Welcome! If you haven’t read Part 1 of this series, then you can if you want to. It isn’t compulsory.
Last time, I wrote about how important motivation is for me making the most of the time I have. When I’m passionate, making time is much easier. Today’s post is about getting boring stuff out of the way and making time for creating. AKA structure and routine. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way around this. Not everyone likes routine, but in my experience it is critical if I want to make time. As soon as I start making regular tasks and activities mindless, it’s amazing how quickly they get done and with very little mental effort.
Don’t waste energy on repetitive tasks – save this for your creative space!
How structured I am varies all the time, but there are some specific things I aim for (and you’re probably doing some of them already!):
Get stuff done ahead of time.
If the idea of cooking dinner in advance for the week fills you with horror (me! me!) then just do what I do. Plan your meals for the week and shop accordingly. I still have to cook each night (or ask my Not-Husband to) but it takes all the thinking out of it. I’ve also noticed that we are wasting a lot less food these days (win!).
Other things that I organise in advance are birthdays (I have gifts, wrapping and cards all sorted about a month in advance), and appointments (kids’ health checks and vaccinations, dental appointments).
The benefit from planning things in advance comes from focusing on one thing, and getting that thing sorted out for as long as possible. When you’re in the mood to buy birthday gifts for your friends and loved ones, why not just get it all done for the month (or even year)? Sometimes, I’m even so good at this that I save money buying stuff after big holidays, like Christmas and Easter, and then putting it away. No really. I actually did that for Easter last year, and this year I feel like a BOSS!
Have a system.
My toddler can destroy a tidy room in minutes. It irks me. (See what I did there? I made out like I don’t really mind, and that it doesn’t make me want to lock her in one of those clear plastic blow-up bubbles, just so that the lounge room looks like adults live here, even if its just for 5 minutes).
But messy play is normal, and really healthy, so I turn the other cheek while she’s
making our home look like a rubbish tip playing. However, when we* tidy up, we can do it really quickly because I have a system. Step one is to gather all the toys together from all four corners of the universe and get them back into her room. Step 2 is to sort them: books, little people, kitchen toys, stuffed animals etc. Step three is to get them back where they belong. All her toys have dedicated shelves, tubs or buckets. We made the initial effort to set this up (thank you IKEA!), and it has paid dividends in terms of time and energy saved.
Off the top of my head, my other systems evolved for: cleaning the house, gardening, cooking and dishes, getting ready to leave the house with the kids, feeding the cats and cleaning their trays, washing our clothes, etc. I won’t go into the details of my systems, but if you’d like to know more, leave a comment or email me.
* Children are never too little to help with packing away their toys. Seriously. If you start this routine when they are little, you will save yourself a lot of angst in the long run. Plus, little kids seem to think tidying up is fun, so you’ll want to make the most of this before they get all snarky and defiant.
Get multiple things done at the same time.
I am the queen of multitasking. I do this as much as possible, especially with chores like watering the garden, dishes, and washing clothes. I am never sitting down (either to rest, work or create) when there can be something tedious getting done that will mean I have more time later.
* * *
On reflection, I make time for creating by being super productive with the boring stuff. And the faster I get the boring stuff out of the way, the more time I make for creating. Multitasking is made more effective by practicing my other two strategies of planning ahead, and having systems in place.
Do you use these strategies? Or do you have others to add to this list? Do you need help with getting a strategy in place? I’d love to hear from you, so please leave a comment or email me!