We all know the feeling: having big ambitions for the year but quickly falling prey to the busy person’s dilemma.
There’s NO time.
With having a social life, spending 160+hours a month at work, and sleep, it seems like there’s little time to:
- Write that book we’ve always dreamed of publishing
- Build that design portfolio
- Launch that business idea picking at your brain for the past 2 years
- Read a single book
What’s a creative person to do? How do you make time?
A topic I’ve grappled with for a while, I feel I finally cracked the nut a few years ago.
It all started with 1 big realization: I was making excuses and needed to suck it up and take some action.
I know we hear that mantra all the time, “action is the key” but once I was honest with myself and admitted that my human tendency to be lazy was holding me back, I started taking the smallest steps possible to get myself into motion.
An object in motion stays in motion, and perhaps what I needed was a little creative inertia. And that hunch proved right.
Over the past 12 months, I’ve been able to publish 20+ articles, pilot a 5-episode podcast, and consult for 6 companies and it didn’t happen by accident.
Here are the most effective, immediate tricks that could be valuable for anyone who is craving to create, is fed up with excuses, and wants to take some easy yet momentous action.
#1: Use Your Phone as a Notepad
All great ideas started with a thought; and you have a powerful notepad in your phone that does everything you need (even drawing), so start the habit of writing down all ideas that bubble up.
Remember to create titles for your notes so you can continue to add new ideas in the right places.
#2: Take a Long Bathroom Break
Stretch yours bathroom sessions and consider it quick downtime to write that article, Instagram caption, or tweet.
We average going to the bathroom 6-10 times per day, which if you add just 1 minute to each of those, that ads up to over 36 hours of creative time a year.
The beauty of it? You can’t NOT go to the bathroom, so commit to being creative while you’re at it.
#3: Invest Downtime to be Creative
We all have those moments: waiting at the airport for our flight, at the doctor’s office for our appointment, and on the phone for the customer service rep to help us.
These moments range from 20-40 minutes, so why not take advantage of them instead of looking at pretty people on Instagram?
#4: Raise the Stakes: Give Yourself a Time Limit
The 50/10 rule has done wonders for my life.
The concept is simple yet powerful: to complete any task, give yourself 50 minutes of full concentration with a “reward” of 10 minutes afterwards to do whatever you wish.
And repeat. You’ll be amazing at what happens when you give yourself a time limit. The catch? If you break focus during the 50, you have to start the clock over again (ex. checking your texts, brushing lint off your clothes, anything).
NOTE: this can also be done in 25/5 minute fashion if 50/10 is too tough.
We all like to think we’re extremely busy, but as Debbie Millman says, “busy-ness is a choice.” If you find yourself spread thin, you likely aren’t defining what’s really important and instead doing it all.
Even more powerful than these 4 tricks is building the habit of the “fast no, slow yes.” Be deliberate about your “yes’s” and whether they contribute to your higher purpose, goal, or your “fuck yes” mantra.