It's that time of year. Holiday lists start to grow and decorations are pulled out of the closet. Friends and family ask us, “How are you?” and we answer…”Busy”.
Busy — Yeah, we all are busy but we say it as though it's something to be proud of.
People say to me “busy is good”.
Yeah…maybe. But have we forgotten the value of just being? Is it just me who's more impressed and envious of friends who have an abundance of free time rather than a longer to-do list than me?
I'm not preaching here. I'm just as guilty as wearing the ‘Busy Badge” as anyone. I subconsciously want people to see me as important and in demand and I genuinely feel “busy”. But in truth, for someone in my line of work, being too “busy” is a creativity killer.
I've heard artist friends say the opposite. One friend recently told me that being overly busy makes him more productive. But at what cost?
There's always a price.
Maybe you're busy but it's cost you your time with your hobbies. When's the last time you touched that dusty piano? Maybe you haven't spoken to your college friends in years because there's never a good time.
Maybe you're a creative person and being busy gives you that nudge to keep doing the work, but is your actual work really “creative”. Creative in the sense of new and innovative? Is what you're working on now that different than whatever you were pumping out a year ago?
I ask myself this as much as I ask you.
So today I tell you what I've been doing.
This is how I've been dealing with the desire to find joy and diversity in what I do while making sure I stay busy enough and somehow balanced.
First off, I've been eliminating all the nonsense. For me, this is no longer habitually reading the news or feeling like I have to know everything about what every politician is doing at all times. I don't watch news or gossip reports or reality shows and we don't have cable TV. I don't waste time with toxic people. I don't spend more than 15 minutes (most days) on mindless social media blackholes either.
What I have been doing is focusing on what and who matters.
I currently have three creative projects going on that have my attention, each with a self-imposed deadline and or goal. All other creative endeavors are on the back burner (for now).
1) A new painting which I'm trying to finish within the next few days or week.
2) My book which I currently have 60 pages left to edit (before I go back for some additions and re-writes), I want this done before the end of the year.
3) Two more murals for a yoga school client which I need to do before the end of the year.
That's it for my creative projects.
I also though, have some creative escapes. No deadlines or major goals, but places I go to just to enjoy and stay fresh. I've been working on my guitar chops again and I got back to the climbing gym this month.
I think it's important to schedule and infuse play-time into your week. That's when new ideas come to me and when I feel most “me”. So I prioritize play.
Aside from work and hobbies, the rest of my time goes to my family and me. This includes cuddle time on the couch, pillow fights, day trips to parks and museums and going to the gym frequently.
I'd love to know how you nurture your creativity. Do you find that being “busy” helps or hurts your ability to create? What do you do to just play?
PS: For those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you have a day with family/friends that is fun, happy and full of love. As a side note here —This will be about my 33rd Thanksgiving without a turkey on my plate. We donated money to Farm Sanctuary again this season to save a flock of turkeys.