Pigskin, pumpkin spice and pugtoberfest all shout out: "fall is here." Yes, summer is long gone, but it sure has left it's mark. Sunblock, water diapers and squirt guns are still part of my home decor. Sookie and Bill may have finished sucking the last bit of your lifeblood and eyeballs out for the season, but they are still playing in the minds of their fans—who are already counting the days until next season.
Whether it's a favorite gourd or spice that is remixed into a new blend of autumn delight or a fresh spin on an old fashioned love story with vampires, shape-shifters and southern bells with psychic gifts; almost everything big and small starts with a seed, a germ of an idea. Combined with consistent watering and nurturing, they can blossom into something bigger. Maybe even something spectacular. But before the seeds could be planted. The ground had to be turned and made fertile. This means pulling out all the weeds and pests that make it hard for anything new to grow, and even if it does, they are ravaged by pests or don't bare any fruit. We all have our own ground to turn, mental roadblocks to clear and creative vampires sucking us dry to get rid of. (Note: playing Farmville is not part of this project. Don't get me started)
So as the leaves transition into fall, what weeds can you pull to clear the groundwork for a fruitful holiday season, new year or next summer? Where to start? Let’s answer that as well as sift through the most common question/objection I hear (and have asked) all too much—Where do you find the time?
If you are like most, the main roadblock is having too much to do. The time between sunrise and sunset seems to go by fast, you catch my Tokyo drift! Between all the obligations to family, friends and Facebook, it is a miracle that we can make it to the lu in time these days. But that's the thing, we all make time for the things we feel or think, we NEED to do. But what if you put a mere 15 minutes aside for that passion project you have always wanted to do. In 15 minutes you could pick out some pictures for that vacation scrapbook, enroll in a creative writing class or draw a big red triple X on your kitchen wall that commits you to getting to that makeover you've been putting off. We need to get rid of the idea we need a large block of time to commit to something or that it needs to be a long drawn out process—it doesn't. The idea is, just start something—something you've always wanted. But don't wait for the perfect project, just start one and give it 15 minutes to nurture and grow every day. In time, you will have quite a crop of nice little achievements or milestones to show for it (just like Rhoel did here with his love of photography). This will lay the ground work for bigger and grander projects.
I know what you are thinking, where do I find that 15 minutes? That may be the easier part of the problem. For many, it can come out of television time. I read that the average american home spends 159 hours month watching television. That's an average of 39.75 hours a week! That's over an entire day and a half! If that holds true, then I am sure we can find a mere 15 minutes to play with and cut down that average to 39.5 hours. That's a few commercial breaks that could be used better. For the fitness-minded actor, that’s enough time to do 8 minute abs, run a 6 minute mile and have some left to practice a 1 minute monologue. Hopefully, you'll find a bit more time. Possibly? Maybe?
But I don't watch television! I hear you. I had been weaning off the hypno-box myself for the last five years. It took parent hood to really kick the habit as my extra time was all filled up with making robots out of legos and reading "A Whale of A Tale". I found myself paying a cable bill for the mental option to watch the shows I liked, despite never actually doing it anymore. So, after some planning, we cut the tv cord last summer. While I did find more quality time with my wife and son, I found I was still not getting to the projects I longed to do. I had to search deeper. For me, television, once the main culprit, was now actually a small part. My time vampire was email, chats and web research. My time killers had very cleverly discussed themselves as part of my work. They called themselves research, staying current on trends, technology and current events. It was all part of being an entrepreneur they reasoned with me. "We're all critical parts of your work, You need us," they'd tell me. No whammy, its just denial and a powerful awakening of how our bad habits can morph into other things to keep us tied to them. I needed to close the Firefox, quit the tweets, let the news ticker tick on someone else's watch to find me some truly effective me time ( at least for 15 minutes—come on).
But it's not television or the internet, I am just too burnt out and overworked by the end of the day, I just don't have the energy? Another objection my mind used against me as well. For this group, it could be remixing the way you spend your waking hours. Yes, I am going to say it—become a morning person. Try turning in early (you're tired right), and get up one to two hours earlier. Start the day with something you really long to do. For me, its a combination of coffee, music on my ipod and the sketch or note pad at 5 am. I take two things I look forward to everyday—coffee and groovy tunes. I blend them with the two things I long to do but always find ways to put off—writing and sketching. It's my time to think about projects, future plans or just doodle aimlessly. The results have sent my creativity through the roof. It's spawned a variety of articles, such as this one and the sketches have begun to generate countless new product ideas. Other times, I get in an early morning workout for an hour and then use the remaining early morning time to think or create. That combination is like rocket fuel for my creativity and not to mention, you'd lose some weight. How sexy is that?
Last time we talked about "do dates" and now we've called out the things that stop us for committing to them. Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg but hopefully it will ask you to look at the things that occupy your free time or how you just spend your time. Redesign your day and perhaps you can find your prime time too. So DVR your Daily Show, Tivo with Glee and for pete's sake, let the Kardashian's pass you by.