I Scheduled My Creative Time For The Last 4 Weeks, Here’s What I Learned

Background — What Is Scheduled Creative Time And Why Should I Care?

Preparation — Scheduled Creative Time Set Up

  • I decided on a day to do this: Friday mornings.
  • I identified and removed any potential bottlenecks that would prevent me from doing this.
  • I created a rough list of things to work on during this time. I took a look at my projects list in Obsidian for some inspiration here.

Week 1

What I Enjoyed

  • Not having to worry about what I should be doing during this time. Because the time was scheduled in my calendar I didn’t have to think about doing anything else.
  • I was able to get into a flow state which meant the time flew by.
  • Doing something different and slightly random was a fun experiment. I still made use of my design skills but was able to create something I wouldn’t otherwise have created.

What I Didn’t Enjoy

  • There were no strict time limits set at this point. This meant I worked on this until it was finished. While that can be a good thing, in my case, I would work better within a set time limit.
  • I didn’t have any pre-defined ideas for what I would do with the results of my creative time. Should I share on social media or keep to myself? Should I publish on my website? Should I just share with my family and friends? I needed to decide on this going forward.

What I Learned

  • I work better within defined time blocks as I know where the edges are in my day.
  • I work well when a lot of the decision-making is already done so I can focus on simply creating. Taking time to plan my creative time in advance helps me to feel more free when creating.

Week 2

What I Enjoyed

  • Learning about OKRs as opposed to SMART goals. This might be something I switch to going forward (I’ve actually made the switch and looking forward to setting next quarter’s OKRs).
  • Seeing how my core values link to my goals was something I was really impressed with. At the start of the process, I wasn’t sure how impactful this process would be but I was definitely incorrect here.
  • I had a more defined time to work in this week which was great. It did mean that my work spilled over as I couldn’t get this done in the time allotted. I ended up finishing this over the weekend which I didn’t mind.

What I Didn’t Enjoy

  • It was difficult to not just copy and paste core values from other people online and use them as my own. I had to constantly remind myself that I was doing this for me and it would benefit me in the long term to do this in my own way from the start.

What I Learned

  • OKRs might be a good alternative to SMART goals.
  • Not everything you do during scheduled creative time will fit into a defined period of time. There may be weeks where something will spill over into next week’s creative time and that’s OK.

Week 3

What I Enjoyed

  • Building in Notion was a lot of fun.
  • I didn’t feel guilty about spending time building something from scratch in Notion. This was my scheduled time for creating!
  • I enjoyed adding my own spin to something like this. I included gaming terminology to make it more engaging and fun for me to use.

What I Didn’t Enjoy

  • Can’t think of anything, really enjoyed this creative time 😃

What I Learned

  • Not to simply copy and paste something, but to take what works for me and use that to make it my own.
  • The value of repurposing content — from one tweet it’s not that hard to generate 4–5 new tweets or ideas.

Week 4

What I Enjoyed

  • Building in Tailwind and using my very limited JavaScript skills to make something from scratch.
  • Trying out a dark mode implementation in Tailwind CSS. Turns out it’s pretty easy once you understand how it works/
  • The challenge of figuring out the JavaScript needed to accomplish each task was just challenging enough.
  • This tool solves a pain point I had at work which made it really fun to work on.

What I Didn’t Enjoy

  • Developing the design was a bit of a slow process, or at least slower than I thought it would be. Going forward I would break down a project like this and work on it over a couple of weeks.

What I Learned

  • It helps to vary what you do during scheduled creativity time each week. This keeps you interested and engaged with what you’re doing.

My Key Take-Aways From This Experiment

  • Creating dedicated time for this practice will help you to stick to it and you won’t forget it easily.
  • Some people work better within defined time blocks. Consider setting a time limit on your scheduled creative time to help you focus.
  • Do as much planning as you’re comfortable with before you start your scheduled creative time. Consider any potential roadblocks that might crop up and how you can prevent them ahead of time.
  • Don’t be frustrated if you don’t complete your project during one block of scheduled creative time. There’s always next week or you could just continue working on it over the weekend.
  • Once you have the schedule and the preparation done, it becomes less about the process and more about creating. After 1–2 weeks, I could sit down and work on something without worrying about tracking my time, other work I needed to do, how long I should spend on the task.

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