Making time for creativity can be challenging. It is one of those activities that often falls into the Important (I believe) but Not Urgent quadrant of the Eisenhower Matrix. I’ve been thinking about how I can bring more of it into my life.
Low Value Activities
I was in Eckersley’s Arts & Crafts store last week. Not really news, I know. It is one of my favourite places! This time I did really have a reason to be there. I actually did have something I needed to buy. I can’t say that is always the case. I pop in there more times than I’d like to admit to see what new bits and pieces I might be able to pick up, always with the dream of finding the new tool that will turn me into an artist!
Then yesterday I visited our Ikea store in Canberra (and I did have a valid reason for being there too!). Wandering through Ikea, following the arrows, of course, I could dream about the possibilities it evoked. I could have a beautiful, clutter-free home. I could be super organised. I could bake exquisitely presented treats. You know those dreams. I was also paying close attention to the surface and fabric design – as, naturally, I’m fond of doing.
Both these activities can be inspiring. They are both things that could even be artist’s dates.
During both of these excursions I actually pondered on the truth of the matter. I could spend my time (and money) in Eckersley’s and Ikea or I could be at home working on an actual project that would make my home beautiful, my drawing better and my baked treats more attractive. I could be coming up with more of my own fabric designs. The truth is that I can buy as many art supplies as my budget allows – and then some – but without practice my skills are not going to get any better. And without putting the time in, my projects are not going to finish themselves.
You know that I value creativity. And I am so lucky now to have a creative job. But do I find time every day to be creative? Do I practice my drawing as much as I want to? No, I don’t!
Do more of the Things that Bring Joy
It is elusive, isn’t it? Finding the time to do the things we want to do as well as the things we have to do. And there are also the things we should do – exercise for example. That’s a lot of ‘things’ to fit into our finite time. It has got me thinking about what I could do less of to make more time for the things that make life more joyful. The things that fill me up rather than the things that empty me.
The obvious one for me is the time I spend on my iPad mindlessly scrolling. Although I’ve improved considerably over time it is such an easy go-to when I’m feeling tired and a bit brain dead. For others, television plays the same role.
I find drawing can be quite meditative though. Perhaps reaching for my sketchbook instead of the iPad would be a better thing to do. In the evenings, by the time dinner has been cooked and eaten and the kitchen is clean, it is 9 pm. I find myself thinking “I don’t have time now to start on X”. It isn’t the time to get stuck into a big project. That might be true. But twenty minutes of doodling, that could be just what my brain needs.
Make the Most of Moments
Sure, large chunks of time to work on the big ideas is wonderful but it often not realistic. A three-hour art class is such a treat (and I’m not going to say guilty pleasure – there is nothing to feel guilty about it!) but that is not something that is possible every day. A fifteen-minute date with my art journal though. That I might be able to manage. It is really about prioritising making time for creativity.