Why do some of us struggle to find time for what we love doing the most? I’ve decided it was high time to create my personal best practices for time management.
For handmade artists, that’s passion for making things.
Artists thrive on creating.
Busy schedules and other parts of school life or running your own business can leave you with zero time to create.
Here are some tips for finding internal focus, devoting more time to what makes you happy.
And reconnecting with what makes you tick.
1. Make Making a Priority
Don’t let your life’s passion take the backseat! Without Passion what do we have?!
Set aside blocks of time on your calendar for just creating. Trust me when I say, it is entirely worth it.
Instead of trying to squeeze in creative time where you can, why not build your larger schedule around what you most enjoy?
Figure out what time of day you feel most creative and productive and carefully plan around it. If you have several creative tasks to undertake, you might want to consider using the Pomodoro method of managing time effectively with a timer. Block of 10 or 25 minutes to help you stay on track!
Personally, I manage my To Do lists in Trello and then use the Pomello app from the Chrome Store to control it via my laptop.
The ticking seems to make me more productive. If you do want some audio to help you focus, I recommend using Noisli.
2. Ditch the Guilt
If the above feels indulgent, consider the benefits that creativity has on the rest of your life.
Look at your creative outlets as necessary for stress relief.
For the restorative alone time, and for personal satisfaction.
After you do this, you’ll find it easier to carve out the time for the things and people you love.
Meditation is excellent for this. I recommend Headspace! With a clear head, you will find it much easier to study, and you may even find that you retain more of what you have read.
3. Take Advantage of Your Tendencies
When do you feel most inspired?
Keep a log of your mood and energy levels throughout the day.
Note when you feel the most creative and drawn to hands-on artistic work and note when you feel as though your brain could cope with studying. This way you can use that time to your full advantage.
The same technique can be applied to when you are most productive for whatever you hope to achieve in your day.
4. Develop a Routine
Once you’ve determined when you feel the most creative or when you feel that you could retain more information, it’s time to get serious.
Build a daily practice that makes the most of your peak creative windows, and do your best to commit to it. (An excellent mindfulness technique)
Get in the practice of doing something creative every day, even if all you can manage is a few moments. Doing so keeps your overall mood elevated and make the chances of retaining information much higher.
For example, knit a few rows over lunch or sketch during your commute.
So even on days where you aren’t able to commit to a larger routine, your creative work retains a place in your day.
5. Be Proactive
A common problem among workers today is a phenomenon that psychologists call “reactionary workflow,”.
Whereby we spend the majority of our working hours and energy reacting to external stimuli.
Instead of on projects we intentionally set out to do that are important to us.
“Rather than being proactive with our energy, we are acting in response to what is incoming,” writes Behance founder Scott Belsky in “Beware Reactionary Workflow” from the website 99U.
Dr LeeAnn Renninger recommends becoming aware of how you’re working throughout the day.
The Director of LifeLabs suggests taking five minutes each day to pause.
Check in with yourself and ask, “Am I working proactively or reactively right now?”
Then, take baby steps and devote more time to the proactive work which will leave you more fulfilled.
6. Eliminate Distractions
With today’s access to instant information and constant social sharing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
“Creative minds are exceedingly sensitive to the buzz and whir of the world around them,” writes Belsky in the book Manage Your Day.
“As these urgent demands tug us this way and that, it becomes increasingly difficult to find a centred space for creativity.”
If you find that you’re getting lost down an internet black hole, consider removing your computer or digital devices from your workspace.
Complete chores that could infringe on your designated creative time before you begin.
Streamline and push back other tasks that you’re less interested in.
This means you will have more time and energy to devote to creating.
Make use of Trello!
7. Accept That Being Creative Is Not Always Easy
Like any job, making art is hard work.
If you don’t expect it to feel easy, you may feel less discouraged on days that are especially challenging.
“I find I have to push myself, put my head down, and get to work,” Lisa says.
“It’s not always easy, but getting new work completed feels amazing.”
8. Cut Yourself Some Slack
Once you’ve found a routine that works, you can loosen the strings a bit. Janet Hill of Janet Hill Studio says she no longer pushes herself to the extreme.
“If I’m having a bad day creatively, I walk away from it and do something else and return to it fresh the next day,” she says.
Though structure and time management are key to the productivity, so too is the process of letting your creative mind wander.
Strauss says some of her best ideas strike when she’s out for a walk. “I don’t think an idea has ever come while sitting in my studio staring at a blank canvas,” she says.
9. Face Your Fear
If you try these steps and still have trouble prioritising your creative and study time, address what else may be holding your back.
Maybe it’s not lack of time but fear that holds you back. Fear of failure? What about fear of success?
Look your fear straight in the face and get to the bottom of it to make the path for more creative fulfilment.
10. Value Your Creative Work
Treat your creativity and the fruits of your labour as your most precious assets.
If you think of your creativity as your lifeblood, you’ll start to see it as a source of fuel for everything else that you do.
Let’s get connected!