Working with What You Have
A full-time job, a freelance career, a toddler (or all of the above): the hustle makes it hard to make time for creativity. Here are some small, but highly impactful, ways to create space for your writing practice in daily life.
1. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.
Keeping a to-do list is a straight-up necessity when you have a million things on your plate. That said, an endless to-do list is a surefire way to convince yourself there's no time in your life for creativity. Instead of trying to cross off every item every day, set aside a few minutes of every day to prioritize your tasks. You can do this on your own or with a tool such as the Productivity Planner (I swear by it). If maintaining a daily writing practice or working on that first poetry collection is a top priority, put it on the top of the list each day. Whether you have fifteen minutes or five hours, reminding yourself of the importance of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) will keep you in the right frame of mind to actually write.
2. Set targets for bedtime and screen time.
We set limits for our kids, but it's easy to let things slide when we just need time to unwind after a busy day. Get strict about your own bedtime and screentime. Use a sleep-tracking app (or the Bedtime feature in iOS) to set reminders about getting to bed on time. Similarly, just how much time do you spend scrolling through Instagram each day? Use apps like Moment or Freedom and you'll probably be shocked by what you discover. It's not necessary to go cold turkey on social media, but becoming more mindful about your relationship with your phone will carve out some time you never knew existed.
3. Watch your mind instead of television.
Once you've prioritized your daily goals and gotten a handle on your daily phone usage, try using your reclaimed time to establish a daily mindfulness practice tied to your writing. Whether you prefer to write in the morning or at night, set aside some time immediately after waking or before sleeping for meditation. Again, five minutes or fifty matters less than just making it a priority to practice. Upon completing the session, pick up a journal or grab your laptop and write. You'll be amazed what you will uncover when you watch your own mind.
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