Warning: I’m about to burst your bubble.
But it’s time someone told you the truth:
“Not having enough time” is no longer a valid excuse for not chasing after your dreams.
And I know, you’re thinking – “But Ashlei! That’s not fair! I really don’t have enough time. I work ALL the time. There’s always something I need to take care of at home, and if I ever have “down time” I’m usually too exhausted to do anything and just use the time to recharge before what’s bound to be another crazy day. And please don’t even get me started on what little social life I’m trying to keep together. It’s sad, to say the least.”
Yup, I’ve heard it all before – I used to tell myself the same thing.
But here’s a fact we all keep denying:
Time is a level playing field.
Yes we lead different lives, but we all get the same 24 hours in a day, and it’s up to us to determine what to do with that time.
Each of us have our own unique mix of work, family, financial commitments, sleep requirements, physical and emotional space for creating, and – most importantly – the ability and willingness to prioritize creativity in the mix.
People you see as creative are that way because they make time for creativity.
Everyone does it in their own way, so if being creative is important to you it’s your job to figure out how to add it to your own mix.
Find Balance & Create Space
I believe living a creative life is all about balance.
And the key to finding balance is creating space, and in order to create space you must simplify.
Let me ask you a question – Do you have a calendar that’s jam-packed because you hate to say no? Or maybe you’re working a job just to pay the bills you’ve gathered due to credit card debt?
::Raises hand:: I’ve done both.
I’ve crammed my schedule to the point of bursting because I believed it would push me further.
The problem, however, was when I had time to be creative I struggled. I either was too exhausted or my mind wasn’t fully there because I was worried about all the other things I had going on.
Over time I’ve learned creativity needs space. It needs intention and it needs purpose.
Whether you want to write more, paint more, sing, take a calligraphy class, or start a blog, you need open space to do so.
Imagine you and your creative ability are in a romantic relationship. You don’t want a hit it and quit it or “friends with benefits” type of situation. Good things rarely come out those.
Nope, you have to woo your creativity – buy it flowers, take it out to dinner, introduce it to your friends and family. This relationship is for the long haul.
You’ve got to fully commit.
3 Steps to Creating More Space & Committing to Your Creativity
Just like any relationship, you’ll find it’s very hard to commit when you’re too busy attending to other “things” like an overbooked schedule or past-due credit card bills.
So here are three steps to creating more time and space for your creativity.
1. Be Aware
In order to create space you need to become aware of how you’re already spending your time.
By paying attention you’ll form a clear picture of the mix of essential and unecessary activities that shape your day.
Really take notice of what you’re doing during spots of downtime – how are you spending your time in the morning before going to work? What about when you get home? How about during lunch breaks or while you’re commuting? What do you tend to fill your time with on the weekends?
Once you become aware of your relationship with time, and realize it’s made of a dozen large and small choices you make every day, you can evaluate if you wish to continue your path or start creating a new one.
2. Say NO
After becoming aware of how you use your time, the next step is to start simplifying and opening space for your creativity.
If unleashing your creative self is really what you want, then honor that and say no to things that won’t serve you in your new direction.
Say no to happy hours and late night partying, no to new shoes or the must-have bag, no to binge-watching Orange Is The New Black or falling down the black hole of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other hot social media platform.
You don’t have to say no forever, but start showing your creativity you’re ready to take this relationship seriously.
3. Discipline Yourself
Many of us think discipline and creativity are on opposite ends of the spectrum, but when you think about it – they go hand in hand.
Discipline is what breeds skill and expertise.
Think of all the big time creatives you know and admire – I guarantee you they didn’t get there by waiting around for a creative spark to hit them. They disciplined themselves to make time and space to create regardless if they were feeling the magical pull of creative inspiration or not.
We Are Not Given Time to Create – We Take It
Here’s the honest truth – something as creative beings we must learn to accept:
When you decide to create the universe does not say “Oh you want to write/paint/draw/sing? Let me clear your schedule for 3hrs every day so you can bring forth your ideas.”
As much as we wish that would happen, it just doesn’t work that way.
It’s up to you.
You have to create the time and claim it.
Then hold on as if your very soul depended on it.