Finding the time to be creative is difficult, especially as a parent. Your time can already feel scarce, between working, daycare runs, after school or weekend activities, and the running of a household; finding the time to work on your creative pursuits can feel impossible.
Time management is something I’ve struggled with as I’ve started to grow this blog, and improve my writing portfolio. I’ve had to drop limiting beliefs around what I need to feel creative and write, and instead shift my mindset and take a fresh look at how I use my time.
I’ve started to implement the practises listed below to help me be more productive and feel motivated to write. These have helped me gain a new perspective on what I can achieve, and have brought the fun and excitement back to writing that I feel I’ve been without recently.
Plan your work
Planning out what I want to write about is a great way to stay on track. I use Google Calendars to map out when I’d like to post something and start to plan what I’d like to post about; so that my content stays varied. When you have time to sit down, you can check your calendar and see what you’re currently working on.
It takes the wondering out of what to write and just gets you doing it. If you can plan out times in the week to work as well, do that. Block off those times in your calendar as creative time, and set an alarm on your phone to remind you.
Change your mindset
I had myself in the mindset that if I didn’t have 2 hours a day to myself, then I couldn’t get work done. I kept wanting to have these long uninterrupted periods to write like I used to have as a student and then living alone in Paris.
Before having Willow, writing never felt like work. I would write when the urge struck me, or I was feeling particularly inspired. With more free time than I knew what to do with, this was never a problem. Now with less time, I don’t have the luxury to wait until I feel motivated or inspired, and instead have to cultivate that myself.
If I want to blog regularly and advance in my abilities then I have to force myself to work as well. This was a tricky mindset change for me.
But if you can get yourself in the zone quickly, and work through something in 20 minutes, then you realize there are endless little pockets in your day where you can be creative.
The other night I wrote for 20 minutes while Ben cooked the dinner, and finished a blog post I’ve been sitting on for ages, which was 75% done. It’s easy to make excuses and shy away from getting into it when you’re tired or exhausted or frustrated you won’t have as much time as you’d like.
But if you instead appreciate all the little pockets of time you can use, you’ll find yourself feeling much more motivated.
Utilize your time well
I have two days a week where I start work later in the day. I used to spend this time at home, taking my time to get ready for the day after seeing Ben and Willow out the door at 7.30 am. Sometimes I’d write a little, but it was always more of a lazy morning where I had a nice breakfast and took my time getting ready.
It never felt like a lot of time when I stayed home, but if I’m out the door early in the morning for the daycare drop off, I have much more time afterwards to get writing done before having to head to the day job. I can go to the library close to work and spend a quiet couple of hours writing. I realized I was complaining about my lack of time to write, yet spending 3 hours leisurely getting ready two days a week.
I also haven’t been utilizing nap time. On my days at home when Willow naps, I usually collapse and watch TV, or try to catch up on laundry, have lunch and not do much at all.
But changing my mindset from “I never have enough time to write”, to “I have 45 minutes I could use right now”, or “I have 20 minutes before dinner I could use right now”, has opened up my days like you wouldn’t believe.
Time management has less to do with “managing time” and more to do with managing yourself. It’s an important distinction to make. Self discipline will help you make the most of your time, and get more done.
It’s really easy to feel frazzled, especially as a busy mum, but keep at the forefront of your mind why it’s so important to carve out this time for yourself. While your world may revolve around your children, don’t forget about yourself, and your goals and ambitions, because they are as valid now as they ever were. Your life looks different with kids and you have different priorities, but that doesn’t mean you need to drop yourself as one of them.
Roseanne is the blogger behind the honest and inspirational personal blog Roseanne Writes. Native to Scotland and now calling Canada home, Rosanne helps mothers navigate motherhood while remaining true to themselves. You learn more about Roseanne and follow her personal blog here.