It can be difficult to find time to create when you are tired all the time. Life can be very busy these days.  You have so many responsibilities.  It’s not just work.  You have your commute time, things to do with the family, parents who are getting older and need more of your time. And then there’s the bother of getting enough exercise and making the effort to eat healthily rather than just shovelling the nearest crap to hand into your mouth.

So when will you create?  At the end of the day you’re beat and in the morning the snooze button seems to rule.  It’s all very well for those people who you read about who get up at the crack of dawn and do their work before the day kicks off, but you need more sleep than that or you’ll die.

Life can seem such a treadmill that it can be hard to add creativity to the routine even though it is something you really want to do. It is the one thing that would actually make you happy in a sea of stuff that you have no choice but do.

First of all, give yourself a break and pat yourself on the back for attending so well to everything that is in your life.

Secondly, forget about freeing up large swathes of time for creativity and think about how you can do it in small ways that will fit easier around your current routine.

Stolen moments with your art

Liz Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love) says that finding time for our creative work is like finding time to spend with a lover.  Even fifteen minutes of stolen passion before you make dinner is so worth it if you are desperate to see your lover.  Treat your creative project in the same way.

How can you steal precious minutes with it? I can do a page of writing in just a few minutes and if it is handwritten I can literally do it anywhere – on a train, on the sofa or sitting on the bed before I go to sleep because I am desperate to have written something, anything, that day.  Over the course of last year those few minutes here and there became a completed manuscript.

To fit your art into these micro sessions you might have to adapt what it is that you want to do even if it means scaling down your plans or accepting that the project will take longer.  But it is better to do that, and actually do something towards your project, than to do nothing.

Doing something scratches the itch, doing nothing will turn that itch into a big nasty sore that will one day erupt in a bad way.

Learn to say No

To free up time and energy to create take a look at all of the activities that you are doing in your day. Is there really nothing that you can say No to?  Or is saying No part of your problem? If so then click here for some great tips.

To say Yes to creativity you will need to say No to something or someone else.

You might need to tell the people closest to you that it is really important that you get to do thirty minutes a day of your creative project so XYZ isn’t going to happen.  Maybe you need to tell them that you won’t be watching television after dinner, or when the door of your study is shut it really does mean don’t disturb.

Sometimes you have to change your routine

You may have to adapt your creative routine to fit your circumstances.  For the past few months it has worked really well for me to spend an hour writing each morning.  However earlier this week I realised that I was getting too tired, too frequently and that I felt mentally burnt out.  So just for a few days I have decided to suspend this morning routine so that I can catch up on myself and get some much needed rest.

Sometimes you have to go into what I call “nooks and crannies” mode where you just do tiny pieces of your project when you can.  Despite not doing the morning writing shift I have still managed to do one thing towards Gentle Warrior each day and I have congratulated myself for what I have achieved no matter how small it is.

Can you get to bed earlier?

To get more sleep and make it to bed earlier you need to look at where you are blowing time in the evenings.  A clue might be in the amount of time you spend with your face glued to your smartphone or tablet.  It is so easy to burn ten or fifteen minutes on Facebook when you could have been doing something else.

If a glass of Pinot Noir is your friend at dinner, then think about this too.  When my friend Allan Boroughs (author of children’s books, Ironheart and Bloodstone) decided to get serious about his writing, he stopped drinking.  He works on his writing in the evenings after the day job and he found it much easier to do that if he didn’t drink any alcohol.

Be gentle with yourself

It can be hard to fit everything into your life that needs to be done but if you can find some stolen moments to work on your creative project it will definitely be worth the effort. As you begin to prioritise your creativity and commit to it, sometimes time opportunities open up that you didn’t know you had.

When you show the universe that you are serious about your creativity, it often begins to support you in getting it done.

Plod gently through your day. Pat yourself on the back for everything you accomplish and don’t waste energy berating yourself for what you don’t achieve.

Over to you

Now I’d love to hear from you.  Leave a comment and share how you cope when you are too tired to create?  What is your best piece of advice for recouping your energy and getting back to your creative project?  Your tip might be exactly what someone else needs to learn so please do share with us.

Next steps

If you found this post useful then please use the buttons below to share it. You can also subscribe in the box below so that you’re the first to hear when the next blog is published. You’ll get a free copy of The Gentle Creative Manifesto.

Every month I also share the ups and downs of my own creative journey – but only email subscribers get that insider view. Sign up now.