4 Steps to Capture Time to Do Your Creative Work

“One definition of maturity is learning to delay pleasure. Children do what feels good; adults devise a plan and follow it.” —Dave Ramsey

Image courtesy of coward_lion at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of coward_lion at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Your book, painting, or speech is important. You want to have peace in progressing on your project. But there’s no time anymore.

Here are 4 steps to capture peace in this hectic world. Don’t worry. I won’t tell you to work faster. We have our own paces that can be improved only so much.

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

1.   Outlooks

I’m taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University class. He teaches us to view money, our needs, and our wants in a new light. Under God’s principles, we can be debt-free and have money to save, spend, and give. Ramsey says we, not banks, ads, or credit cards, need to tell our money where to go. This is a new outlook.

The same is true for our time. We, not other people or things,  need to tell our time what it should go to. Under God’s principles, we can be rush-free and have time to work, play, and help others.

Image courtesy of worradmu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of worradmu at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

2.   Behaviors

In Ramsey’s class, he tells us we can’t be debt-free and have money to save, spend, and give if we don’t change our behavior. He says we must have a budget we live by that tells every cent of our income where we want it to go. For most of us, this is new behavior.

The same is true for our time. We must change our behavior. We need to have a budget we live by that tells every minute what we decide it’ll go to. If we need help, we can join an accountability group.

For example, I divide my weekdays into 5 blocks of time and assign the work, play, and help I’ll do in each.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3.    Trade-Offs

From Ramsey’s class, he tells us in creating our monthly budget we’ll have trade-offs. Our actual or estimated income is fixed in our budgets. If we decide to do one thing with our money, it means we can’t do something else with it. What we tell our money to do is about making wise trade-offs.

The same is true for our time. Our time is fixed. We need to make wise trade-offs of our time.

If we decide to shop with a friend, spend hours on social media, and sleep in an extra hour on workdays, that’s fine. We get to decide. But what will we trade-off so we can do these things? Time with the kids? Making progress on our creative work? Read a book? We decide.

Image courtesy of anankkml at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of anankkml at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

4.   Emergencies

In Ramsey’s class, we learn to set up an emergency fund so our budgets aren’t attacked when crises arise.

The same is true for our time. We need to build in emergency time into our time budgets. With one to two hours built into your weekly budget for true emergencies, you’ll protect your planned goals.

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How do you fit your creative work into a week’s time?

3 Launch Pads from Which You Can Blast Off Creative Ideas

“In the dust of defeat as well as the laurels of victory there is a glory to be found if one has done his best.” —Eric Liddell

Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you used the same launch pad, the same source, for your creative ideas? Has the distance your ideas have soared become shorter?

Then it’s time you try a different launch pad or improve the one you’re using. Here are 3 launch pads your creative ideas can blast off from.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Launch Pad 1. Your Experiences

This is probably the easiest and most popular launch pad. But in our Financial Peace University class, Dave Ramsey made a poignant point about our experience with money. With credit, debit, and ATM cards, we no longer feel the pain of shelling out money as we do when we count out dollar bills and coins. Instead, the pain comes when a check bounces or we realize we lack rent money.

Possibly, we need to revamp our “experience” launch pad. The experience of attending that class alerted me to how some of life’s improvements have desensitized me. I want to seek new experiences that allow myself to feel all the wonderful emotions God gave me.

My creativity thrives from those experiences in which I feel wonder, surprise, sadness, empathy, pain, awe, joy, my funny bone, etc.

Image courtesy of James Barker at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of James Barker at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Launch Pad 2. Your Research

For us who see research as work, we may forfeit some great ideas if we avoid it. I’m often surprised when I’m reading a book or article and an idea pops up for a project. Or while I’m researching the Internet for my novel, I’m delighted when something grabs me and an idea forms for another activity.

I learned how amazing research could be when I attended an American Christian Fiction Writers Conference when Francine Rivers was the keynote speaker.

Earlier on a cruise in the Mediterranean, I happened to be reading Francine Rivers’s A Voice in the Wind. The ship stopped in places the Apostle Paul visited: Rome, Corinth,  Athens, and Ephesus. I was stunned how Rivers brought alive Rome and Ephesus, whose streets we walked.

At the conference, I said to her, “You must’ve had the same tour guide we had in Ephesus, because you captured what he related in your novel.” She answered, “I’ve never been to Ephesus.”

This experience launched my great respect for research and how it can give me ideas for scenes in novels.

Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Launch Pad 3. Others’ Experiences. 

This could come in the form of eavesdropping, an email loop, biographies, famous quotes, friends and family.

After I watched the movie, Chariots of Fire, I watched an interview on the DVD about Eric Liddell. He was the 1924 Olympic medalist runner who refused to run heats on Sunday. Elderly people, who’d been youths imprisoned in the same Japanese interment camp as Liddell, related Liddell’s selfless service. His example for youth as a runner and missionary touched me.

This birthed the idea for my hero in the romance I’m working on. My hero also saw the movie when he was young and his dream is to be the Eric Liddell of golf. Giving the youth of today a role model.

If you’re running dry for ideas from your favorite launch pad, try increasing your exposure in another.

Do you have another launch pad for creative ideas? How have you used it?