So last time I said I’d talk about more ways that I make time to do the things I do. I should tell a little about that first, right? I don’t work away from home, and I don’t have kids or grandkids or parents to take care of. My husband takes care of almost everything home-related, from shopping to cleaning to cooking. He took over all of that when he retired. Not that I ever did too much. I’m not very domesticated.
What I do in the time I don’t have to spend scrubbing toilets and shopping for cat food is mostly writing. I write artist profiles for Art Doll Quarterly, Art Journaling, Art Quilting Studio, Belle Armoire, Belle Armoire Jewelry, and Somerset Studio. I write books. Number 5, Destination: Creativity, will be out in September. I post regularly and at some length (snort) on my own blog, Notes from the Voodoo Cafe, and here, at The Creative Life. I tweet. I do a podcast every week, edited and uploaded and then distributed through my blog, CreateMixedMedia, my blog page at my podcast host, Notes from the Voodoo Lounge, and iTunes (also titled Notes from the Voodoo Lounge). I travel with my husband to art retreats, where I speak and moderate panel discussions and we take photos and videos for use here and by the organizers.
In my spare time (and, yes, I’m laughing), I stitch.
I used to make books and dolls, jewelry and clothes, and I used to sell those at shops and galleries and art retreats and in an Etsy shop. I also used to teach workshops, both here in Texas and at places like Art Fest, Art Fiber Fest, and Art Unraveled. I taught online, through joggles.com. But those are things I gave up. All of the things in this paragraph are gone. People go, “Aieeee! How could you give that up? What were you thinking?!” The truth is that when I realized what my purpose in life was–to write about and talk about and encourage creativity–I had to shuffle things so that I’d have time to do the things I’m supposed to be doing.
Here are some of the other ways I’ve made time for doing What I’m Supposed To Be Doing:
~~I’m really selective about what I read. I used to go to the bookstore on the first of every month and buy whatever magazines caught my eye: news magazines, craft magazines, psychology magazines, fashion magazines. I’d keep them in a stack and read them whenever I took a break. When I began to try to make more time in my life, though, I took a hard look at my reading and realized I wasn’t really benefitting from reading all those magazines. Most of them recycle the same features, just slightly tweaked, over and over. They’re filled with advertising that’s designed to make me want More Stuff (what we talked about last week). And when you’re done, you’ve got to figure out how to give them away or recycle them. Books–I used to have a rule that if I started a book, I had to finish it. This would be OK if all the books I started were wonderfully written, inspiring, informative books. Alas–that is not the case. Now I don’t force myself to finish any book that doesn’t grab me, even if I bought it. (see here for ideas about how to find homes for books you don’t want to keep).
~~I wrote about this in that piece long ago, too: I’m not available all the time. I don’t answer the phone just because it rings. If I’m working, it goes to voice mail. I don’t have a doorbell, and there’s a gate on the front porch. In addition, I’ve made these signs that I put on the storm door:
~~Since there are so many things I want to do and so little time to do them all, I make sure I have something with me everywhere I go. I have a little piece of stitching in my bag–it stays there, and I’ve been working on it for years. If we’re going somewhere to sit and relax, like the local Starbucks, I take a stitching project with me. I hardly ever sit without something to work on. It’s relaxing to me, and it keeps me from feeling like precious minutes are slipping away. If I didn’t carry projects with me, they’d never get finished.
~~I’ve figured out, for now anyway, my sleep patterns. I know a lot of people who have trouble sleeping and spend hours tossing and turning and still feel tired the next day. If you can figure out how much sleep you need and spend only that much time in bed, your body should adapt once it realizes there’s no time to mess around: you get in bed, go to sleep, and then wake up and get up at the same time every day. Your body may grumble about this at first; you have to convince it you’re serious.
~~We’re really simplified our diet, which makes us healthier and more energetic but has also cut down on the time it takes to prepare meals. Back when I was still doing the evening meal, I’d steam a huge pot of vegetables every Monday and keep them in the refrigerator for the week. Add pasta and spaghetti sauce one night, seasoned tofu another, make a vegetable pizza the day after. I eat the same thing for breakfast every single day because I don’t have to think about it.
There are all kinds of ways you can get an extra ten minutes here or 15 minutes there. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but they add up, and you can easily add an extra hour or two to your day once you’ve found all the places you can tweak your schedule. Then you get to decide how you want to use that new time. Do you want to take a class? Start a sketchbook? Get out your pottery wheel? Learn to knit? Oh, the possibilities!
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