A little while back I read, “Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind” put out by 99U and have been trying to implement some of the things I learned. Here are few thoughts and ideas that have resonated with me and the ways I’ve tried to adjust:
1. Routines helps us make time to be creative by “setting expectations about availability, aligning our workflow with our energy levels, and getting our minds into a regular rhythm of creating.”
Now that the kids are getting a little bit older and a little more set into their own routines, it’s getting a tiny bit easier to squeeze in my own projects. It’s pretty much guaranteed that they will be asleep by 9:30pm (except last week when we were all a bit under the weather), but I’m still trying to figure out my own routine after they are in bed. The main issue being that by that point my energy levels and brain power are almost non-existent. On good nights, the most I can usually manage is yoga, which I consider a success!
In regards to my energy levels, I’ve realized that blogging at night just doesn’t work for me the majority of the time. Or doing anything that requires brain power for that matter. It takes me twice as long to formulate sentences at that point in the night than if I would just wake up early to do it, which I’m working on trying to do more often.
2. Frequency makes starting easier, keeps ideas fresh and keeps the pressure off.
This is right on the nose. I don’t know how many times I’ve had ideas that withered because I waited too long to get them down. Also, after a long break in writing, I do find it harder to come up with the right words to communicate my thoughts the way I want. This is why I have a million notebooks. I’ve also started getting my ideas into digital form as soon as I can (I’ve been using Evernote) But I still need to try and set a regular time aside to just DO.
3. “Conditions to produce one’s craft are rarely ideal, and waiting for everything to be perfect is almost always an exercise in procrastination.”
They should have just tacked on “especially when you have kids.” Conditions are never ideal when your family and kids are the sole focus of your free time. So, I try to take advantage of any bit of solo time I have. Driving to and from work is good for thinking through problems – though not very good for documenting those thoughts. (Unless you use voice memos!) A lot of projects get made during the late hours of the evening (if they don’t require too much problem solving) or early morning or squeezed in during naps on the weekends. Usually with me just standing at the kitchen counter or sitting with all my stuff sprawled across the dining room table. Gone are the days of the designated craft area and table with all my supplies readily available within reach of a curious and naughty 3-year-old!
4. Perfectionism hinders productivity.
This one was a big one for me. It also relates to the tip mentioned above. Waiting for the “perfect conditions” or avoiding projects for fear of not doing it “perfect” – this is me to a tee. Sometimes you just need to put things out there and worry less about it being “perfect” and take pride in the fact that it got done. I’ve learned to let go and just go with the flow when it comes to a lot of things but I still struggle with this daily.
All the essays in this book have great suggestions and tips – though some of them are just hard truths that most people know but don’t want to admit to themselves. For example, the fact that social media is a time suck and distraction (you don’t say?) when you are trying to create.
So, here’s to new routines and finding balance.
For more inspiration on managing your time and creativity, check out these links:
&Kathleen is co-founder of Braid Creative and specializes in coaching for creatives
Elizabeth Saunders is a entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “Time Coach”
Leo Babauta is a creator and writer who focuses on “finding simplicity in the chaos of our lives
How do you manage your day-to-day and find the balance between work, family and side-projects?