Having a day job can be exhausting even if it’s not an inherently tiring job.
I started becoming aware of missed opportunities to be creative, because I was at work. I’d have a musical idea at 10 AM, write it down at lunchtime, feel fully into the idea of getting home and immediately developing it and working on it once I was home.
And then the rest of the work day.
And then the commute.
And then home, and the only thing I want to do is sit on the couch and relax.
There are certain people who would say that it doesn’t matter. Make yourself start it. And I’ve tried that sometimes. I don’t think I’ve EVER done my best work that way. As has been talked about in a couple of posts above, ‘just DO it’ isn’t always helpful.
In the end my solution to all this came out of privilege. I was fortunately in a position in my career and life where I was able to negotiate myself into a part time role, giving myself back time to be creative. Not everyone is in that position, and I feel bad just saying ‘Yeah, work taking away your energy for other things sucks!’ and leaving it there, so here are some of the things I told myself that worked for me:
- Don’t beat yourself up about not being ‘productive’ enough in your spare time. There needs to be room in your life just for rest, or frivolity. Sure, reading that classic novel might be more stimulating than listening to this silly podcast but maybe at 8am before work the silly podcast is what you need.
- Accept that, given that, sometimes things will happen at a slower pace. You might not have much time to read, or work on your music, or try to make that game you’ve wanted to make, but its okay if you just want to take your time over those things. More often than not, there’s no time limit.
So I guess the answer for me is that I don’t so much make time as make peace with the time I have and try not to get into a position where I feel bad for not using more of it. Prioritising is useful, and I’m definitely not saying don’t think about the time you have, but we’ve always got to remember that we’re humans. It’s not simply a case of looking at your schedule and blocking things out and adhering to that.
Case in point: I now have fridays to myself as a result of the aforementioned going part time. The intent of this time is to work on music. In reality, if I’ve had a hell week at work I might really want a day off. And sometimes I work through that feeling and realise that actually I’m okay, but other times – hell, I’ll take that time, and what that often means is that I feel ready to be musical again by the weekend. That doesn’t mean having the day off was pointless, it’s just that sometimes I need it to be creative, and other times I need it to recharge so that I can be creative later.