Today I want to write about the most important relationship in my life – and in all of our lives, really! It’s the relationship that impacts all other ones: my work life, my family life, and of course, my creative life.
It’s my relationship to TIME.
I say “relationship” because it requires the same level of commitment, care, and attention as other relationships. And like a relationship with your partner, your friends, or even your health, the same pitfalls can sabotage your relationship to time: miscommunication, diversions, avoidance, and the very popular “checking out”.
When I wanted to revamp my business and expand my creative output, I worked with my HG coach who had me see it was time to change the way I thought about and managed my time. I didn’t realize the huge impact resetting my relationship to time would have on my business, my creativity and my happiness.
But did it ever.
“I just wish there were more hours in the day!” I think we’ve all have muttered that wish at some point during a mismanaged day. For creatives, it often feels like the projects that matter most to us take a back burner to everything else that must get done first. You know, you name it: the phone calls, groceries, laundry, emails, bills…”
As we then gaze wistfully and innocently at the unfinished project, wondering what happened to the day. It was after all, time’s fault, not ours.
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I’m no different, especially when it comes to cleaning my studio. There are days I have set aside just for focused creative time but instead I’ve spent those days ignoring my art and doing busy work, like emailing and organizing and windexing and preparing my space. I’ve backed myself in a corner at times, hurrying through my heart work or pushing what I say matters most to me aside.
When I started holding myself to account for time spent, I realized this: my heart takes the hit every time! Honoring your creative dream means paying attention and getting honest about where and how you spend your time. How much time does it actually take to get something done? What tasks are most important to you that day?
SETTING BOUNDARIES FOR MYSELF
In putting some management in my time management, I learned that having a schedule is a lot different than keeping a schedule. After getting honest and prioritizing the actual amount of time it takes to do things, the next most important step my HG coach showed me was that I had to set boundaries for myself. Saying “I will clean the studio from 10AM to 12PM” means when the clock hits 12:01PM, it’s time to move on to the next item on the schedule. It helps to have a timer, and it takes practice!
Now I treat my commitment to my creative dream the same way I would treat a commitment to anyone else. It would be silly to say, “I have a dentist appointment at 2PM, but the laundry isn’t folded yet, so I’ll just go at 2:45 instead”. How I spend my time is my choice alone, and I design it with with my creative vision as my highest priority as it never fails to lead me to the most fulfillment and happiness.
SETTING BOUNDARIES FOR OTHERS
Even when you balance the perfect schedule and set the timer, that doesn’t mean that new tasks or people with requests won’t appear. I laughed when I heard a friend say, “if it weren’t for other people, I’d get a lot more done!” This is one of the hardest things I had to change in my relationship to time.
In the past, I said “yes” to events, projects, meetings, and requests that were not in service of my creative dream. I didn’t want to hurt feelings, or rock the boat, or deal with difficult emotions or hard conversations. Not only did this affect my schedule and priorities, but it left me feeling irritated, resentful and powerless to change.
In order to fix this, I had to speak up and take action in both my personal and professional life.
Here are a few other examples of where I had to set boundaries, speak up, and make sure I was being faithful to my relationship with time:
I had to train myself to consistently set an “away” message on my email when I wasn’t available to respond right away.
I had to let my business associates know that I wasn’t endlessly available to take care of “urgent” matters.
I had to also ask my studio mates to take on more responsibilities, so that I could spend time in focused creative flow and trust that the day-to-day activities would be accomplished without me micro-managing everything.
A NEW WAY OF THINKING
My relationship with time totally changed when I made these shifts. Not only do I accomplish more in a day, but my measurement of that time has changed. I prioritize what I do by how important it is to my creative flow and to my overall dream. The more I practice saying “no” to the things that do not pass through the filter of my dream, more clarity and ease follow suit. My actions are positively informed and powerful. I can take care of myself and the people in my life in a loving, graceful, inspired way. Now, instead of dreading busy-ness or worrying that I’ll never have “enough time,” I cherish the ability I have to design my day beautifully and from the heart.
We all get 24 hours a day. There is always “enough time” to create what makes you most happy and proud if you get your own hands back on the clock.
If you are a creative and want to jump to the next level in your art career join me and HG expert coach Hildie Dunn for a 1-hour Tele-talk, How To Say No, where you will learn how to make and keep promises to yourself and get into the right bold actions to conquer your fears so you can live the creative life you’ve always vividly pictured. Or join us for our 3-day Dreaming In Color Workshop, where you will discover and define your dreams, dismantle the fears that are holding you back and be led through an intuitive patchwork round-robin workshop that focuses on your natural ability to make creative and unique design choices. You will leave this workshop empowered, inspired and tapped into your unique creative spirit!