Time & Energy are Two Top-Important Creativity Resources:
I began exploring the idea of creativity resources earlier in the month with a post about Money, and now I want to take some time to talk about time & energy. If you want to live a creative life, whether in “the arts” or any other pursuit that requires the use of problem-solving skills or imagination, it’s important to take stock of how you use your resources.
Time is a non-renewable resource. We can’t manufacture it, but we can be intentional about how we spend it. Energy is a renewable resource. Our choices can significantly impact its generation and supply. The way we balance these two has a critical impact on whether we live with creative vitality or with creativity that withers.
Out of Balance?
If you have hours of extra time on your hands every week but are burned out and depleted by the other activities in your life, you won’t have the clarity you need or the ability to accomplish the things you want to accomplish. Time without energy often ends up being spent on basic veg-out exercises or in a spinning stupor of unfulfilled intentions.
On the other hand, you might be brimming with energy but have your schedule so jammed with activities and commitments that there’s no time to breathe, let alone to excel at your tasks or extend yourself into areas of imagination or innovation. Don’t get me wrong–I don’t think it’s bad to have a life that’s full of activities and commitments if they are things that fit with our highest values and life priorities, but so many of us struggle with going on a type of auto-pilot in which we allow our time to be filled without our consent or awareness, and this is a surefire way to invite creative frustration.
Do You Relate?
I have struggled in both of these areas at various points, and I still have a lot of room for improvement.
Working long hours at a demanding job can sometimes zap me in the time management arena. It can be difficult to find a balance between office life, family, social relationships, and basic daily responsibilities like laundry, dishes, or lawn care. There are only so many hours in the day! If I want to have time to work on my creative pursuits, I have to be selective about where I invest my time and look for efficient ways to accomplish my other tasks.
The energy management topic is also difficult for me at times. Having a chronic illness sometimes fights against me when I try to take steps to improve my energy levels and can blindside me with a sudden dip in energy at times, seemingly just when I need it most. But I also know that there are times when my own choices (in terms of nutrition, sleep, activity, etc.) can deplete (or at least not positively feed) my energy reserves. If I want to have time for creativity, I have to do whatever I can to make healthy, positive choices about my energy; I can’t control everything, but there are some things I can do to have a higher probability of success.
So Then What?
I don’t want to ramble too much about my personal thoughts on this topic because I don’t see myself as an expert. I just want to nudge discussion about this as I continue pursuing improvement.
Tonight, after I started writing this post, I decided to look on YouTube to see if there were any interesting videos related to this topic. I found quite a few, but one from 99U especially caught my attention. I’ll share it below and then leave the floor open for your thoughts . . .
Tony Schwartz: The Myths of the Overworked Creative – This video from 99U explores the importance of time and energy in the equation of creative capacity.
What’s Your Story?
If you’ve had any specific successes, challenges, or interesting experiences related to managing your time and energy, I’d love to hear about them in a comment.
I’m wishing YOU abundant time and energy today!
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