Hobbies and passion projects aren’t just fun, they’re good for us.
Pursuing activities that get us out of our heads, give us more freedom than our day to day work, and revel in some creativity can actually re-fuel us for the other, more taxing parts of our lives.
Even if we know that a little down time pursuing our creative goals will make us happier in the long run, it doesn’t necessarily make it easier to find the time to actually make those goals and hobbies happen.
Today I want to share three of my favorites strategies for making creative and purposeful things happen -- especially when you’re dealing with stress, fatigue and burn out, and the idea of making things happen feels particularly daunting.
Start with 15 minutes a day.
It would be lovely to spend hours and hours a week painting or writing, but if you’re like most people, it can be a struggle to actually make that happen between work, family and some semblance of a social life.
Instead, start with small, regular increments of your favorite creative hobby. Don’t underestimate how a small shift in how you spend your time can help you create the foundation for more creative time in the future.
Pay particular to how you feel after these mini-creative blasts. I bet these periods will leave you wanting more -- which is great! Try increasing your creative periods by 10 or 15 minutes a week as you shift your other responsibilities.
2) Join a group or a class.
In addition to helping you carve out set time each week or month for your passion project, the social component of a group or class can help provide friendship and creative support for both your work and your larger goal of prioritizing this time in your life.
Joining a writing a group helped provide a structure for my own independent writing projects. Instead of creating on my own, there was a shared pattern of creating, sharing and revision that helped move me closer to my goals and prevented me from wasting time over-thinking my work all on my own.
3) Plan your own retreat day.
because it’s how I built my business while working full time.
A retreat day is an opportunity to create a conference or retreat for yourself. My retreat days often include learning (like a webinar), some must do business tasks, and lots of time for writing and planning content for my readers.
A retreat day consolidates your creative time into a single day or afternoon -- whenever you have a block of unscheduled time that you can take advantage of.
I like to create an agenda (and I share it with my husband so he knows that I’ll be unavailable!) and I make sure I have my favorite coffee ready for a day of creative work.
The most important component of a retreat day is how you approach it. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to perform or produce a huge amount of work, but rather to produce work and really enjoy the process.
I hope these strategies give you some ideas about how you can make time for your hobbies and passion projects, even when you’re dealing with obstacles. Instead of worrying about your creative output, pay attention to how you feel as you create and shift your energy and time to align with your passion.
Jenn Walker Wall is a Career Strategist and the founder of Work Wonders Coaching and Consulting. She helps busy and ambitious people make important career + life transitions and is the creator Pursuit: a 21 Day Work-Life Detox, launching in July 2016. For more tips + strategies, join the Work Wonders Community at www.workwonderscoaching.com.