HOW TO MAKE TIME FOR A BIG CREATIVE PROJECT.
How many times have you thought to yourself - I really must make a start on writing that book? Or, if only I had time to make a lovely blanket for my friends birthday?
Creative projects are often the things that get pushed to the side in favour of our day-to-day tasks, the things we dream about doing, the things we wistfully wish we had more time for.
It doesn't have to be that way.
The truth is that most progress is made one tiny bit at a time. We can't write a whole novel in one glorious uninterrupted burst. Most of us can't block out a whole week to work on only one dream project without stopping to do all of the mundane, everyday things that fill our time. There will always be work and washing and time with our loved ones that make us push back from starting our creative passion projects.
But by taking a tiny proactive step each day, a project can slowly but steadily grow into reality.
Assess your current routine.
Looking at your average daily routine should encourage you to question where your energy peaks and troughs, when your efficiency is highest, and any little pockets of time that are getting wasted regularly:
You might notice that you tend to feel low on energy early afternoon/evening. Not an ideal time to be working on anything, creative or otherwise. Instead, can you do something proactive to recharge? A quick nap, meditation, breath of fresh air will help you work more productively; helping you get the boring stuff done quicker and leaving more time for your creative project.
You might notice that you open up your phone first thing every morning - and waste 30 minutes scrolling without purpose. How about using that pocket of time to plan for your creative project? Can you make a note on the scene you want to write for your 1000 daily words? Can you lay out the colours of yarn you need for your daily crochet rows?
You might notice that you've been sucked into watching a tv series every evening that no longer really interests you. If you're spending more time on your phone than paying attention, you're not gaining anything from that time. Put some music on instead and get to work on your creative project.
Set realistic goals.
A good goal can make all the difference when it comes to really staying the course with a project and not quitting when things feel tough. It should be specific and achievable and something you can feel excited about. Imagine yourself reaching that goal and fill yourself up on the magic of your end outcome.
You might set a goal that specifies a certain level of completeness for a project:
'I will write the first draft of a novel, with 50,000 words.' (achievable, because I'm not suggesting I finish and publish a complete and perfect novel.)
'I will make a crochet blanket, with 60 rows.' (specific, because I'm not deciding to make a blanket of indeterminate - and potentially never-ending - size.)
Once you've set your goal, break it down into a manageable, regular task.
Consistency is key here, so don't make something so difficult and draining that you burn out and can't keep up after a week.
'I will write 1000 words a day.'
'I will add three rows a day to my crochet blanket.'
(if you are making a daily commitment, you might schedule a couple of free days every week to ease up on yourself, or catch up for any missed days.)
Commit to shaping your time in a way that matters.
We are all guilty of wasting time and energy on the things that don't fill up our souls.
Nobody looks back on their lives and wishes they'd watched a little more Netflix, or spent more hours scrolling Facebook. But you might look back and wish you'd made time to have a go at those creative dreams.
Once you've assessed the weak spots in your routine, you should be able to work out where you can sneak in that little pocket of creativity. Seize that wasted time for yourself and dig into a passion project that will fill up your soul.
Keep your end goal in mind, but really focus on those smaller, more consistent steps. Every time you can sit down to finish your daily 1000 words (or whatever) is a small victory - a little bit chipped off the task that seemed enormous before you started.