How To Make Time For Creativity

A man takes photos of the sunset and fog over the central Bosnian town of Zenica on the Smetovi mountain range Do you ever feel like you can’t make time for the things you really want to pursue? Good. I was hoping I wasn’t the only one.

Even as I sit here on my couch, typing away on my MacBook Pro, I’ve found myself distracted by a commencement speech video on Facebook, another blogger’s website, and of course, my iPhone.

Distractions can become time-vampires and along with the added weight of obligations or commitments, these things begin to eat away at our valuable time like a bad Twilight saga.

Hi! My name is Overcommitment. It’s nice to meet you!

I have a problem with saying “no”. I overcommit myself. I feel bad if I tell someone I can’t do something. This can present a problem for creatives (I sometimes enjoy throwing myself in that category, even if I may not feel like it most days) as we feel we can take on the world one task sandwich at a time.

We find ourselves trying to tackle so many things at once or so many things during a regular week that the things we’re personally passionate about get pushed to the wayside. Because of that, we often have feelings of insecurity. Insecurity that tells us we’re not good enough to do the things we want to do. Insecurity that may tell us we cannot complete something our heart desires. You get the idea.

There comes a time when you will have to simply say “no”. That doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad friend or coworker. It just means you’re trying to avoid pulling out all your luscious hair. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Let that last sentence sink in for a moment.

Make time for what matters most.

“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club” – Jack London

So how in the world do we make time for creativity? It’s actually quite simple. Here are just a couple of things that I’ve found work for me. I understand everyone may have different opinions or different approaches, so please take the following advice with an open mind.

1) Replace something unnecessary with something necessary.

For me this was television shows. I got rid of cable television almost a year ago. I used to spend so much time watching TV shows that were doing nothing to better myself as a person. I can recall countless hours spent wasting away in front of the boob tube. I won’t lie, I still have one show that I watch on regular programming, but it’s only once a week, for one hour. Now my goal, even after a year, has been to replace that television time with reading. I feel that reading keeps our minds active and helps us become more knowledgeable or even more creative. What is something you could replace?

2) Find the will to make the time.

Do you enjoy writing, video editing, photography, graphic design, blogging, et cetera? Whatever it is that you enjoy doing, but keep putting off, you must make time for it. When, during the day, are you most aware and productive? Some people find themselves most aware in the early morning. If that’s you, can you sacrifice 30 or so minutes of sleep to tackle those creative ideas? I think you can, but you have to think you can.

For me, I am indubitably, undoubtedly, without question not a morning person. Give me at least two hours to wake up to be able to function in society. Talk to me before that two-hour time frame and you might find yourself getting punched in the throat. The time in which I feel I’m most creative is in the afternoon and that works for me. Once you find that time that works for you, do whatever you possibly can to be productive during that time frame. If you have to sacrifice sleep, do it. If you have to sacrifice an hour of playing Xbox, do it. Whatever it is, make time for what matters.

“In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking.” – John Lubbock

Finding time to be creative presents itself as a difficult task; however, if you want something bad enough, you’ll make it happen. I challenge you this week to find just 30 minutes out of the entire week to be creative. Do you love to paint? Head on over to Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, buy a canvas, and slap some paint on there. Do you love to shoot photos? Grab your iPhone or Android (or Razr, if you’re one of those) and snap a picture of a classic car or the flowers in your yard. Then just get creative with whatever it is that you’re doing or making. You’ll be amazed at how wonderful you feel knowing you accomplished this goal.

How will you make time for creativity this week? What are some tricks you use to inspire yourself? Share with me in the comments below!