How 15 Minutes of Creativity Can Change Your Day

ready for paint

So many days I want to create, but feel I don’t have the time. Left unmet, the desire turned into discouragement as I looked day after day at my art desk with it’s blank watercolor paper taped down to the painting board.  Finally, I decided just to start a painting.

I didn’t actually paint, I sketched out what I wanted to paint. Then, the next morning, I started to paint. I didn’t finish and I kept at it the next morning.  Then I took a course called “Boot Girls” with Christy Tomlinson. She paints fairly fast and in that course she kept the art small. I took her cue and began to fill a book with my own girls, one watercolor sketch at a time, realizing I could complete a girl in about fifteen minutes.

I didn’t do it every day, but many days turned into a full sketchbook.

boot girl 1

It was doing things like this that got me out of a very rough season of burnout.  I wrote about that experience on this post.

That’s the magic of the 10 Minute Creativity Practice.  Ten minutes gives the illusion that it’s not enough time to get anything worthwhile done. But keep at it day after day, even three days a week, and you’ll see projects get finished, gifts made, sketchbooks filled, books and blog posts written and songs learned.

Best of all, you’ll begin to wake up and see the world and life in a new way. It’s practically magical, but the process is quite simple.

Along with seeing things differently, did you know inserting more creativity into life is good for our brains, our health, even our relationships and careers?

Creativity helps stimulate the right side of our brain. There’s been debates over the years of left side vs. right side of the brain people and honestly, I’m not so much into that particular argument. I want all of my brain to work, both sides please!

Practicing right-brain creative exercises helps to strengthen the brain’s ability to solve problems, giving help to the left side’s more logical and analytic nature. The right side of the brain is responsible for more abstract thinking and problem solving- which comes into very good use into all sorts of health, career and relationship aspects of life.  I need all the help I can get when it comes to being able to solve problems better.

Incorporating creative practices into our lives helps decrease burnout. I’m focused a lot of burnout right now.  Beginning to incorporate more creativity in my life helped me reduce stress, think more clearly and pivot my career.

Adding creativity helps  build confidence.  For some reason, we stop adding skills to our list of things to do when we become adults and get into careers, relationships, etc, especially if we’re in the same jobs and live in the same place for extended periods of time. Learning something new becomes intimidating.

When you re-start your creative love- whatever it is- and start getting better, faster, more skilled, it opens up the possibility in your brain of learning new skills in other areas of your life.

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Set aside a time and decide ahead of time that you’ll do it.

Don’t let your emotions dictate it. My emotions tell me to hit snooze one more time on the weekdays. Or two. Or three. My emotions whisper that it would be easier to watch the show and fold laundry than to work on my next sketch. I have to decide ahead of time, “this is what I’m doing, regardless.”

  1. Set aside a basket, desk space or other “space” for your work.

If I don’t set up my space, I’ll spend the ten or fifteen minutes cleaning the space and not get everything done!  So frustrating!

gessoed paper

Keeping a space may also mean doing the needed prep for the work. For me that may be prepping paper or wood with gesso for painting, taping down watercolor paper, getting supplies in order, cleaning the accumulated pile of stuff on my desk, etc.

  1. Write down what you did.

I’ll put a note in my calendar of what I did. Wrote a blog post. Finished making birthday cards. Number X sketch for series complete.

  1. Enjoy your accomplishment.

Most people won’t set aside time to invite creativity into their lives. They’ll think it’s a good idea but brush it off as something only other people have time for.

Be different than the herd. Begin to set your life according to what’s most important, not what is most demanding. Add art in to your life and see how it changes your day.

You don’t have to have three or four hours in order to enjoy your creative hobby. You just need 15 minutes of creative practice to change your day.

What will you start creating this week?

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