Busy is a word which most people can identify with- if not at this exact point in your life you’ll surely remember a time when you felt really busy and like every minute was being squeezed from your day. In our modern society of ‘do-do-do’, it can be hard to make time to nurture your creativity, or pursue other passions. Those projects and hobbies just get pushed back to ‘one day’, and before you know it weeks, months or even years have passed!
Since adding baby three to our family, my own sense of busy has stepped up a gear, especially in those first weeks when there was always a small person attached to or sleeping on me! Although I might dream of shutting myself in a quiet room and being able to paint, sew or weave uninterrupted, that is far from my reality right now. Throughout the day there is usually someone needing me for something- be that Phoebe wanting to do a project, Simeon wanting food, or Amelia needing a nap- so I usually have to be patient and know that my creative times will be later on. But I have been learning over the last few years ways to embrace my creativity even when the windows of time to do so seem small.
This might seem a little backwards especially if you can already think of lots of neglected things you want to find more time for- but it will help with some of the other steps below. Knowing what’s at your core, what is the most important thing to you helps you to keep other priorities and requests for time in line.
Are your key values simplicity, family, friends? Creativity, faith, food, work, health? Fitness, honesty, learning?
For me, faith, family, creativity, growth, fun are amongst the things I would list, or come up at the top. When I get distracted by other things I can centre back to those things and reorientate myself, knowing that those are my priorities.
Identify what your passions are.
It’s really easy to think of all the projects and ideas that have been sat on that to-do list for far too long, but what really makes your heart full? What things make you feel like you’re living to your full potential, creatively, personally and in any other ways? For so long I jumped from project to project but never invested enough time in one thing to truly enjoy it. Once I stopped trying to tick things off my list, and started painting just because I could, I found a whole new passion and interest which relaxed and invigorated me at the same time.
Did you love to write stories at school? Have you got a camera collecting dust? What childhood joys make you smile at the memory of a passion that has since dropped by the wayside? Your creativity might not be artistic, as such- it might be cooking, reading, home decor or writing.
This is a hard one- but a very necessary step. I have created some really bad habits for myself in the past which ate up time which I could be spending investing in being creative, or simply resting rather than mindlessly doing something easy.
Where in your day could you reclaim even five minutes to put towards pursuing a passion which is currently being sidelined? Can you check social media less often? When you sit back and think about it- which would you rather do, watch another episode of that TV show or invest some time in something you love? Simplify your meals, wake up a little earlier, or go to bed a little earlier with a long-forgotten book.
We can already have pockets of time in our week without recognising them- do you drive to work, or get the bus somewhere regularly? Use that time to listen to a podcast about your passion, or to read a book rather than automatically doing what you normally do. Linger over and invest more in an everyday task, like cooking, and spend time actively creating something delicious to eat. Sketch whilst the kettle boils, doodle mindlessly when you’re on the phone, crochet whilst watching TV. Once you look for little moments, you’ll find more and more of them.
I have some really fond memories from the last eighteen months or so of time spent at the table, painting and drawing together with my preschooler, then toddler. I don’t always do some of ‘my’ painting, and if I do I may only get five minutes to do so, but those small bursts of time help the momentum going and keep filling up my creative tank.
Create a regular creative habit
Creating a habit is a hard but really important part of making time for your passions. Once you have the habit of using five minutes for things that you love, it’s much easier to keep going with that momentum. Or breaking bad habits can help free up time for these activities. I used to always long to find time to do a big creative project, to get through the stacks of paper and paint that I had stashed away but the reality was that I was out of the habit. If I tried to sit down and be creative, or write, I felt lost and a bit stuck.
Using challenges or prompts can help with daily tasks to start getting that creative momentum back, and once you’re in the habit it’s hard to stop! Commit to one sketch, or one row, or one photo a day. Something small, achievable. The satisfaction of doing something regularly keeps creativity flowing. Pursue your passions in those spare moments and you’ll love the difference it makes.
Recognise the creating you’re already doing
Chances are, creativity is a part of your life already without you even noticing. Just by stopping to notice the times you doodle in a margin, draw on the pavement with chalk with a child, the way you arrange something artistically in your home or even choose your clothes, you can nurture that sense of creativity and inspiration. Creating is a part of us all through our daily lives, whether we consider ourselves to be particularly artistic or not. By recognising the creating you partake in everyday, this should spur you on to choose creative habits when you have free time.