You’re curious, maybe a little frustrated with the everyday, and you want to try something new. Maybe it’s that new trendy hobby that you keep seeing everywhere; maybe it’s your lifelong dream. But no matter how many times in your life you say, “I should try that,” you always stop at the same thing: time.
“There’s never any time,” you say.
Friends, let me tell you the most annoying, truest thing you’ll hear about that argument.
There is time.
The real question and problem is: how are you managing yours?
I don’t mean to sound like my parents, the typical Indian parents who would go to the bookstore in the summer to find study guides so I would stay sharp over the long summer months. They were the kind who would wake me up at 8am on a Saturday and tell me not to waste my day, or who would assign homework when it looked like I wasn’t busy enough with work from school. They made me feel guilty all the time.
But, now that I’m an adult, I can regretfully admit that they sort of had a point.
It’s true, our responsibilities take up a lot of our time. And it’s true that we need to rest. But between our obligations and our personal time, we leave a lot of wasted space. We have missed opportunities to learn, create, and grow.
Before you totally blow me off, I need to state that I’m busy and stressed like no other. I’m a full time high school English teacher and toddler mom. I couldn’t survive it all if I didn’t make time for creating.
Making time to letter, write, and learn about business are the things that keep me floating every day, and that’s why I’m so passionate about sharing that with you. I promise — carving out time, even if it’s just ten minutes, every day to pursue a passion is so worth it. Here are my top four times in the day to pursue my creative goals:
#4 Deep Shower Thoughts
All my good ideas come to me in the shower. This is a chunk of time that is perfect for thinking, reflecting, and even doodling! I love to draw and letter on the tiles and glass… But maybe that’s just me.
Goals that can be achieved if you maximize this time: brainstorming and planning for your daily goals… maybe even a little doodling. If you’ve got some kind of shower speaker system (or in my case, a sink nearby that can amplify your phone), you can also use this time to listen to podcasts or audiobooks.
#3 Time spent waiting
I’m writing this while I’m waiting for my perfect pan-seared chicken to become perfect. I started writing this while waiting for my toddler try to get bored of one activity and ask for another. We’re constantly waiting. Why not use that time?
This window of time is for those of you whose goal is developing a skill, or whose goal is a cognitive one. Waiting is the perfect time to learn and think. And learning and thinking counts as time put toward your goal — so be sure to celebrate the time that you spend doing this!
Goals that can be achieved if you maximize this time:
- Reading! Either audiobook or actual book. I use waiting time for audiobooks.
- Podcasts: I learn the tricks of my trades through my favorite podcasts: Goal Digger by Jenna Kutcher, Perspective Collective by Scotty Russell, Write or Die by Claribel Ortega, 10 Minute Writer’s Workshop by Virginia Prescott, and Create If Writing by Kirsten Oliphant. The best time for podcasts? When I’m stuck in traffic or walking my dogs!
- Studying and reflecting: This is crucial for so many creative fields. When I was really into watercolor, I would use my waiting time to study the way light played on plants and clouds, then brainstorm how I could practice that when I had my paints at night. Now that I’m in the NaNoWriMo zone, I’m using my waiting time to study humans and brainstorm possible interactions that will go into my book.
- Meditating: One of my friends has taken on meditating for her Ten Minute Goal. Talk about a way to make waiting time feel less tedious!
#2 Brain breaks at work
No matter how committed you are to your job, no matter how fulfilling it is, you probably need a break every now and then. In fact, taking breaks can boost your productivity. Check out this Forbes article and this Psychology Today article if you don’t believe me.
Whether you’re a teacher, a CEO, a stay-at-home parent, a cashier, or one of the fortunate few who is living their dream job, you could still use a brain break. Use this opportunity to develop a new skill. I’m lucky enough to have a pretty fulfilling job and a decent-sized conference period. I tend to use at least one of my conference periods a week to work on a personal goal. I know that giving myself the chance to take a break from teaching and parenting actually makes me a better teacher and parent. It’s worth it!
Goals that can be achieved if you maximize this time: Anything that could be achieved from your workspace. Because of my work restrictions, I use this time to develop lettering skills and take care of writing goals.
#1 Time spent searching for a distraction
Want to know what my personal hell would be? Flipping through Netflix ad nauseam, trying to find a new show or movie that will distract me from my mundane life. This was actually what spurred me to practice lettering every night. I got so tired of going from a full day of teaching and parenting to a night of flipping through Netflix. I mean, we could end up spending thirty minutes searching, only to pass out from exhaustion twenty minutes into whatever we chose! I *had* to do something better with that time.
How much time do you spend trying to get distracted? Flipping through Netflix movies? Scrolling through Instagram or Facebook? Searching for something to get mad about on Twitter?
Well, stop. Use that time for your goal. This is the number one, biggest time-waster in our time. We have too much information and too many distractions at our fingertips, and we let technology dictate our lives. Time to take that time back and use it toward your goals.
Goals that can be achieved if you maximize this time: ALL OF THEM.
I know you’re tired, and I know that some days, you are just so braindead that all you can do is flip through Netflix until you find a cooking show that will help you fall asleep. I have those days too. That’s OK.
But believe me when I say it feels so good to give that tired brain of yours something fun to do, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. It rejuvenates your brain and your soul. It gives you something to work toward and be proud of. If you haven’t tried my goal-setting challenge, try it out this week. See how long you can go:
My personal goal-setting update: I’m almost done planning for NaNoWriMo! I’m starting late because #ITeach. I’ll start writing during Thanksgiving week, with the hopes of finishing by Christmas. I am so proud of myself for keeping up with my daily writing goals (at least 10 minutes every night, but now I’ve got enough momentum to do at least 30 minutes every night)! I have had a few days where I dropped off, but I’ve been sticking to my own tips by forgiving myself for missed days and celebrating the days that I do achieve my goals.
I hope you’re able to find some time to pursue a goal this week. As always, let me know how your goal chasing is going by commenting here or by contacting me via Instagram @nerdladydraws! I love hearing from you!