Finding Time To Create
I’m often asked, “When do you find time to get so much creative work done?” The funny thing is, I don’t think I‘m that prolific at all. I’m a married, sports-watching, bibliophile who has a full-time job, and loves a good night’s sleep. Hardly the personification of hustle.
But I have learned an important lesson. Diving into something fully is not the drop of water that turns the meniscus holding our lives together into a cup runneth over. No, getting things done isn’t about doing more, it’s about doing less, more purposefully.
It’s about severing 7 legs of your mind’s spider to become a pogo-stick of creation, (yes, sometimes, hopping to who knows where, but that’s ok!).
So how do we do it?
Cracking The Creative Cadence
Compartmentalizing has long been a tool of anyone with many hats. Call it batching, buckets, or bubbles, we have to figure out how to dive in for a while and then change directions, because you are not sitting in a Panamanian villa working on your manuscript for the next 6 months. (Well are you?! Do tell!)
For artists whose creations are not their sole employ (like me), the question of prioritizing is always front and center.
To deal with that, I’ve broken down my waking, non-life sustaining, moments into the 7 C’s.
Contract - The work you’re being paid to do (whether employed or self-employed)
Create - Doing the thing your artist heart wants to do.
Consume - Reading articles, scrolling through IG, watching videos
Connect - Linkedin, networking, spending time with family/friends
Catch Up - Personal emails, texting
Cardio - Exercise
Chill - Watching TV, reading a book for fun, napping, wondering how flat-earthers reconcile face-timing at night with someone on the other side of the world in daylight, etc.
Do some of these blend into each other? Sure. But that’s not the point. The point is, you get to prioritize most of the C’s other than, perhaps, “contract.”
Like a crazed chemist, I’ve been messing around with my percentages for a while. On days when I’m doing too much "consuming" or "catch up" I feel off, guilty, or insecure.
I fight like hell to start my day with:
What am I contracted to do, and what do I want to create? Everything cascades from there.
If your interactions with your to-do list feel like a knife fight each morning, try first approaching your day with the buckets you want to prioritize and see where your time goes. You won’t ever do all the things your brain tells you you “should” be doing. That’s because your brain is a neurotic kid in a candy store; it’s hard to take it seriously when it’s enamored with both, safety and shiny objects.
So you have to wrangle this paradox. The short of it is, if you have more than three priorities, you have none.
“When do I find time to get stuff done?” I say. “When I’m not hanging out with you, of course.”
Intentional time to repeatedly create is always high on my list. Even just 60 minutes of output is more useful than 3 weeks of wondering.