How to find time to create

Are you someone that has personal interests and hobbies outside of your 9-5 job but struggle to find time to pursue and enjoy them?  If you found yourself nodding in agreement, then some of the personal steps I initially took and still use today, may equally help you to maximise your time.

FIVE HOURS

So if you read my previous blog “How I became an Artist,” you will already know that I am an Artist that also has a full-time job. Therefore time is extremely precious to me.  Since deciding that Art was a career that I wanted to actively pursue, the first step I took towards time organisation was literally calculating how many waking hours I had available each day, where I wasn't commuting/working or sleeping. And you guessed it. The magic number was five.  Sadly however, those five hours were for everything - cooking, cleaning, workouts, socialising and generally being a fully functioning adult. So how did I do it?

LONG & SHORT TERM GOALS

I cannot stress enough how crucial this was.  Overtime, I’m sure many of you will have found yourself saying phrases such as “I can’t believe we’re already in (insert month)” or, “it seemed like yesterday that it was New Year.”  Without often realising, we get caught up in the day to day hustle of life and you can find yourself wondering what exactly you have actually been doing over the course of said months. 

In order to try and combat this, I wrote down the 3 key things that I wanted to achieve over the duration of one year:

  1. To create a solid body of work
  2. Build a website to showcase my Art
  3. Exhibit for the first time at a show

Having listed these goals I was then able to work backwards and prioritise the order of which they needed to be completed.  So in my case, without the artwork, neither of the other two goals could be accomplished.  I therefore set myself a smaller and more obtainable short term goal. Each week (for a year) I was to create a finished article that I would post on to Instagram to help document my journey.  At this point, I feel I should highlight that for me personally, it was the smaller and more bitesized goal that helped to keep me motivated.  I’m a person that feeds off results, and as I slowly saw my portfolio grow week by week, I could begin to see self improvements by around 2-3 months.  Of course some pieces were stronger than others, but this repetition and discipline was helping to sharpen my skills and subconsciously work towards developing my own Artistic style.

For the readers: Write down three long term goals that you wish to achieve in a year. Prioritise the order you want to complete them in.  For your first goal, establish one consistent short-term goal that you will abide by, whether it be daily or weekly.

Early Acrylic portraits created after work.

TIME SAVING STEPS

So how did this all play into my five hours? 

As someone living on their own with little responsibility, I was lucky in that the free time I had available, I could manage solely to suit myself.  In order to save time over the course of the week, here are some key steps that I took.

  1. I planned my meals for the week and cooked in batch. Thus reducing time spent cooking and cleaning.
  2. Stopped watching tv.  It was passive entertainment and wasted my potential development time.
  3. Cut back on idol social media usage and left my phone face down when creating.
  4. Used my spare time at work to plan projects, gather inspiration and listen to informative podcasts.

For the reader: Assess your current after work schedule. Is it regular? Be honest with yourself. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in leisure activities, but if you’re serious about changing your current situation you will have to sacrifice and become self disciplined.  Can any of the steps listed above help you create more time for your short-term goals? If necessary, go to the extent of making an hourly, afterwork breakdown schedule, just for the first few weeks to help encourage time efficiency.

THINK OF YOUR CURRENT JOB AS A STEPPING STONE RATHER THAN A BURDEN

It’s easy to resent having to go to work every day when all you want to do is stay at home and create.  Trust me, I feel your pain.  However, if you’re like me and not one to enjoy self pity, you should try to take the positives from your current job role.  For example, are any of the skills used in your 9-5 job transferable to your hobbies and side hustles?  Can you go on any courses in your current job that will benefit your external interests in the long term?  

In my personal case, the basic skills I have learnt through full-time employment have led me to strengthen both my branding and design skills, as well as the confidence to explore the basics of web design.  Granted, the majority of my development has happened outside of work, but I also have to acknowledge that I have learnt many of the foundations through senior colleagues over the years.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Over the past three years I have been able to maintain a level of time management that has enabled me to grow my portfolio and explore additional sporting interests. Whilst at times it can leave me shattered, I have been able to produce a body of work that I am proud of and a website that I created to share it on.  To those that are reading that are goal driven and determined, don’t forget to look back on your achievements so far as a reminder as to why you started.  Your time is coming.

Creative Curls x


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