By Jakob Barry
Everyone?s dream job is to be doing something they enjoy but unfortunately that?s not the case for a large segment of the population, especially in these tough economic times. Rather than holding off on opportunities in order to pursue more meaningful ones many people are settling for whatever they can find in order to pay the bills; a fine and commendable decision but it does have a price.
For example, when spending a third of the day or more at the office five days a week personal interests are often shelved for long periods of time -an unhealthy predicament for the creative individual. In order for a person to really shine such interests need to be fed but how is this done with so few minutes in the day?
Even when time presents itself exhaustion or the need to take it easy sometimes coerces us into watching TV shows passing out on our favorite comfortable chair.
To win the battle takes a lot of effort yet surprisingly, the key to making it happen is no secret. It?s all about maximizing time both at work and at home.
Maximizing time at work:
- Prioritize: Get work done on time and don?t take it home. Set daily goals so when you leave work accomplishments are recognized. Even if you don?t finish what you set out to do, make what?s left a part of the next day?s goals. Bringing work or work-related stress home diverts important energy away from family responsibilities and creative activities. Have a positive outlook that everything is for the good and what you are doing now will benefit you down the road.
- Exercise: Many people think exercising is only about loosing weight or competing but the truth is when you feel good physically other faculties are optimized. Whether it?s a short jog, doing yoga, or an actual sport, working out will help you concentrate on the moment. Find time to fit it in.
- Eat right. This doesn?t just mean eating well. Consuming too much food can make a person lethargic compromising daily goals. Learn to listen to your body when it?s saying ?enough.? Also, instead of drinking a lot of caffeinated soda and sugar drinks which can dry you out find simple and healthy ways to keep going.
Maximizing time at home:
- Prioritize: Don?t come home and spend time thinking about what to do; already have it planned out. It?s a no-brainer that when you come home after a long day you?ll be tired so when family responsibilities are complete regulate personal down time and then get focused.
- Exercise: Many people think exercising tires you out but this isn?t so. Once a routine is established exercising gets the heart pumping waking you up. Essentially, it?s another tool for focusing. If you can?t exercise in the morning before work, try the evening. A work out and shower will get your creative senses and thinking processes flowing.
- Eat right: If you intend to maximize your time into the late night eat earlier and try avoiding heavy foods, which will tire you out and most likely contribute to a slow start the next day. Don?t rely on caffeine for that drive through the night. Teach your mind to be your wings and carry you.
Finally, it?s understood not everybody?s schedule is the same but these suggestions can be applied in different ways through various formats. The most important thing to remember is even when life appears to have made it almost impossible to move forward creatively, don?t give up; keep following your dreams.
Jakob Barry writes for Networx.com, a growing community of users sharing home improvement projects and monitoring new ones in real time allowing homeowners and contractors to get the most from their resources. He covers various home improvement topics, including green lighting ideas, reducing household allergens, and home safety awareness.
I find that planning out a schedule and having a prioritized to-do list really keeps me effective and efficient. Doesn’t work for everybody but it’s just about always worked for me.
20 and Engaged – I do the same thing! A list is an informal agenda, and we all need an agenda. The great thing is that once an item is on my list, it’s right in front of me, as one of several “to do’s” on a given day, and it somehow seems more doable when it’s there.
If fact if I didn’t use to do lists I’d get close to nothing done…
Hi Jakob, I like your points and it’s true that caffeine hurts you in the long run. However, I think caffeine overuse is due to people not sleeping enough. There are very few people who can function well on 5-6 hours sleep, but that’s what most people I know are getting. It’s hard to focus when you are chronically sleep deprived.
Jennifer – I think your onto something with sleep as a factor. Six hours a night is pretty standard for me, 7 is a luxury and 5 is hardly unusual. There just seems to be too much to do to justify the recommended eight hours, but the shortfall does have it’s consequences. It’s definately a negative on the creative site; we can go through the motions and take care of the routines in life, even on less than optimal sleep, but creativity is a different endeavour that requires a well rested mind.
I agree with you and Kevin that sleep is an important factor in creativity, although for me it depends on if i’m writing or doing something more in line with fine arts. If i’m tired but using pastels it’s less trouble than trying to come up with something than meeting a deadline on an article. I sometimes sleep less for one or two nights pushing the creative juices and make up for it the next night or on the weekend…
Not to turn this into a forum on sleep, but one of my kid’s pediatricians told me that we run in three day sleep cycles. We can function for up to three days with very little sleep, but then we hit the wall and sleep deprivation takes over.
I can fully appreciate the need to “burn the midnight oil”, especially when you’re deep into a project and rolling through it, but even then sleep management becomes a factor. Knowing about that three day cycle can help manage this.