I can’t believe I squeezed extra creative hours out of my regularly hectic week. I didn’t think it was possible. When you get up at 5 a.m. and can barely stay awake until 10:00, it seems crazy. When you can barely go to the bathroom without a child bursting in the door or yelling for you, it seems crazier. But if I can do it, you can too. Read on for some tactics that work.
Utilize your commute.
Whenever I can, I park at the park & ride and take the commuter bus into the city. The trip between my stop and my office is about 45 minutes. I don’t ride the bus every day, but on average I ride it about three days a week. Sometimes I end up working during that time to get a jump on the day, and sometimes my brain just needs to check out. But when I have a smaller creative project, like a crochet dish sponge or a jewelry item I can fit into my backpack, I pop my earbuds in and make some progress. I get some of my best brainstorming and project ideas then, too.
Listen to your body clock.
I’ve found that my best creative ideas come in the morning, when my brain is fresh. It’s downright painful for me to wake up before 5:00, and I’ve learned that it just won’t happen unless absolutely necessary. So on a typical day where I get up at 5:00 and I’m out the door before six, I look forward to that morning bus commute. Once I get my coffee and my brain actually starts functioning beyond my basic morning routine, it’s on.
At the end of the workday, I can’t guarantee I’ll have any creative juice left. Some days my brain is just done. So on most of the days that I can manage to squeeze in some time in the afternoon or early evening, I’ll turn to something that is relaxing. I’ll pull out a project that I can just zone out with – like a simple crochet project that doesn’t require a ton of stitch counting.
Some people are the exact opposite though, like my husband. He has always been a night owl. While I’m trying to stay up long enough to watch maybe one of my shows off the DVR, he’s still going strong. So the perfect time of day for you might be different from mine.
Use your lunch break.
If you don’t have crazy errands to run, use your lunch break. It’s easy for me to get trapped at my desk if I’m not careful, but it is definitely possible for me to step away and find a quiet place in the lunch room where I can write, brainstorm, make notes about my next project, or actually create it (depending on what it is). Surf Pinterest and get some new ideas, or revisit stuff you’ve pinned to actually read the posts. Make some lists and do some planning.
Here’s my Type A personality creeping in. If I don’t make it a priority, it’s easy to let it fall by the wayside. Pull out your phone and set a reminder on your calendar, pencil it in on your paper planner, or record it wherever else you track your appointments. If you have a set time, you can plan around it.
Utilize Saturday/Sunday morning cartoons.
My kids are old enough now that they know how to get to the cartoon channels. This is a great time for doing things that will need an internet connection, running the sewing machine, etc. We’re talking bigger, more involved projects. They know the fastest way to get to what they want is to use their own Netflix profiles, so we so far haven’t had to worry about them watching stuff that’s not age appropriate. Their most frequently used television also has the regular channels set so they have their own guide, with only the kid-friendly channels available.
So there you have it - five ways I squeeze some extra creativity into my week. How do you make it happen?