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?

4 Ways to Free Yourself from Procrastination in Your Creative Endeavors

“Procrastination is opportunity’s natural assassin.” –Victor Kiam

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We don’t plan to procrastinate. We want to fulfill our obligations and move forward. But too often we don’t.

Let’s face it. Procrastination is a weird kind of selfishness, because it robs others and us of benefits and joy.

Fear is often the root of procrastination. What are we so afraid of?

  • Fear the work isn’t the right thing to do
  • Fear the work will be overwhelming
  • Fear we don’t know how to do the work right
  • Fear we’ll abandon the work

If these fears muck up our minds, we need to do something about what we allow in our thoughts. 

4 Ways to Free Yourself from Procrastination

mp900398793.jpg1. Prevention. Take a half hour and list:

  • what you like to do,
  • what you’re good at,
  • what you believe in,
  • what challenges you in a good way, and
  • what you’re called to do.

For help, see 4 Choices That Improve Your Perseverance. Let’s call this list your Character Manifesto. Be honest.

Remember, work ends up on our plates because we say yes to someone’s request or our eyes light up at some work that looks interesting, noble, or lucrative. So, stop before committing to anything and ask yourself: Does my Character Manifesto support this job? If it doesn’t, it’s likely not the right thing to do. So, say no thank you, or think and pray about it before committing.

You’re less likely to procrastinate on work associated with items on your Character Manifesto.

id-10055355.jpg2. Planning. Once you’ve committed to a wise number of right projects, you can prevent them from looming. Even if you dislike planning, you can jot down what projects are due in the next few months. And under each project, what tasks need to be accomplished. Then decide what tasks you need to get done next week.

I can’t stress this enough: assign a sufficient block of time for each task. You already know your most likely interruptions, so wisely plan that block of time around them. Then forget about all tasks except the one assigned for the current block of time.

You know all tasks have been assigned a block of your time, so you can relax and actually look forward to and enjoy your next task.

mp900442329.jpg3. Permission. Now that you’ve assigned sufficient time on your schedule for the right jobs, you need to address niggling thoughts you may fail at doing them right.

Train your thinking. Give yourself permission to ask for help when needed. That’s so smart. To view the task as an adventure. That’s so fun. To realize failure can be a great learning experience for the next attempt. That’s so freeing.

Who better to do the task than you: it fits your Character Manifesto, you’ll get needed help, and you’ll look forward to hindsight if your adventure turns out different than planned.

mp900401598.jpg4. Accountability. You’ve scheduled the right jobs and have given yourself permission to enjoy the work and accept the outcomes. Yet, you fear disappointing people if you get bogged down in other things and fail to finish projects.

Turn your fear into constructive action. Create or join an accountability group that has no investments in your projects.

Your accountability partners have little concern about the success of your projects. They expect you to complete what you determined were the right things to do. Your weekly reports to your group should show them you planned well and worked as planned.

Members can help you look at your pressures and problems more objectively and make suggestions to get you back on track. Plus, they’ll cheer you on.

Having accountability partners helps you to plan well and do what you planned to do.

What works for you to give procrastination the boot?