As children are back to school and routine is restored, October brings an air of normality.
But do you find you have more time to pursue your creativity or less?
Anything that brings us joy is usually a treat. It’s something special that we look forward to. A box of chocolates, a massage, watching our favourite film, going for a meal with friends, a nice bottle of wine with a loved one, a book curled up in bed, a long soak in a bubble bath, a duvet day with your pet.
All moments of joy.
Some you’ll share with others, some will be time just for you and you alone.
Writing is one of those such moments for me.
Your creativity may come in the form of painting but It’s still much needed you time. A time dedicated to doing the one thing that brings you joy!
People or things will always compete for that time we’ve reserved for our pockets of joy. I call these – Time Takers.
Time Takers aren’t always people, they come in all sorts of disguises, but all have one thing in common, they need you, but you don’t need them.
They can be jobs that need doing, places you have to go to, commitments you don’t need, want or enjoy.
Feel free to make your own list, as this will be invaluable in taking that time back in the future. Here are some examples to kick start you off:
• Your boss asks you to do over time.
• Your partner wants you to entertain their friends.
• The dog needs a walk.
• The school needs a volunteer.
• Family is coming to visit.
• There’s a course you must take.
• A friend wants a gossip.
• Email & Social Media notifications keep going off.
• Your Sister needs a babysitter.
• Your Dad needs help with the gardening.
• Your Mum needs a lift to the hospital.
• The housework/decorating needs doing.
All feel they urgently need attending to, and all are worthy, loving acts, but you don’t have to be the one who attends to them all, all the time.
Doing too much can feel like you’re being stretched beyond your limit, and this scattering of time and attention, anywhere and everywhere, can result in you going nowhere and doing nothing fast.
It’s about learning to say ‘No’ without feeling guilty or upsetting people, and like anything else, it gets a lot easier the more you practice saying it.
We need to practice saying ‘No’ more often to others, and stop saying ‘No’ to ourselves and our creativity.
The problem isn’t not having time, but how much time you choose to use on your creativity, with the time that you do have.
We should never neglect or underestimate the importance of time for ourselves and our creative pursuits.
Self expression releases tension and negativity and helps us to relax and feel free to be our true selves.
Book that time in your diary now, at least an hour a day to indulge in creativity.
Let friends and family know this is YOUR precious time to create, and you need to be left alone in peace and quiet, in your own space.
You could be daydreaming, conjuring up ideas, not necessarily physically creating anything.
The point is everyone including you, needs to respect this time.
I write about U Time in my first parenting book The Confident Parents’ Guide to Raising a Happy Healthy and Successful Child, it was vital for me as a mumpreneur, to have this time for me every day.
It’s not a luxury- it’s a necessity!
If you’re interested in hearing more about U Time and you don’t have the time to read, you can now put your feet up and listen to the audio book on Audible and iTunes.
Writing is my U Time treat.
I could choose to use that U Time to do something else, like binge watch a box set on TV, but that wouldn’t bring me as much joy as creating my own.
So, if you want to be a writer / painter/ dancer/ musician / crafter/ knitter /culinary creative /candle maker….. use your precious U Time to do it!
Looking at my writing practice as something that I choose to do for me, helps me to appreciate and understand it for the real joy it is.
When I view this time as precious, I can’t sit there, staring at a blank screen swearing at myself for not writing enough words. I simply sit there and appreciate the time I’m affording myself to do so.
Yes, I have an intention to write an article/blog/book, always, but if that’s not writing itself today, I’m still going to enjoy this time as part of my precious life.
I’m not going to waste my time.
It’s only a waste of time if I’m sat there angry and frustrated.
I may have quiet periods of contemplation but instead of berating myself for them, I ask myself;
‘What could I write about today just for the joy of it?’
If there was no pressure to achieve 1500 words today, what could I write about?
Could I channel my negative thoughts and emotions into my writing practice and write about my frustrations as they occur, in the moment?
I’m still writing, and those words and minutes will add up to U time well spent.
Every sentence is practice.
Every sentence is without restraint.
Try it yourself and you’ll find; every stroke of that paint is given life, every stitch will have a chance, every note exists in that moment, as all creativity, the good, the bad and the ugly, is being freed from within.
There’ll be no blank page, ball of wool or silence harassing you anymore, unless of course you want U time to reflect, think and daydream – and that’s all good too.
I know from coaching parents on making daily U Time a priority, that finding an hour is not easy for everyone.
I still don’t know exactly why that is, as we all have 24 hours in a day, but I’m constantly met with reasons why it’s impossible to do or excuses of why it won’t happen or work.
If you can’t find one hour in your day for you to enjoy your life, then your life needs looking at. You either need to plan your time better or get rid of unnecessary ‘Time Takers’.
You deserve your time more than anyone else.
That’s why its called ‘Your Time’ and not ‘Their Time.’
Creativity isn’t to be rushed but savoured.
If you’re writing a novel enjoy the story unfold in its own sweet time, get to love and know your characters so that ending the story is not the only goal. If you’re writing to get published and make money, and there’s a deadline, then you’ll have to pick up your pace to stay in the race. But writing for money, and writing to express your creativity, are two different things.
One will be about perfecting for others, while the other will be a messy out pouring of joy for you.
If you’re happy to write for enjoyment, with the possibility of getting published and maybe making some money, then your mind will be freer and your words will flow faster.
Being creative is an end goal in itself because it helps us to relax and feel free.
So why aren’t you?
Grab your notebook, pen, and a cuppa, and let’s see where you’re spending your time.
Where is your time going and what are you doing that’s more important than spending time on your creativity?
Try this simple exercise; make a list of all the things or people you spend your time on each day. Next to them, put how many minutes or hours you dedicate to each one.
Here’s a rough guide fill in the bank with the number of hours you use on each one or minutes.
- Sleeping – hours
- Work – hours
- Housework – hour
- Time with my children -hour
- Studying -hour
- Writing /Reading – hour
- Having a bath -hour
- Hobby – hour
- Watching TV / Social Media – hour
- Time with friends/partner – hour
It’s impossible to segment each activity/ person into a time slot, as our time usually interlinks with more than one.
This ‘Where Does Your Time Go?’ listing process, highlights time given to a particular person or purpose and physically shows how we do have enough hours, we just need to choose what we feel is important to do with them.
Physically seeing where most of our time is spent, and where time for creativity is lacking helps us to change how we use our time, making it easier to swap watching TV or social media for your creativities.
It’s not about finding more time to pursue creativities, It’s about finding time for you to do less.
It’s about being able to sit and gaze out the window at the world, while you have a coffee daydreaming or plotting.
It’s doing less of those unenjoyable things, so you can spend more time doing things you do enjoy. 🙂
Muma, keep Creating,