Guest post by Martha Moger
So how do you juggle kids and run a business?
How do you even find the time to make things?
I’ve heard these questions asked lots of times and I have the answer – but you won’t like it.
We’re all looking for a silver bullet to get stuff done then find time for what we love. But the truth is that we use our time badly, don’t prioritize and set unrealistic expectations about what we can achieve in the time we have.
Since I’m horribly guilty of all of these, I want to tell you four simple steps to take, without a mention of a productivity app, about how I’ve found more time to make, in the hope that you can do the same.
Make a Date With Yourself
Life gets busy and if we wait for moments just to come, they probably never will. Set aside a time for your creative passion – anything, even half an hour a week – and then guard that appointment with yourself like it was a bar of solid gold. If someone needs you in that particular time slot, the answer is no.
Know What’s Next
If your day is full of interruptions or you’re working long hours, spending time getting into your “creative flow” is a luxury you don’t have. When my kids were tiny and I was desperate to exercise a little creativity during naptimes, I found I spent the first half of that precious time just thinking about what I was going to do.
So, I did one simple thing.
At the end of every creative opportunity I had, no matter how short, I wrote down what I had to do next to make progress on my project. I did this in a notebook kept for the task and I only wrote down the very next step, not the next four.
I started to take every chance I got to work on my projects, no matter how short, because I knew I didn’t have to spend time thinking about what to do next. I was just able to look at my book, see the next step and do it.
Action – not thinking about action, began to allow me to move forward.
Know Where Your Time Actually Goes
Something I’ve started to do recently is to keep track of how I spend my time. I’ve discovered that if my kids are out for three hours and I’m looking forward to that time to work on my project, I might “quickly” load the laundry, tidy up and wash up the breakfast pots before starting work.
In truth though, these “quick tasks” take an hour and I’ve found that I’m actually making less progress than I hoped for the simple reason that I’m not actually spending the time I thought on my work.
If you’re time poor, get in the habit of writing down what you’re doing with your time and find out where it’s going. You might be surprised to find you are actually using it in a very different way to how you thought.
Be brave – make choices
It’s obvious to say, but there’s nothing you can do to create more time. If you’re planning to finish knitting that jumper, nip to the shops and cook dinner in the next hour, be realistic and know it’s not going to happen. Make a choice about what is the most important and prioritize. This will mean saying no to things, even things that would be really good to do.
I recently turned down an offer to help every week at my kids school, even though I’d really like to go and help. I just know every hour that I’m at the school is an hour I’m not spending on looking after my family or building my business, and so I had to say no. These things are my priorities and I want to do them as well as I can.
There are always going to be things like housework and paying bills that you just need to get done. But we have just one life, and time is short.
Don’t let it pass you by without making time for the things that make your heart sing.
How do you make more time for the things you love? Let me know in the comments below.
When she’s not playing Lego Star Wars with her two little boys, or designing modern sewing kits for her kids craft brand ‘Gidsy and Jo’, Martha Moger writes about creativity and motherhood at Gidsy and Jo and helps big kids to sew with and for their little ones. You’ll find her on Instagram and Pinterest.