How to Find Time for Your Passion Project
I LOVE seeing creative mamas in action, (creatives in action periodt!) And if you're alone in a room with me for more than an hour, I will probably give you an idea for a creative business, or suggest several ways to scale your existing business, just by getting to know your passions and talents (one of my strengths, (Individualization) is getting to know people's unique qualities and strengths of others - pretty cool, huh?). I love people getting to do what they do best. So with a little time, I go to work
Usually, the conversations follows with two major objections:
1.They’ve actually always dreamed of doing something like that with their passion, but have no idea how to get started.
2. They want to get started, but have no time for their passion project because they’re already so busy.
I’ve been there. Shoot, somedays I feel like I’m STILL there. But I’ve had to get real about how much time I have to spend, and I realized I was spending WAY too much time in places that were NOT going to help me focus on building my business.
Here’s how I continue to carve out the time I need to focus on building and scaling my creative coaching business - these tips may help you as well!
I realize this may not be as easy as it sounds during COVID, and for some it may not be financially feasible, but let’s brainstorm a bit before you say it’s out of the question - you may have more options than you think!
Knowing young adults that we love and trust has been such a critical help in this area - loving and responsible young adults are always looking for extra income, and paying them for a few hours to babysit helps them, helps you, and gives your kiddos a much needed breath of fresh air with people who care about them and will keep them safe, but are probably WAY more fun and cool than their parents, lol.
We were able to hire a college senior from our church who we LOVE. She babysits for our family 12 hours per week and is one of the kids’ favorite things to look forward to. Mine too, lol. I get so much done when she’s here. But when she’s here and I just need a break, I take one.
Do you have a responsible younger cousin, neighbor, or teen from your church who might be looking for added income? Interview them and see if they’d be a good fit to support your family during this time. Your children will benefit from other cool and responsible young adults, and you’ll benefit from having some free time to create and build your business.
Have Someone Clean Your House
Full transparency. I thought this was for rich people, lol. But in my late twenties, before they had children, friends of our shared that they had a cleaning person. And another friend shared. And another. I was a new mom and was completely overwhelmed with trying to keep my house clean. Hiring someone to help on a bi-weekly basis was one of the smartest moves, and wisest investments, I ever made. In some seasons, this has been harder to afford, and I’ve needed to budget more tightly, but it has always been worth it to not have to find time to deep clean.
Get Your Meals and Groceries Delivered
This is another one of those changes that is so simple, it’s genius! Having groceries and household items delivered to your door not only helps you reduce your exposure during the pandemic but saves you time and hassle. Sometimes you need to take a leisurely stroll around Target, but the joy has kind of dwindled for me given how stressful it can be in the stores during this time of social distancing. I also found myself spending much more time, and money, at the grocery store, yet still having to come home and figure out how to turn these ingredients into meals, LOL. So we signed up for a home meal delivery service and I am THRILLED with how easy it has made our evenings.
Trade Sleep on Select Nights
This is not something I recommend as a life practice...cuz I dunno about YOU, but I NEEDS MY SLEEP! If I don’t get a solid 7-8 hours each night, I’m on the hot mess express the next day. But there are a few nights per week where the stakes are a little lower and the sleep tradeoff won’t affect my productivity the next day.
Fridays and Saturdays I don’t have a ton going on, especially outside of the house. We’re doing projects, cleaning, organizing, and laundry for the week ahead. So without needing to get up and teach H&H in the morning, or needing to log in for work, I’m free to stay up later and do whatever I want. Now. What I WANT to do is watch my shows, eat brunch, have mimosas, and fall back asleep. And some days I do just that. But when I’m trying to level up in my business, I don’t get to do that every week. By waking up earlier or going to bed later on these days, I am able to spend 2-3 hours after the kids go to bed planning the week ahead, creating content, drafting my blog posts, researching, and more!
Sleep is essential, especially for me, lol, so don’t leave here and say, "Shanell said not to prioritize sleep!" - I DIDN’T SAY THAT! But I AM telling you to choose to build out your business on select nights when you can afford to be up later and/or earlier.
Need to be in bed early? No problem, chances are that means you’re an early riser and prefer to set aside this time in the morning before everyone else wakes up - this is also genius! Whether a night owl, or early bird….do you, boo!
Plan Ahead and Keep on Planning
This goes hand in hand with the above point. It never fails that on the weeks where I fail to plan out our family’s week….write down appointments and meetings so everyone can see them, print out the kids’ school work/projects, think about meals and grocery shop, etc in advance then I definitely planned to fail. Or at least struggle way more than I would otherwise.
One of my natural talents is Discipline - this means that my world is best described by the order I create. I am great at creating a plan where there is none, and sticking to that plan to see it through. This helps us out in our home so much, because Dev is not a planner, but he is amazing at executing my plans - we make a great team in this area.
So if you’re not already planning thinking through the pieces of your week BEFORE they happen, it’s time to start. Ask yourself, what happens in our house every week or everyday without fail and am I using my natural strengths to make these tasks easier and more manageable?
Automate and Optimize Your Life
There is no limit to the things we can set on autopilot in our lives, but I know I for one am guilty of not utilizing all of them to their fullest potential. Reason being? Automation takes planning.
To auto-pay your bills, you have to know your income and paydays in advance to ensure you’ll have the money to cover the auto draft from your account.
To have meals and groceries delivered when you need them, you have to plan out your meals, take inventory of your pantry, and get your order in before you need your ingredients.
To automate your content, you have to sit and write it out in advance of the post, not while you’re posting.
To automate your businesses processes, you have to know what they are and not make them up as you go. Now. Does this mean we don’t have learning curves? Absolutely not. We are allowed to grow into these places, but in order to get a place where we can automate to make our lives easier, we have to do front-work.
These are all lessons I’ve learned the hard way, and still get reminded of because with so much going on, it’s so easy to forget to do these things or get so busy that they get pushed to the bottom of the list. But without fail, my week feels harder when the pre-planning and automation don’t happen.
When the other pieces of my life are planned in advance and automated, I have more larger pockets of free time that I can use to journal, plan, schedule, and create!
Set Aside Small Amounts of Time Each Day vs Large Chunks on a Single Day
It never fails that on the date an assignment is due, I have a student email me and tell me they couldn’t do their assignment because THE DAY they were going to work on it, something crazy came up. Well, yeah….that never fails when we leave things to the last minute.
I always remind my students, and my clients, that Rome wasn’t built in a day..…neither was an amazing and thought provoking paper or project. Some of us are amazing naturals at the last minute miracle, but if you’re anything like me you need to spread your focus out over time.
When working on a creative task or project, if I try to sit for a long work session, I seem to waste lots of time on distractions, and just as I get going I am interrupted or need to stop. I find I am more productive when I dedicate smaller chunks of time to a project and make incremental progress rather than trying to knock everything out in one sitting.
This way, I can work in energy bursts, I can check my work as I go, and I don’t become overwhelmed with the magnitude of the project.
Track and Reduce Time on Social Media and Watching TV
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but track your time, sis. Oftentimes, when we comment on (or in my case, complain) not having time what we really mean is we don’t have energy. Because we waste PLENTY of time. Scrolling on one app or another, binging an entire season of a series, scrolling some more, not going to bed early so we then can’t get up early….I know you know what I mean so I won’t go on.
YES WE ARE IN A PANDEMIC. YES WE ARE IN MIDST OF ANOTHER CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. YES AN INSURRECTION JUST HAPPENED. YES WE REALLY ARE TIRED.
More like exhausted and suffering from a 2020 hangover.
While balance in life is a myth in my opinion, I do know there are plenty of areas where I’m wasting time, and a simple reallocation of that time can help set me up for success in other areas.
Here are a few of my go-to strategies for achieving some “balance” in this area:
Indulging in one or two episodes instead of a whole season
Scrolling for 15 minutes as a reward for every hour of work I do instead of losing 45 minutes on social media at a time
Searching hashtags I use to engage with like-minded content creators vs an hour mindlessly scrolling.
We need to give our minds, in addition to our bodies, rest. But if the goal is to carve out time to turn these passions into profits we have to rely on our strengths and internal disciplines to shift our time accordingly.
Remember: time and talent are two precious resources that we waste so much of. Be sure to use and protective yours as much as possible!
Partner with Your Partner(s)
I have so much love for the single mamas out there - I was raised by a single mother, who was raised by a single mother. I know this struggle from a very personal place. I think about how HARD it is to mom with help, and have so much more respect for my mom when I’m in my own struggle. So I know that not everyone has a dedicated partner/significant other, but we hopefully all have a community of people we can partner with.
This means asking your partner to take the kids to pick up your drive up groceries or Target order, for a bike ride, and to eat lunch outside in the yard or driveway so you can get some uninterrupted time.
Sometimes this means calling an aunt, cousin, or grandparent in your quarantine pod and asking for a break. I realize this may bring to mind a different set of struggles for some of you who really don’t feel as though you have a village - I can relate to this as well. Our family relocated four years ago, and while it sometimes felt like we had such a large community in our new town, there have been other times when we felt so isolated and alone in raising our children.
If that sounds like you, then it’s time to start building that community starting with a network of young adults who can provide playmates while offering you some relief!
Strategize for the Future
Some of the reasons I have struggled to move forward in my business in the past, is not knowing what to prioritize. New entrepreneurs can sometimes be confused or misaligned on what the most important pieces of a business are, and thus spin wheels in places they don’t need to just yet.
The first step I take with clients is getting crystal clear on inner strengths (so we know what super powers will help you most), vision and mission (knowing your why is key to understanding where you’re headed), and the goal (what do you want to do, and why)?
These are the foundations to establishing a strategy for your business. Partnering with a coach was the key to establishing crystal clear vision and strategy for my business.
Little Changes Add Up to BIG Results
The combination of these changes have resulted in MAJOR productivity wins for me and my business. I use the time I’m able to carve out to level up my business by becoming more clear, more planful, and more prepared.
Not sure how to implement these steps? Struggling with the strategy you need to pull it all together? Let me help you out by hopping on a free strategy session with me.
I can’t wait to hear if any of the above steps are ones you’ve thought about, or have already put into place to create the time you need. Share below, and let me know which step has been most helpful!