It takes time to be creative

There are 24 hours in a day! We have been given 1440 minutes to use any way that we choose. We each have 86,400 seconds available to accomplish our goals. For the creative soul, sometimes making the most of the time is a struggle. I have learned that creativity requires time, and most of us live in a time-starved culture. Our lives are busy with lots of expectations from others and by the time we get around to being creative, we are worn out. Sometimes we are so busy that we do not have a chance to disengage from the mundane just to be creative. This lack of creative time, my friend, is a travesty.

One of the most difficult tasks for me is blocking time on my calendar to be creative. The best-laid plans of mice and men, I mean well, but somehow squandering creative time is way too easy for me. We know that creativity requires attention but because of the sneaky time thieves that creep in and encroach our calendar, creativity, many times, just does not happen. There are those rare times when something comes to you and just kind of flows from your fingertips onto the medium that you create. But let’s be truthful with ourselves, most of the time, this is not the case, and so many creatives struggle at producing because of the time bandits that rear their heads during the day.

Knowing all of this should spur us to think about what we can do to get our day under control. I have learned that if I do not manage my calendar, someone else will do it for me. It is time for a plan. We have to figure out how to reign in the day and then hold tight reins as we navigate the hours. A new plan will force us to think and create differently. We will need to develop some new habits. Developing habits also requires time, so putting practices in place that allow you to be creative should take precedence on your calendar. I am always on the lookout for new time hacks that get me away from the bustling throws of life and into a writing mode. The main part of my job requires me to research and prepare (write) so guarding the time to do this is entirely up to me! I have to develop an action plan, and then I must stick to the plan!

So I have made a list that I want to share with you. This list is by no means exhaustive, so I would also like to you add to the list so that we can collaborate and help each other stay the course.

Here is my list:

1. Find different venues and workspaces to be creative. There is something about going to a new place where you do not know anyone. I find energy in places. Many places offer a new vibe and drive my thoughts to words on paper. New locations stimulate my mind and allow me to create and produce!

2. Always carry a pad and pen! Ideas come from what you see, hear and read. So many times in my life I see something and come up with an idea. If I do not write it down, I most certainly will forget it. I have a particular journal always with me. The reason I only use one journal is so that my thoughts will be in one place. By using one journal at a time, I can thumb through and find the nugget and start developing. I also use the note feature on my smartphone for when ideas come to me. I carry my phone all of the time, so I find that safeguarding my thoughts is easy. I also use the talk to text feature on my phone which allows me to speak into my phone while I am driving. Safeguarding ideas by writing them down is imperative.

3. Use headphones or earbuds to block out distractions! I often do this even if nothing is playing in them. I have found that it keeps well-meaning people from coming up to you and disturbing your flow. I spend a lot of time in coffee shops and community spaces. With my earbuds in, I can isolate from all that is going on. Movement around me will not disturb me, and I can focus on my thought.

4. Turn your phone to airplane mode. Nothing kills creativity like a push notification from Facebook or Twitter. I love social media, but it has its place. For me, I cannot ever recall surfing social media and thinking about being imaginative. Web surfing often keeps people from being creative, so I schedule a time to check my facebook and twitter. I read email early in the morning and before I go home from the office. The cool thing about email is, it will wait.

These are some of the things that I use to help me produce! Take some time today and put your thoughts together and share.

I love you all!

Pastor Jeff