Creative Leaders Make Time Their Business Partner
How do creative leaders intentionally use time to move creative ideas into reality? I’m going to share with you how to create more time, execute ideas and recharge so you can expand the moments between “Not Yet” and “Let’s Go!”
Ask yourself, “How do I experience Time?”
Do you go by the clock, do the minutes and seconds ticking by dictate how you move through your life? Or do you go by your intuition and go with the flow?
How you choose to experience Time (yes, I’m going there with the capital T, let’s think of it as a person, your business partner who has a vested interest in your success) fuels your mindset and how you experience life. You can rush through life, wondering “Where did the day go?” or slow down to be present, to pay attention. Likewise, you can move priorities around to “create more time” for things that matter.
List your priorities and I can tell how you use time for or against yourself.
I used to prioritize perfection. I was obsessed with the details—getting it right, saying the right thing, performing at a high level of professionalism which, if I’m being honest, was ruthlessly exhausting and underwhelming. It wasn’t professional, it was obsessive.
Perfectionism was stealing my Time.
In my perpetual race for the unattainable, I tried to…
Instead, I ended up…
Losing track of Time.
Never having enough Time.
That’s no way to live.
Yes, aim high and have big goals. But, challenge yourself without killing yourself.
Perfectionists, here’s an easy trick to work with Time… and make more of it.
Take it down to 85%. Stop being 150% all the time, it’s exhausting. Take it down to 85, cause ain’t nobody going to notice.
So, the question is, what steals your Time?
Are you ready for your mind to be blown? I’m going to share with you how creatives create Time. But first, here’s a distinction between two different relationships to time.
Monochrons and Polychrons
Monochrons are methodical list makers. I’m a monochron. I prefer to focus on one thing at a time without distractions or interruptions. Schedules and sticking to them is hugely important to me.
Polychrons view time as fluid and flexible. There is always more of it somewhere. They putter and and are fashionably late.
My friend, Vanessa Rodriguez, is the owner of an adorable boutique on Southport Ave in Chicago. I once showed up to her birthday party at 7:30, because, well, that was the dinner reservation. She, and her family didn’t show up till 9pm. Vanessa is a polychron. She works on her own schedule…especially on her birthday. Love you girl!
Where do you fall on this spectrum? Do you control your time, or does time control you? Both types of people are needed, for different reasons.
Creative leaders who are actively engaged in their personal transformation intentionally prioritize time for: Creation, Execution, and Recharging.
Prioritizing these activities is essential to personal growth as a transformational leader and to the growth of your team, organization or social cause.
How do creative leaders make more Time to create?
Create white space in your day. White space is a design element where the designer purposefully adds a blank space for your eyes to rest on, or to make you pause on a specific area of the design.
You need white space on your calendar for ideas to roll around in your head, to dive deep into the crevices of creativity, and pop up again in a different form. Maybe it’s an hour or two, sometimes it’s 15 minutes. But successful creative leaders create Time to listen to, and explore, their ideas, so they multiply and grow.
In my calendar I have space to work IN my business with my existing clients, and I have time to work ON my business to generate ideas for marketing, or new workshops, or to read a book of someone I admire.
Ask yourself where your best ideas come from, what are you doing?
Where are you?
How do you capture them?
How can you recreate those moments?
I don’t believe in writers block. These are two dueling energies. You can’t desire to be a writer and sprinkle in the energy of a block. You must create the time in your day, week, month and year to spark creativity, and sit down and put pencil to paper.
One of my favorite books and exercises around creativity and creation is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. There’s a reason that it’s been a best seller for decades (it is simple advice and it works.)
How do creatives schedule more time to execute their ideas?
The best way to limit your future is to not plan for the present.
I always say “Your future Self cannot be trusted.” You’ll feel tired, you’ll feel “not ready” you’ll find anything else to do, other than that big amazing idea that you just created. So, right after the brainstorm, when your energy is high vibe, ask yourself, “How much time do I need to block out in my calendar to create that?”
And then book it, it’s non-negotiable. Do you know why people come up with groundbreaking ideas in their garage? Because they are in there with the doors closed and have no where else to go. After the plague comes the renaissance my friends, get ready! Creatives are in their garages right now creating, ideas are ready to explode and I want you to be on the forefront of that wave.
How to set up your Execution Time:
- Set boundaries: say no to things that are not in alignment with your creativity
- Communicate: tell your co-workers, your friends and family what you are creating and ask them for their support
- Be weary of being obsessed (obsessed is the masculine version of perfectionism) Execute your idea to 85%, it doesn’t have to be 100% yet, you are the idea generator, this is a prototype, it’s not the iPhone 12. It’s like the iPhone 0.05.
How do creative leaders recharge?
Time is not a renewable resource, but your energy and focus are.
In my calendar I have four checkboxes next to everyday to remind me to
- take my vitamins
- drink water
Yes, these are basic moments of an adult day, but, be honest…you’ve forgotten to take your vitamins haven’t you? And do you carve out moments to meditate everyday? Now I have a simple way to hold myself accountable.
I also have a Google Calendar for 8:15am that says, “Best Day Ever” so I’m gently reminded that today, is indeed, going to be the best day ever.
Surround yourself with good people. High quality people that light you up. Remove toxic people from your life, people who drain you of energy and finances. Seriously, they need you more than you need them. If you feel bad about it, consider how much time you’ve already wasted on that dead-end relationship. Do yourself a favor and take control of your time.
Now, here’s my challenge to you: Add Time to your calendar this week to Create, Execute and Recharge. Change doesn’t happen unless you do.