How Do You Make Time for Creativity?
Is your life pulling you in multiple directions and yet you want more time to spend on creative projects and hobbies? I get that. I’ve been sharing how I make time for creativity in my upside down, topsy turvy life. If you want to catch up, read How Would You Use More Time? and An Update on Time Savings.
I want to keep the learning going by sharing what I’m trying and helpful resources I discover.
Those who know me know that I’m juggling a lot on an average week between work, home, volunteering, exercise (never enough), relaxation and social time. This includes family caregiving needs that require their own form of creativity to help our loved one and navigate a mind-boggling complex maze of social services and healthcare programs.
- Side note: If you are a fellow family caregiver, here’s a shoutout. I’d like to win a big lottery windfall and start a non-profit that focuses on providing family caregivers the tangible emotional, financial and time support they need and deserve.
Even with all of that, I still continue to focus on time swaps to preserve space for my writing and crafting hobbies. I’ve updated my Making Time worksheet I use to think through priorities and how I will make time for creativity. I turned this into a Word file for those who prefer to type. There’s a blank page and then a sample with my latest planning.
I recently discovered the work of Rory Vaden. He’s not a champion of traditional time management methods. He has two valuable ideas I want to pass along to help as you work on make time for creativity.
Helpful Idea: Time Multipliers
Vaden examines people who embrace what are known as “time multipliers.” This involves spending time on things today that create more time in the future.
A personal example is when I finally took the time last year to set up electronic autopay for almost everything and auto-reconciling of our bank statements. I forgot to time how long this took but I’m guessing maybe an hour or two at most. I’m now saving at least 30 minutes a week. Added up over a year, that one item equals at least 30 hours saved. That’s a multiplier. (I was excited to see that Vaden shares this very example in his work.)
Another example involves medication management for a family member. I used to spend 30-60 minutes setting up a complicated pill regiment for the week. When I lamented the process during yet another med switch, her physician mentioned the miracle known as weekly pill packs. I hadn’t heard of these! The meds are sorted and pre-packaged so you just pop out what is needed at a particular time. This did involve an upfront time investment in working with a pharmacy that does pill packs and the first several weeks were not 100% smooth as we all got a routine down. But now my med management is quick, more stress-free and, importantly, more accurate and safe for my family member.
Helpful Idea: Focus Funnels
Related to multipliers, Vaden shows how multiplier thinkers go about their thought process. They constantly ask whether an activity can be eliminated, automated or delegated. He also recommends a 2-minute test on sorting activities. If you can eliminate, automate or delegate in 2 minutes, do it now. Otherwise, move it to later. His belief is that this keeps us focused on the activities that will have significant impact right now. He calls this “procrastinating on purpose.”
Behind this is the idea that the need for a “later” task might change by the time you return to it, thus saving you the possibility that you would have wasted time tackling it earlier. And it also is about creating permission to ignore things that won’t matter today. You keep putting it through the funnel until you either tackle it because it now matters or you eliminate, automate or delegate.
Overall, this is my thought process, even though I didn’t know it had a name until reading Vaden’s work. I don’t use the 2-minute sort as he describes, however, but plan to give it a try.
- Harvard Business Review article, Time Management Won’t Save You, about wastes and the impact on our creativity and energy
- Procrastinate on Purpose book page by author Rory Vaden, which includes a link to his 18-minute TedxTalk about how to multiply your time
- RescueTime Blog post, How to make more time: The superpower of “time multipliers” (and how to use them)
So, how about it for you? What art and creative pursuits bring you joy? Do you already use multiplier and focus funnel thinking, whether you knew to call it that? How do these approaches help you make time for those creative activities, or what potential do you see?
I’d love to hear examples. Post a comment or send me a message!
Jennifer, You are becoming a true guru on time!
Thanks, Mary. I can’t do the things I enjoy otherwise!
I’m with Mary – thank you!
I just finished a 2 minute sort that actually turned to three but well worth it – organization is a key obstacle for me.
That’s great! I’m working to use the sort idea more consistently, too. It’s about trying to make it a habit, isn’t it? The categories of eliminate, delegate or automate are very helpful.