Finding Time for your Project

finding time to make your project

I think the hardest thing in creating something – be it a webcomic, a graphic novel, a film, or a beautifully made book with your best recipes (I’m serious with that) – is finding the time to actually do it.

Having a fulltime job, a loving family, the need to sleep (I’m working on reducing that) just takes time and most of us don’t have a lot of spare time to write the next award winning book or build the world’s largest Lego castle – even if they had the talent needed for doing so.

But I would not take that as an excuse for not doing what you really want to do.

I’ve read a lot of time management books which give a lot of clever tips of how to make the best out of your time. Like:
Doubling your time“, which means doing two things at the same time, like: Sitting in the car while you are waiting for the kids to come out of school and writing your first novel within these 5 minutes. Or talking with a client on the telephone while you are reading the emails from another client at the same time.
I don’t think that “doubling your time” works for everything. It is ok if you read a book while you are waiting for someone, but I don’t think that you can work on a big project that way.

I think that if you want to have the time to create something, at the end it comes down to two things:

  1. Choosing a project you can do realistically given your resources. Don’t write a 500 pages novel if you know that you got 15 minutes left per week only. The chances are high that you will end up being frustrated. Start with a shorter novel instead. Finish it and write another novel.
  2. Deciding to do something is always deciding not to do another thing. Choose the project you want to do the most and take the conscious decision not to do all the other little things you’d like to do.

How do you find the time to work on your projects? Leave a comment below 🙂

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18 responses to “Finding Time for your Project

  1. I think the second point is the most crucial. In order to keep creating music (as well as graphic art) on a regular basis I have pretty much excluded a lot of things from my life. I jokingly say I’m boring in order to work. I don’t watch TV at all, I rarely party (so far we’re talking a total of four times in 2013), I try to create something on a daily basis (even if it’s just a sketch or two bars of a demo), I get up at least one hour earlier than needed (to work) and on weekends I rarely sleep late, get up early and focus on finishing up the past weeks ideas.

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    • Magnus, it’s good to know, that k am not the only one who gives up a lot of things he likes in order to do what I want to do the most. Like you, I have near to no time to watch tv series and nearly don’t go to the cinema any more. I have to choose very carfully which movies I want to see. And going to parties is a thing of the past since a ery long time :))

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  2. Hi, John. If I could have the time for another personal project right now, it would be to write a novel, that would be the ultimate dream, but I’m already commited to learning Arabic (on my own, via language CDs and the internet) and I imagine it will take some years more or so. It’s hard, additionally because I don’t want my existing languages to suffer (Malay, English & Italian) so everytime I learn a new word or phrase, I make sure I know/remember how to say it in those other three.

    As for finding the time to do it, it’s difficult as I’m not a very disciplined person. So I set little weekly deadlines to force myself, for example, I have to memorise the words on a page of the phrasebook I’m using by the end of a week. I have to admit I don’t do it every single week, but hey so far I’m still at it after about half a year haha.

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    • Wow, you are learning these languages on your own? I’ve tried to learn greek some time ago and it went well, but i had to give up, because of…. time :/
      And it’s really cool, that you don’t let behind the languages you’ve already learnt. Most people would start mixing up the languages.

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      • Oh thanks. Yes that’s my big concern, mixing up the words. Malay is my ‘mother tongue’, and English also from childhood as it is the First Language for public schools here in Singapore. For these two languages, I had all the time of my growing up to learn so it was fine.

        It was for Italian that I had to pour ‘sweat+blood+tears’ so to speak, as I was learning in night classes as a working adult. Naturally after all that effort I’m worried it will slip away as I attempt a new language, so I try to ‘revise’ it alongside the new language. And as a Malay person, I’m a bit embarrassed my Malay is a bit weak compared to English, so I revise that too.

        Greek is a beautiful language! Reminds me of my youth when I was into Greek mythology 🙂

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      • Well I´m still into greek mythology… just love it 🙂 And do you have people to whom you can talk in the languages you are learning? I can imagine that it is easier to get fluid with languages when you can have a concersation in these languages. But then, again, it is a question of time, I guess…

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      • I totally agree :-), using the language regularly helps to keep our fluency. My partner is Italian, although we speak mostly in English, I can always practice his native language with him. As for conversational Arabic, so far I know no one, in any case I still have a long way to go before I reach that level.

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  3. I understand what you mean. I myself get frustrated when I start something, even small and feel distracted by elsewhere and time really does fly. Like the previous comments, I guess dedication is crucial and trying to balance your schedule, even the smallest things like waking up an hour earlier and some time in the weekend before the family if can. I even struggle with my own blog posts due to spending painful hours in hospital and a day just goes. It’s frustrating ly hard but we need to try.

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    • I was already thinking about what Magnus (from Sellergren Design) said: Getting up one hour earlier, even before the family wakes up. I still haven´t succeeded with that, but I´m still trying 🙂 And about getting disctracted: When you are doing something, that you really like and suddenly feel, that you are distracted by something (like: “Maybe I could check the internet to see if there is a new trailer for…”) then just wait a bit, not checking something in the internet and let this thought fly by. Then you continue doing your important stuff. I was told this trick some time agot and it helps me most of the time 🙂

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    • Thank you for the kind words, Luke. I´m glad you liek my blog 🙂 And yes, thos was a hard lesson I had to learn. Everything comes with a price (leaving other things behind; choosing not to do other things). But I think, that if there is something really important to you, then the price is worth it. 🙂

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  4. I agree that doubling your time (or multitasking) will work for some things, but not others.

    I’m guilty of taking on a lot more than I can probably handle. There was an episode of “Seinfeld” once where Kramer decided he was going to sleep for two hours or whatever, so he’d have more time to do stuff. lately, I’ve been doing that (some might call it simple insomnia). I read somewhere that after 2-3 hours (if I recall correctly) is when you’re at your most rested – so I sleep for a couple hours and wake up with a ton of energy. The trick of course is managing it. Because then you crash ten hours later and start getting into the habit of never sleeping more than a couple hours at a time and get all out of whack, sleeping for a couple hours two or three times a day.

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    • Wow, sleeping for only two hours sounds really tough. Even, if you sleep several times a day. I’m currently sleeping six hours a day, but I would need al least 9-10 hours to be totally fine. It works more or less. But I would not stand a chance without coffee and energy drinks. 🙂

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  5. Pingback: What happened to the Graphic Novel? | I create worlds. John Brito´s Blog·

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