Probably the number one question that I am asked on my YouTube channel is how I find the time to complete all of the different projects that I post. It isn’t easy for sure, but I do manage to fit in a good amount of creative time into my weekly schedule despite having elementary aged kids at home over the summer. No, I do not have an amazing miracle way that you can create more hours in your day. But I thought I would share a little insight into how I manage my time, when I plan for my creative time, and how I make creativity a priority without shortchanging my family.
I must first preface this all by making two statements:
- Creating content is my job. I absolutely have to make time to create new projects every week and to film those projects or else I would have no new videos to release. And as a YouTube content creator, I do not continue making money if I am not also continually releasing new content. It is how the algorithm works, so I stay on top of it. That being said, the actual creating is probably about 20% of the effort that goes into a typical video. Once the creative project is complete there is photography to be done, editing and voice-overs, uploading and formatting, searching for product links, scheduling, and maintaining social media accounts so subscribers will know when new videos have been released.
- I do not always finish all my projects in a timely manner. Sometimes, I do not finish them at all. That’s just how it happens when there are constantly new projects vying for my attention. It is important to me to be authentic when sharing online. If I am behind on a project or haven’t fully completed one, I like to share that. Sometimes I can get caught up and other times I just have to let expectations go. It happens to all of us!
Tips for Managing Creative Time
Tip #1 – Wake up earlier in the day to make time for your creativity. For me, that means waking up at 5am most days. With kids at home, this is my best chance to find a little bit of actual quiet time! Generally, I wake up at 5am (with an alarm…don’t get crazy!), make coffee, and then head into my creative space for Bible study. No craft supplies necessary. I work through my Bible reading for the day, do a little bit of prayer journaling, and usually wrap up all of that around 6am. Time to get creative!
Tip #2 – Choose a recurring project that starts your day but is not difficult. Around 6am most days you can find me sitting at my desk working in my creative journal. This journal has very few rules. Sometimes I paint or get a bit more involved, but most days I am sticking stickers down, playing with pen colors, and topping it all off with washi. You may have seen some of my morning journaling videos over on YouTube. This practice helps spark my creativity for the day and also calms my brain a bit as the day gets going. It is something that feels very natural because I have been doing it since the beginning of 2021. Maybe creative journaling isn’t your thing. Maybe you would prefer to work on a simple devotional like the 100 Days of Prayer first thing in the morning. Maybe you want to do 3 row of crochet and call it a morning. Perhaps you want to set aside 15 minutes each morning to print out pictures to scrap later, or to put stickers down in your planner. Whatever creative practice you want to do, keep it simple and keep it consistent. 15 minutes is more than enough time to get a little creative energy flowing into your day.
Tip #3 – Take a mid-day creative break. This is a new practice for me! Generally, I record video in the mornings (early), and then break around 8am to take kids to camp or the pool or whatever activity is going on that day, and then return to editing those videos just after lunch time while my kiddos work in some quiet time. I work off and on until it is time to make dinner, getting as much done as my kids allow. I used to save all my personal creative time for when I went to bed, but honestly was too exhausted most evenings to work on my own projects. So, I decided to change it up! Now I take a creative break in the middle of the day. I reserve 20-30 minutes right after lunch to work on a project of my choice. I do this even with a hefty to-do list looming over my head. It has been so uplifting to know that I have this little break to look forward to each day, and generally it gives me an energy lift going into my afternoon work session. I realize that this may be hard to do if you are working in a traditional office setting, but maybe you reserve the first 30 minutes when you get home from work for a creative push. Do it before the dishes and before the laundry. Limit the time and prioritize the activity!!
Tip #4 – Take note of the creative energy needed to work on a project. Projects that are going to take more focus and thought need to be put at a time in the day when you actually have the energy to put into it. By the time it gets to 7pm I am completely spent most days. Often, I feel like the creativity is drained from me. I tend to save easier projects or tasks like fussy cutting, decorating my planners, or coloring for the evening times. There is zero chance that I will have the creative energy to construct a mini album from scratch at 8pm at night. Nope, never going to happen. I realize that is not the case for all people. Rank your projects and place them at a time of the day that works with your brain!
Tip #5 – Make a plan and stick to it (as best you can!). Consistency can actually breed creativity. That might sound counter-intuitive, but I really think it is true. Look at your week or month and schedule your creative time in advance. Look forward to it! Stick to your schedule! Be consistent! The more you do this, the more likely it is that your brain will be triggered as your approach those times of the day or month. Of course, life happens, and schedules do not always stay the same. It happens to all of us. If you miss a creative date, that’s okay, get back on schedule as soon as you can. You deserve to make your creativity a priority. Carving out 30 minutes in a day is not selfish!
Tip #6 – Creativity on the go! All my kids participate in sports. They also participate in Scouts. They also have a million doctor and dentist appointments sometimes. There is always a place we need to be followed by a million more places on the list. I can’t really abandon them for my own personal creative time, because they deserve to get to participate in the activities they are passionate about as well. Plus, they can’t drive! So, I have several bags ready to throw in the car for creativity on the go. Nothing complicated, but I can enjoy lettering practice while sitting at the soccer field. Or I can work in my Cutie Keeper while they are enjoying swim lessons. I do not have to sit idly by at all their practices and events, and I do not have to waste time on my phone either. I bring my creativity with me!
Yes, managing your creative time can be difficult. We all go through seasons of life when it feels next to impossible to carve out a little time to get creative, but it can be done! It is not going to just happen by accident, no matter what stage of life you are in. Be thoughtful about how you use your time, and you might just discover opportunities throughout your day to get your creativity flowing.
Keep it creative,
The Scrappy Wife