I’ve had a couple people ask me lately how I schedule everything that I have going, and how I have become so “disciplined” (her word, not mine. haha)
So today, I’m going to let you into the swirling vortex of my creative world. Buckle up!
Most importantly, I play to my strengths.
My Meyers Briggs personality type is INTJ, so I’m naturally very analytical and structured. I embrace that as much as I can in my life and creative projects, without letting it smother my inspiration. There’s a corresponding trait to all our natural bents, the thing that happens if they run unchecked. Mine is not leaving room for the unexpected. Once I get a plan in place, I tend to execute it, disregarding anything else that might get in my way. So this last year or so has been one of constantly checking in with myself, to see if my goals are still serving me or if I’m just hustling because they are there.
I value my time as much as I value my money.
I only say yes to events or people that I 100% want to engage with. I don’t believe in “should”. I guard and budget my time more strictly than I guard and budget my bank account if we’re being honest. I also acknowledge that I'm currently in a place where I can afford to do this, and not everyone is. Sometimes financial security is the top priority, but I'm saying that our time holds intrinsic worth in a whole different way than finances do.
I am a huge fan of automation & efficiency.
I automate and maximize the efficiency for absolutely everything I can in my life. For me, this looks like:
Using a grocery delivery service - Grocery shopping used to take a good couple of hours a week for me, plus it wasn’t something I enjoyed. The store and people are overstimulating and overwhelming. It’s an exhausting experience for me as a HSP. Getting my groceries delivered takes me at maxiumum half an hour to put in the order, and about ten minutes to put the groceries away when they come. I just bought myself about 90 minutes of my week back.
While I’m reconsidering this due to some personal work around expression and identity, I don’t get fancy or worry too much about what I wear. For some people this is an act of self expression (and I’m trying to find that part of myself again, so putting a *little* more energy in here) but I have easy, go to things to grab and wear in the morning. I can be dressed and out the door in 15 minutes, which leaves time for me to read or write in the morning before work for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour, depending on where I’m working that day, and if I showered the night before.
I like to shower at night because it helps me wind down for bed. It buffers my screen time and my bedtime, and gives me more time in the mornings. I use a lot of dry shampoo, and usually take a longer shower where I wash my hair and such one to two times a week. This cuts the time I spend in the bathroom in half (at least) for five days a week.
My house is pretty gross. I probably clean actively once every month or two, and my husband and I do the regular stuff like laundry and dishes together or we swap off.
I order basically everything online, I very rarely go shop in a store (see my feelings about groceries above.)
I maximize every minute
I have at least a 30 minute commute to work almost every day, and I usually listen to audiobooks and / or mindset podcasts while I drive. I also try to take a walk on lunch and listen to the same, or sit and read if its gross outside. That gives me up to 90 minutes a day where I’m educating myself, 5 days a week. It always feels like there’s more I want to absorb, but that’s quite a chunk of time if you think about it!
This frees up my nights and weekends to mostly do things I really want to do.
I also don’t have kids at this stage of my life. I know that if I were a mom, really everything structural would be out the window because that stage of life will depend heavily on meeting their needs as well. Not that I wouldn’t have similar considerations, but my “ME” time would look different.
When it comes to structuring my creative pursuits, again, I’m naturally really focused and goal oriented. I am motivated to do this stuff. If it wasn’t something I wanted to keep coming back to, it wouldn’t be worth it for me. I think this is a sign of finding my purpose, it’s the thing that won’t leave me alone. It’s the thing I’m scribbling ideas down in my notes on my phone, and on my to do lists at work about. I can put in this initial grind because I feel like I’m doing what I need to be doing, whether one, one hundred, or one thousand people read it.
I do the bulk of my scheduling (and writing) for the week on Saturday mornings. I also usually do self portraits and take photos during this time too if I need to. My husband likes to sleep way in, so this gives me uninterrupted quiet, sometimes from 6-8 hours. I schedule (right now) three blog posts, seven Instagram and Facebook posts (these are usually the same) and an email update every week. I’m still working on ways to get more efficient with this, especially as I am wanting to spend more time working on my book again.
I have topic ideas for all my blog posts and emails written out 2-3 months in advance. I try to leave myself breadcrumb trails and outlines of posts to come back and flesh out, so I rarely feel like I’m starting from scratch. This helps me avoid a block although sometimes that still happens!
I know that for a lot of creatives, this will sound really overwhelming and suffocating. That just means it isn’t your process, and that’s totally fine. This works for me, the analytical, goal oriented, scheduler woman. I work to create pockets of time, and then I have options of what I feel like needs to happen in them. For example before work in the morning, I can either work on writing something for the following week, work on my book, read, journal, or just look off into space. The important thing for me is that I’ve given myself the time to have those options.
I talked about my mantras for creatives a couple weeks ago, and all those have been instrumental for me. I work to surround myself and prioritize things that feed my inner creative. That can look like having houseplants and gardens, listening to inspiring music, and following inspiring creative accounts on social media. (I’m going to be writing about some of my favorites soon!) It can also look like always giving myself the option to take a break and tap out if my structure isn’t working for me.
I am becoming a big believer in personal seasons.
If I know what season I’m in, and I play to that, I’m happy and productive. Here’s the thing, we can only be in one season at once. One season has to die, has to end, to make room for a new one. I have a million interests I’d like to be pursuing right now, but I KNOW it’s my season for creating this space, and I’m 100% in for that. I look for signs of transition, signs that seasons are ending and not serving me in the way they once did. I work to hold them openly and participate with them as they come, instead of expecting myself to always be doing everything.
So that’s the microscopic level of how I find time to create. I hope it’s been helpful!
Megan is a writer and creator from Wallingford, CT. She is passionate about empowering women to step into the full power and identity they were created to embrace and claim.