As creatives, we are always thinking and building. It starts with a thought, turning into a dream, which then grows into pulling together the time and resources that are required to actually put that seed into action. As wonderful as this all is, it requires something that life doesn’t carry too much of: time.
My brother recently wrote a post called Finding Time For What’s Important that has really resonated with where I’m at since stepping into the blogging world this past year. It’s amazing how as a creative type you’re constantly curating, whether on your free time on the weekend walking the streets of your city, or climbing a mountain to be refreshed by its beauty. Learning to balance this natural creative process in the midst of busy, everyday life is hard and I would be surprised if I was the only one facing this challenge. I find it interesting that this is a constant struggle even though creativity is an uncommon gift that is truly extraordinary. This summer I started a journey in search of effective ways to structure the creative process in the midst of my day-to-day life so that I could be more effective in my creative process. Some of the questions I have been asking are things like:
- How much time do I guard for spending quality time with my family?
- How much time do I set aside for building meaningful relationships?
- How much time do I set aside for rest, providing a chance for me to refuel?
- How do I stay focused at my 9-5 job that brings in the pay check?
- How do I structure my creative time outside of those 40 hours when I’m tired and worn out from my work day?
All of these things are important to our success in being a creative type, and I think if we are honest with ourselves, we would find they are often unbalanced. How do we succeed daily, continually advancing towards our goals. So what do we do? while still making room for the things that matter in life? There’s honestly so much to discuss on just this one topic, but I’d like to take a minute and share some key things I’ve learned. For starters, this first point probably seems quite basic and if we’re real, seemingly a waste of time, but I will tell you from experience that it makes all the difference in the level of your effectiveness.
Here it is: Allow yourself the luxury of just being...to rest.
In this place, somehow things come into focus. Priorities are realized, what we want out of life comes alive, and then from there we can take the time to implement a structure to get to where we want to be. For me, I can recognize instantly when I’m tired and need to stop and rest because my creative flow hits a wall. Suddenly it all seems like it’s too much, like I’m dreaming to big..... This tends to happen at the prime of exhaustion, mentally or physically and that’s my signal to pull back. If you find yourself noticing this, I would challenge you to do more than just recognize it but to actually take action in however that translates in your world. Take care of yourself, be the best that YOU can be, operating at 100%. Now I certainly understand that this isn’t always possible as there are these things called deadlines, but we are talking here about overall life structure. You owe it to yourself to be operating on all cylinders—loving life, feeling alive. This also translates into your audience and followers—they will pick up on the life and joy expressed behind what we create and isn’t that the point? To bring inspiration to others through what we do?The next thing I would encourage you in is to look at the whole picture. It’s so easy to get caught up in the craziness of everyday, reaching for the stars and pushing ourselves to no end to try to attain the dreams we have harboured inside. Even though this is a great source of healthy motivation that propels us forward daily, it can be a hindrance to the overall picture and what we need to do to get to where we want to be. Stephen R Covey provides some fantastic insight on this in his book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
Below I’ve included a paragraph from Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind where Covey talks about prioritizing every day while keeping the end goal in sight: If you don't make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default.
It's about connecting again with your own uniqueness and then defining the personal, moral, and ethical guidelines within which you can most happily express and fulfill yourself. Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day, task, or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen.
Lastly, at the end of the day, it really is all about loving people. Whether that looks like taking a night off to go have spaghetti with your brother and his family, or skipping this week’s post to listen to a girlfriend talk about her broken heart, all these things big or small, are some of what really, honestly matters. Relationships are what bring joy and beauty in our lives. It’s truly powerful and making this a priority in your life will bring insurmountable reward.
Overall, to be the best we can be in living a creative lifestyle, producing beautiful and inspiring content and products, our life needs to be in order. We need to be intentional about every day, using our time wisely. By structuring our lives to operate out of rest, feeling fully alive, keeping the end goal in mind, and prioritizing relationships, we will find ourselves more effective. This will assuredly benefit our creative process and what we are able to produce and even more importantly, allow for the things that really matter in the long run.
Top Image: Christy Moormann