A Maker’s Schedule – Reigniting Creativity

A Maker’s Schedule – Reigniting Creativity

The thought of writing out a schedule, and sticking to it, makes me cringe. My nose crinkles, I scowl at the thought and my entire body goes tense. The dreamy concept of flowing freely through life, with no destination in mind, waking and sleeping whenever, just floating through it all, is what I crave.

I raised my children without “set” schedules. We were not locked into other people’s schedules. We played when we felt like it, napped when we were tired, cleaned when we felt like it, ate when we were hungry. Over time routines with the kids just happened. They evolved organically and it felt good.

“Don’t your spirits rise at the thought of having an entire day free to work, with no appointments at all? Well, that means your spirits are correspondingly depressed when you don’t. And ambitious projects are by definition close to the limits of your capacity. A small decrease in morale is enough to kill them off.”

Paul Graham

Manager's Schedule

Over the past few years I have felt the pressure to change my approach. There is a common notion out in the world that unless you are time-blocking, heavily scheduled, and have a plan for every moment, one just won’t succeed.

Intuitively, I knew that it didn’t feel right, yet I wanted to achieve my goals so I figured I would try to go mainstream.

I read articles and books, I sought wisdom from amazing, successful women, and tried to create within a Manager’s Schedule.

According to Paul Graham, a Manger’s Schedule is for those powerful bosses, ruled by their appointment book, and time-block in one hour increments. If they need more time, they add it, but overall, people that excel on a Manger’s Schedule, do so because their tasks can be completed in shorter chunks of time.

Working within the Manager’s Schedule, was soul crushing for me. I could not get any traction. I would get a lot of “tasks” done yet I was creating anything. It felt like all the magic was sucked out of my world and it was mundane.

Maker's Schedule

A mundane existence does not lead to creativity or joy. My creative spirit was depressed and as a result I achieved even less than before I tried to fit into the popular Manager’s Schedule. I would spend so much of my creative energy trying to fit into a mould that I was not designed to fit into.

As I read through Paul Graham’s essay, a wave of relief flooded through me. There is another way to exist, to achieve goals, and feel inspired! Creating take inspiration, something you cannot snap into existence.

I am a maker. I feel alive when I am creating. Art, crafts, knitting, writing, creating meals, a beautiful home, yoga. I am a creative spirit. I love having a flexible schedule and when I try to imagine it differently, those feelings of the depression of my spirit seep in. I feel restricted and unproductive when the day is heavily scheduled. 

Embracing the Maker's Schedule

Since I still have teens and kids at home, being completely free with my time isn’t realistic, especially since two of my amazing kids are hockey players.

However, rather than attempting to schedule everything, I have started to create routines and rituals that have the flexibility I crave to be creative with enough structure to produce results.

There are set things that I need to complete, however when I chose to complete them is flexible, rather than written into a schedule. 

Since reading Paul Graham’s essay, I feel lighter and I am excited to create a Maker’s Schedule that fits. I am excited to experiment with routines and rituals to see what feels good, rather than trying to fit into someone else’s ideal.

My creativity is reignited and I look forward to sharing the routines and rituals I develop and experiment with!

What are your thoughts? Do you excel with a set schedule or do you crave the flexibility?

Stop Consuming, Start Creating

Stop Consuming, Start Creating

Stop Consuming, Start Creating

That simple statement totally changed my trajectory allowing me to start on the path of creation once again. I first came across this concept while reading a blog post on Mission.org, and it kept coming up. Thank you, Universe!

To move from dreamer to “doer”, the first step I needed to take was to identify my consumption habits and optimise my schedule.

“To become a doer, I had to replace all my consumption habits with creation.”

Originally posted on Quora by Josh Fechter

Consumption Habit #1 - Collecting Books & Information

I absolutely LOVE the library. The HalifaxPublic Libraries are amazing. When I am reading Instagram post, blog posts, etc any books referenced I add them to my hold requests.

You see, I absolutely crave knowing more. I had the opportunity to do my CliftonStrengths Finder and Input is in my top five strengths. I collect and archive EVERYTHING! I love to read.

However, being perpetually in Research Mode was freezing any progress I wanted to make.

The idea of replacing this habit made my tummy hurt. Do I have to stop reading? In that moment, I realized, I did not have to stop reading. I had to stop the habit of collecting books at an alarming rate.

Habit change #1 - Collect the Titles of Books for Future Reading

Instead of placing every book title I came across on hold, I started placing it on “For Later Shelf” (part of the library website). So rather than having piles and piles of books fighting for my attention, I have a list of amazing books that I can come back to and retrieve when I want to. I have an ever changing, ever growing list of books that is there waiting for me, when I am ready, rather than vying for my attention!

Consumption Habit #2 - Subscribing to Newsletters

There are so many amazing newsletters out there! Granted, I want you to subscribe to mine once I am live and I subscribe to handful that are AMAZING!

Yet my Inbox was overflowing with information that I was consuming yet not doing. I tend to be a digital horder at the best of times, so I had to take a look at what was coming in and if it was really brightening my life or if it was dulling it.

Habit Change #2 - Clearing out Emails

I had to align my inbox with my desire to create more, consume less.

If I didn’t read or click for more information in a newsletter, I unsubscribed. Period. No mercy.

Well, that isn’t entirely true. If I have an internet crush on the person behind the newsletter, I chose to follow them in other formats, like Instagram or Facebook.

I also stopped signing up for anymore courses online. It is all the rage these days to have free mini courses. I get sucked into signing up and then not following through due to the “lack of time” that was occurring with my consumption addiction. While all those Master Classes are super tempting, at least for right now, I remind myself I am in creation mode.

Consumption Habit #3 - Time on my Phone

I find myself scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. If I bring my phone to bed, either in the evening or morning (seriously worse than nighttime really!) I find myself getting lost in all the information.

It is so easy to roll over and open my phone, inviting the whole to the world into my barely conscious state every morning. However, this will cause me to totally stall my morning ritual. In fact, there are times I simply run out of time just because I got caught scrolling through endless feeds of awesomeness.

Phones are designed to keep us engaged. I needed to find a way to not even be tempted to take a peek at my phone!

Habit Change #3 - Putting my Phone Away early

I used to have my phone plugged in like on my headboard so I won’t even have to really open my eyes before scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. I had plenty of excuses why the phone had to be there. It was my alarm, I needed to post for work, blah blah blah.

I now put my phone away at night. I cannot reach it unless I get my tush out of bed. This move grew out of my work with Suzanne, my holistic nutritionist at InBalanse.

If I need to set an alarm, we have an alarm clock. I schedule posts now, so I do not feel as tied to my phone. Now, when I get into bed, I do so to sleep! I actually feel a little smug when my husband (who still brings his phone to bed, despite my nudging), stays up on his phone and I am totally in sleep mode.

Final Thoughts

When I came across the article on the concept of stop consuming, start creating, I needed that push to start taking some risks.  Before that point, I needed that incubation period to feel safe, to gain knowledge, and now I am ready to move pass that. I am in the place of creation now and it feels so good!

Have you ever gotten stuck in consumption mode? What helped you get into creation mode from there?

How to Start Meditating (for real)

How to Start Meditating (for real)

I have dabbled in meditating for like ever. I would place huge, unsurpassable goals into my journal and in the end, I wasn’t meditating consistently. Eventually the utter failure would force away the concept of being a meditating ball of bliss.

It was not for lack of trying to meditate. I have had amazing opportunities to learn to meditate with gurus like Davidji while at Wanderlust, and have been exposed to many techniques through yoga teacher training, as well as resources online. When I took the 40 Days to Personal Revolution at Halifax Yoga, I tried super hard to make the meditation habit stick.

I thought guided meditations would make it easier, and sometimes it did. What I didn’t realise is how much I was craving silence & stillness. I wasn’t able to maintain a meditation practice until I strategised and followed the following tips.

Here are 5 tips to get you meditating consistently:

1. Just Start & Keep it Simple

Pick a day you want to start meditating. Don’t get too wrapped up on the concepts of time, like you can only start on a Monday. Just pick a day. 

I have a tendency to get all wrapped up in details. Try to keep it simple. Your practice can ad will, change and evolve over time. The key is to keep it simple and just start. I would argue there is no. “right” way to meditate. If you sit and breath, you are meditating. 

2. Find Your Sweet Spot

Pick a spot in your home that you love being in. If it would help, make that spot like extra special. I have an oil diffuser, salt lamp, and other goodies that just add ambience to the space. I also have a meditation cushion, to elevate my hips while I sit in easy seated pose (cross legged). A pillow from your couch will work just as well.

I made sure my spot was away from the action in our home. With three kids, it can be a challenge to find that spot where there isn’t a lot of foot traffic. Even in the spot I have, the dogs & cat always find me!

3. Attach Meditating to Something You Already Do

For me, this meant as soon as I was done scraping my tongue, brushing my teeth & flossing, I was scurrying to my spot to meditate. If, for some reason that is interrupted (dog pukes, child falls out of bed, etc) it is way harder find my way to that place to meditate.

This technique is called Habit Stacking. Essentially, you attach the new behaviour to an already established behaviour, making it easier to maintain the new habit. If you want to learn more about habit stacking, I would encourage you to check out James Clear and his book Atomic Habits.

4. Start Small - Seriously

I am a dive in head first kinda girl; I want to sprint before I walk. However, when creating a constant meditation practice, I fought my usual instinct to dive and chose 4 minutes to start. That first morning, I was like “Oh yeah baby, I am a meditating rock star!” It felt so good to be able to do it.

By starting off small you are building the habit. Everyday, or once a week, depending on how you feel, you can increase the time you chose to sit and meditate.

5. Track Your New Meditation Habit

I like to journal & bullet journal so I have a monthly habit tracker that I add my meditation practice to. I also use the Insight Timer App, that tracks how many days you have meditated consecutively, total days, and how many minutes. I can get quite obsessive with numbers and tracking, so this totally motivates me to keep with it!

Bonus, Insight Timer is free! There are some options within the App that you have to pay for but the basic tracking is free!

I would love to hear from you! 

Do you have a mediation practice? What has helped you?