different to other work or life goals. So, use your same approach and break down your goal into small pieces.
Thinking about writing novel is hugely intimidating. Where do you start? Thinking of a plot or a key character or writing a page each day is so much easier to get your head around and that makes you more likely to do it.
Once you have your small pieces, figure out a way to fit those pieces in. I often think ‘what can I do right now that will advance me towards my goal, just a bit?’. There is a great article on productive things you can do with just 15 minutes over at theeverygirl .
Clear your space
Interestingly, the first thing on this list on The Every Girl is declutter, which is my next point. Our stuff takes time, energy and focus. And that makes it harder to fit the good stuff in.
Clear out what you don’t need, get things tidy and try to keep it that way. Even in 5 minute bursts you can make a big difference here and if you can keep it that way everything will become so much easier.
I find it so hard to get clear on what needs to happen, or get started on that project when I can’t find what I need, or there is just clutter around. It could just be me, but I reckon give decluttering a go!
Ask for help.
I know this one is hard, but its so worth the effort of getting through the ickyness bit. It could be someone in your household to help with chores, outsourcing some of these, or asking your friends. Getting others involved either to helping clear the time or in your creative pursuit can also be a big winner. You don’t have to chose between time with the kids or friends and creating. You can get them involved!
The best for last
The ultimate one for me is to look after your health and wellbeing.
Energy is our best resource, or at least one of the top two (the other being time). I honestly believe that wellness is essential to creativity and a happy life, just as I believe creative expression is key to ultimate wellness.
Exercise, rest and healthy food helps you get the most out of life and helps you need less down time. When you have more energy and the ability to focus you also need less time to actually do what you want to do. So I encourage you to think about what you can do this week and next week to up the ante a bit on your personal wellness scale.
What never ceases to amaze me is how we all have 24 hours in a day and we are all so different in how we chose to use those minutes and hours. If you are anything like me, there are definitely times when your day and your schedule can drive you, and not the other way around. And letting that happen is a sure fire way to not have enough time to do the things that are really important to you and really add joy and happiness to your life. After all, life isn’t about taking out the trash on time, its all the amazing things we are, create or do in between trash days that really count.
Is your favourite strategy for making the time for the things you love here? If not, I would love to hear about your ‘secret sauce’ in the comments.