Is Your Business Drowning Your Creativity?

blue waves

Image by Radhika Bhagwat

Are you spending the majority of your time keeping up with business-related tasks rather than creating?

Are you lacking the passion you once felt for your business?

Is your creative time continually being pushed to the back burner?

If you answered ‘yes’ to the above questions, I’m guessing you’re feeling a bit stretched with all the things you need to be doing.

Growing a business is tough. For most of us, left-brained business growth activities begin to take over and right-brained creative activities begin to feel hurried and expected rather than free and relaxed like they should.

So if your business is drowning your creativity, I’ve got a solution that will dry you out and get those creative fires burning bright again.

You’re Trying To Do Too Much

You know it takes a lot of hard work to build a business. There are so many routine tasks you have to keep up with, like bookkeeping and marketing, but it’s also important to keep your passion front and center, always in your line of sight, so you don’t neglect the reason you started your business in the first place.

Yes, there’s never a lack of things to do if you’re trying to grow your business, but if you overwhelm yourself, the time you should be investing in your craft, your art, or your writing may become limited.

Healthy time management skills are important when it comes to being your own boss and growing a business. It’s important to keep in mind the fact that every new task you take on requires your time – which means your time will be taken away from something else.

You’ve Got Your Priorities Mixed Up

If you’re spending more time on marketing your products than actually making them, developing new products, or honing in on your creative skills, chances are you’ve got your priorities out-of-whack. Your products are what your business is built around you know. They need to be at the top of your ‘important’ list.

Yes, marketing is also a very important part of your business. You have to get your products in front of your ideal customer, but if your product isn’t in tip-top shape, then your marketing efforts will be in vain.

If you’ve put other business-related tasks at the top of your priority list, it’s time for some evaluation and rearranging.

The Solution: Plan for Creativity

Think about how much time you spend a week working on the actual products you sell. Now compare that to the amount of time you spend on other business-related tasks. Are you happy with that number?

If your answer is no, then you need to increase the time you spend on your craft by planning some creative time into your daily or weekly routine.

Now I know a lot of you may be thinking, “What! Plan for creative time? That’s too confining.”

Well, let me explain.

What you’re doing now… neglecting this time until you’re behind and you have to do it… that’s confining. That isn’t going to give you the freedom or the results you want in your business. Planning out creative time on the other hand is very freeing in the fact that this is your time to not worry about anything else, but to concentrate 100% on what you love to do.

So really it’s not as confining as you think. In a sense it’s very freeing.

Scheduling and Protecting Your Creative Time

Once you realize that you actually need to set aside time to create, you need to look over your current schedule – see where you can include this time. Do you need it every day? Do you need it once a week? Maybe twice a week?

When you decide how often you want it and for how long, you need to actually write it down so you don’t forget about it. You’re busy and things are easy to forget, but this is now a priority and you need to remember it.

Now that you have it scheduled, the difficult part is going to be protecting that time and not letting other things creep in and take it over. This is where determination, discipline and will-power come in.

We all have times where we’re not very motivated to do what we need to, but we can overcome that if we keep ourselves accountable.

How about including a weekly or monthly blog post about your new creative time? Talk about what you’re making, your ideas for new products, give a peek inside your studio or notebook, or share what having this time is teaching you. Your readers will love having an inside glimpse into your creative mind.

You could even try posting a full year’s calender in your studio and each day you complete your creative time you can make a mark on your calender to keep track of your progress. Reward yourself with a small treat for every month where you complete your goal. Once you get to the end of the year, celebrate by doing something special for yourself. Come on! You deserve it!

It may take some work at first, sticking with your creative time, especially if you’ve taken on too many other tasks that you’ve deemed ‘important’, but stick with it and over time it will become less like work. It will end up being something that you look forward to and your business will benefit from it immensely.

Long Story Short

You started a creative business, remember? You need time to be creative and if you’ve lost that time because of other tasks that have gotten in the way, it’s time to get your priorities back in line. Finding a time that works for you, scheduling it, and sticking to it can be very rewarding for you and your business – and that in itself can be one of the best things you do to help your business grow.

You and Your Creative Time

How do you get back to your creative space when too much ‘business’ has crept in?

What difference does it make to you personally when you carve out time for creativity

Have you noticed any business benefits from doing this?

About the Author: Meagan Visser is a creative business owner and coach who helps moms learn how to successfully start and grow a creative business around their families. She’s the creator of Creative Business Marketing 101 – a 7 day e-course designed to help creatives get their marketing back on track. Connect with her at MeaganVisser.com and on Facebook.

Get past two of the biggest obstacles you will ever face

Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success

If you want to achieve something original and meaningful with your life, you must learn to deal with rejection and criticism.

Mark McGuinness shows you how to handle them in his new book Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success.

Based on 16 years' experience of coaching creative people like you, Resilience gives you tried-and-tested ways to get past rejection and criticism and succeed on your own terms.

"Read this book and you will be bulletproof!" ~ Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of The War of Art and Turning Pro

Click to learn more about Resilience (and read the opening chapters for free). >>

Responses to this Post

Comments

  1. Good stuff Meagan! The business side of my creative business was definitely encroaching on everything else a couple of weeks ago so I took some drastic action. I had a 72 hour period where all I did was create. No consumption was allowed (food, reading, music, etc) and all I did was create for my business…and a little for fun.

    It was very rewarding and next time I’m going to schedule an even longer continuous creation challenge period.

    • What an interesting idea! A creation challenge. From the sound of it though it seems like you had a creative fast! I’m sure that brews up all sorts of inspiration & really gets your creative mind working. How did you get ready for something like that? Thanks for sharing!

  2. Lovely post Meagan, i find once business creeps in all creativity goes out of the window :(

    • Sadly, but a lot of the time that’s true. Running a business is a lot of work and the bigger it gets, the more work there is. That’s why it’s important to know your limitations and to outsource things when you need to. Plus, you have to keep your reason for being front and center. If you don’t stay true to the creativity that brought your business about, you’ll have a tough time staying in business. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Ah yes, the determination, discipline and will-power to protect that creative time is so very important! Carving out that special time for creativity breeds more creativity … and the wonderful things my mind does when I’m doing what I love never ceases to amaze me! Solutions emerge and new ideas develop. Thank you for the reminder!

    • You’re welcome Gee! And yes, “carving out that special time for creativity breeds more creativity”… great thing to keep in mind. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Personally, when I stop “creating”, my motivation for completing business-related tasks wanes as well. I find making the time for the creative process, innovating, and problem-solving is necessary for my productivity. They feed off of each other. The issue then becomes whether the amount of time devoted to the creative vs. the business tasks are in the right proportions.

    • Good point Jeanne and I think you summed up the whole post very well in your last sentence. Obviously you have to have both to make your business profitable. You have to constantly keep up with the hum-drum of business tasks, but you have to constantly create and recreate things for your business to keep it fresh and invigorating, to stay on top of current trends, & to give your customer something new and exciting. The key is to prioritize, and a lot of people tend to let creative time slip through the cracks. Thanks for your comment!

  5. Really great post, Meagan! I find that for me, when I need to disconnect from the “business” of it all, exercise is one of the best things, and just being outdoors. Actually, reading something just for fun is a great way to do it, too. :)

    • I second the outdoor part. There’s nothing better than some fresh air to get you motivated and to renew you’re energy! Thanks so much for your thoughts Danny! I appreciate it.

  6. Meaty post, Meagan! I think doing the most important things in the morning does help since there are less distractions that could creep up during this time (i.e. unexpected visitors, meetings etc).

    This is a pretty sacred time. I don’t usually wake up pretty early. So I am under a 30 day challenge to wake-up early, I am on day 9 right now. And your post is definitely a great start to my morning.

    Keep it up!

    • That’s a great tip Allan. Thanks so much. Early morning seems to be one of my best times too. Not only am I the only one up, but a nice cup of coffee helps me to wake up and feel inspired and energized.

      Good luck with the remainder of your challenge. I’m sure you’ll do great!

  7. Meagan,

    I totally resonated with your post. I’m a huge believer in the importance of creativity for most people’s businesses (including mine) but at times I feel like the well has run dry. During those times I find that I need to take a break and give it some time. I also keep a list of my most creative ideas that I use as a backup plan. Thanks for reinforcing this important point and I’m looking forward to sharing this post!

    • Absolutely Tom! A list of creative ideas is a great way to fuel the creative fire! It seems most people have too many ideas. So many that you just can’t pursue them all. Writing them down somewhere would be a great way to get going if like you said, “the well has run dry”. Thanks for sharing that great tip!

  8. Meagan,

    Very important post!

    I also like exercising – it is the most creative time of the day.

    Other than that, just recently I slowed down my blogging pace a bit. This gave me much more room for creativity – not just writing a blog post after each other :)

    Cheers,
    Timo

    • A lot of people say that exercise really helps them to think and focus better. I’m really gonna have to stop being lazy and carve out some time for more of that. We’ll see how it goes!

      I too slow down my writing when I’m working on something. Instead of writing 3 posts a week, I’ll try to write 1 post a week so that I can spend other time on whatever I happen to be working on at the moment. Thanks Timo for another great way to get more creativity into the day!

  9. Hey Meagan,

    To answer you I need ‘it’ everyday. Doesn’t always happen. And I feel the effect. I do believe that carving time is important. Even if it’s just 20 minutes. Luckily I have dogs to walk twice a day, and although it may not be seen as creative, it’s where ‘ideas’ seem to sprout.
    Thanks for the post, and the moral is, everyone should have a dog!
    Dawn

    • LOL Dawn! For me, walking my dog would be one of the furthest things from creativity I could do! She’s a wild one and totally distracting, but I’m so glad that works for you. That’s great, and you must have very well-trained, well-behaved dogs. I’m sure some great ideas come from that time that you have set aside! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Great post Meagan – I think it is really easy to forget that creativity is a ‘muscle’ and that like any muscle it needs to be exercised regularly to ensure it stays at peak performance. I come from a less creative background and have found that putting boundaries and goals around my ‘creative time’ has really helped me stretch that muscle.

    • Oh yes! Fabulous point! I didn’t grow up being all that creative either. I was more into sports, but I caught the artsy bug in high school and once I got started, I couldn’t stop.

      I think it’s good to delve into all sorts of creative things, not only the main thing your business is about. If you’re a writer, it can be beneficial to spend time drawing or painting. If you create online programs spend some time learning photography. Whatever you’re drawn too. It’s a release and it teaches you to think outside of the box and experiment. Plus I think it helps you to think clearly when it comes to getting back to your own creative work.

      Thanks for stopping by Priya!

  11. Meagan,

    Very, very good stuff… For me being creative comes in waves and when it comes I have to be willing if possible to let it happen and just run with it.

    Not always possible…

    Music helps too…

    Thanks,

    Ryan H.

  12. I find that’s true Ryan. I have days where I have no desire to create or work on anything and other days where I can really knock it out. Being flexible and working with that can really be helpful, but I’ve found that I have to have room in my schedule to move things around so I can take advantage of those times. Thanks for your comment!

  13. Great post, Meagan :)

    This age old ‘fight’ between left + right, structure + flow, systemized + creative is something I’ve spoken on a lot (in fact, I’ve done so on Lateral Action, previously).

    I could, like everyone else, commend you on the fantastic balance tips here, and your wonderful way of seeing ‘planned’ creativity as freeing (I really do love that idea.)

    Thing is, I have a view that usually causes some discussion, but I’m gonna trust that I can share it with you.

    My view is this: Blending, harmonizing, and uniting these two things is far more powerful and desired than “sorting out the proper balance.”

    Thawtz?

    • Thanks for your input Jason. It’s great that you have a different view point, and that just goes to show that some things work one way for some and a different way for others.

      I think the key is to know how you work best. If business activities are pushing out your creativity, then it may be time to bring in some scheduled creative time until it becomes, like you said, “blended, harmonized, and united”.

      Thanks again!

  14. Hey Meagan,

    Very good post. I am fascinated by creativity and it is a big part of my day. I used the think that creativity just came and when it came you had to act on it before it was gone. I know understand that you can create an environment where creativity can flourish. As Einstein said: “Creativity is the remnants of wasted time”. If you are struggling with a big problem or have writers block or whatever it is the best thing to do is to RELAX. Go for a walk, do yoga, have a bath, drink a beer… or two :)

    I really like your idea of scheduling in creative time. If we never look up and zoom out we will remain focused on the menial tasks at hand.

    • Yeah Steve, it’s like you said… the task of relaxing, no matter how you choose to do it, is a purposeful event and during that time, you never know what ideas will pop into your head. Relaxing can be very productive!

      I think that for some, when that creative moment comes, they have to act on it immediately in order for them to feel like their art {writing, programming, whatever} is really coming through and they’re doing a good job, but when your “art” is your business, it can be difficult to just stop every time you have a creative thought or two. You’d always be interrupted and never really get the needed business tasks completed that are important. That’s why I think it’s important to have that scheduled creative time somewhere in your day or week!

      Thanks for your thoughts!

  15. Hi Meagan,

    A valuable reminder for so many people. Marketing can be very fascinating (I should know…), but you definitely have to find a good balance for improving your products and creating new ones, and marketing them.

    • Oh yes, marketing is one of my favorite subjects to talk about! But if that’s all I do, I won’t have anything new or improved to market in the end. You have to have one to do the other! Thanks for your comment! I appreciate it!

Speak Your Mind

*