If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my online experience over the past few years, it’s this:
Everyone is busy!
Have you noticed this too?
It doesn’t seem to matter if you’re young or old, single or married, have no kids or a few, everyone has full calendars, busy schedules, and – if we’re honest – too much on our plates.
I’m certainly no expert, but I have my own thoughts about why we’re so busy: it’s the information age.
Just think about it:
- We have information on most anything we can imagine at our fingertips with just a click.
- We can be contacted at all times and in a variety of ways. (Case in point: just in the time I’ve been typing, I’ve received 4 different notifications on my phone.)
- We use our devices to tell time, fill our calendars, remind us to do things, accept rings, beeps, and tones, and unlimited numbers of other ways thanks to the millions of apps available.
With so many technological aids helping us get things done faster, we’re striving to do more with our 24 hours each day.
We’re a busy people!
While I’m a huge fan of technology, and obviously depend on it for what I do, there is a catch.
When do we breathe?
For those who thrive on activity, it may not be as much of a problem. However, for those of us who need space to breathe, to create, and to just “be”, it can sometimes be overwhelming. And before you realize it has happened, you find yourself simply trying to stay ahead of the next demand.
I’ll be honest. This describes where I’ve been lots of times over the past year. Technology isn’t directly to blame. It just made it easier to pack more into the schedule than was reasonable. And those “breathing” moments became harder to find.
Can you relate?
The Good News
If your calendar is currently full, you may not be able to just wipe it all clean, but there’s still a way to fit a bit of creativity in: Pocket Time.
We all have pocket time. It may just take a little practice to recognize it.
Pocket time are those few minutes of extra time you have sprinkled all throughout your day that you can grab and use. I’ll admit that some days may have very few moments, but others probably have lots more than you realize.
For years (and I do mean years) I put my creative side on hold. I was busy with babies and running a home, and there didn’t seem to be much time for what seemed to be “frivolous” pursuits. Oh, how I regret that!
Looking back, there were sporadic occasions when I had the opportunity to work with my hands on something I loved, and I remember how much those moments recharged me and gave me the energy and enthusiasm to press on. I wish I had understood the power of pocket time back then.We all have pocket time. It may just take a little practice to recognize it. Click To Tweet
There is one key, however, that makes pocket time work: you have to be content to work in little sessions instead of seeing a project to completion all at once. If you’re anything like me and have a hard time stopping once you get interested in a project, it’s going to take a little discipline. But you can do it! 🙂
How to Find Your Pocket Time
Where you are in life will determine where you can find your pocket time. A mom of young children will have different opportunities than a middle-aged woman with teenagers and a full-time job, or a homeschooling mom with children in a range of ages. Even an empty-nester or a woman with no children can have a calendar that’s packed full with work or community activities that keep her busy.
No matter where you are in life, I’m pretty sure you can find at least a few places in your day when you can fit in a creative pursuit.
Start by looking for time-wasters.
Are there things you do each day that are time-suckers? I’m not bashing any of these activities, or suggesting we totally stop doing all of them, but here’s a few common ones that probably snag all of us at one time or another:
- scrolling through social media
- watching t.v.
- video games
- video streaming
- complaining (okay – we probably should totally stop doing this one)
- reading the news
- checking email all throughout the day
- texting back and forth instead of calling
- looking for misplaced items
Some of these things still trip me up, but when I intentionally try to keep them in check, I find that I have more time for things I’d really rather do anyway.
Look for “dead” time.
It may only be a moment or two that you have between tasks, but did you know it only takes about a minute to run outside and spray a coat of paint on something?
Nearly every single time I spray paint it happens just like this. In one session I prep my piece. In another I choose the paint and get the spray mat in place. Then I give it a quick coat (because a quick, light coat of paint is best anyway) and head back inside. It may be 10 minutes later – or two hours later – but I’ll eventually grab another free minute to head out and give it another coat.
Painting is an excellent pocket time filler because you’ve got to allow for dry time anyway. Gluing up is another. It takes just seconds to apply glue, then requires a length of time to dry.
Here’s some suggested places to look for “dead” time:
- while you’re on hold on the phone
- waiting – in traffic, at the doctor’s office, the bank, drive through, the post office, etc.
- after you slide dinner into the oven
- between schoolwork or homework help with your kids
- between plays at ball games (yes, this does add up!)
- when you’re traveling (and not driving)
- while sitting with your family watching t.v. (who can visit then anyway, right?)
Obviously you can’t paint or work on a large piece during some of these times, but a smaller, portable project is ideal. I’ve crocheted for hours while riding in the van or sitting at the ball park.
Consider rearranging your morning routine.
This really isn’t as dramatic as it sounds. It can be as simple as getting up just 15 minutes earlier.
As a hard-core, in-my-blood night owl, I can tell you this: It can be done!
More than a dozen years ago I began getting up earlier than my family just so I could have some room to “breathe” before the rush of the day kicked in. At the time I had several small children and plenty of demands on my day.
I can’t even begin to tell you how that one change positively impacted my life.
Now that none of my kids desperately need me the moment they open their eyes, I’m still the earliest riser in my house most mornings.
Not only can I get my bearings well in place before the rush starts (I’m still a night owl, which means I don’t wake up exactly chipper), but I have a pocket of uninterrupted time for all kinds of personal and creative pursuits that I wouldn’t otherwise have. This is my very favorite time of day now for creativity!
Here’s some of the things I’ve done in the early morning hours over the years:
- Bible study and prayer
- Personal planning & goal-setting
- Watching the sun rise
- DIY projects
- Slowly enjoy my favorite tea
- Enjoy candles
- Listen to music
- Work on a new skill
- Essential oils
- Researching topics of interest
It may only be a small investment of time at first, but gradually it does add up and before you know it, you’ll have finished a project, learned a new skill, or developed personally because of your investment.
You may even find that those 15 minutes aren’t hard to carve out at all and you’ll want to expand it to 30 minutes, or even an hour or more.
(affiliate links are provided)
If the idea of getting an earlier start each day intrigues you, I encourage you to check out the Make Over Your Mornings course. It’s jam-packed with encouragement and tips to help you make the most of your mornings (and you don’t have to start them early to benefit from the course either). Read my personal review here.
No matter what your schedule looks like, if you get satisfaction from working with your hands to create something, then you know how important it is to have that time.
I encourage you to use these three tips for finding time in your schedule to be creative. When you see what all you can accomplish, you’ll be so glad you did!
Do you have more tips to share? Leave your comments below and encourage your fellow Creatives!
This post contains affiliate links which means that I earn a commission if you make a purchase using these links. The price you pay, however, will not be affected. Thank you for supporting To Work with My Hands. View my full disclosure here.