Juggling Your Time and Necessary Sacrifices

Hello and Good Day, Mike Pouch here!

I briefly mentioned last week about how I’ve had success juggling creative pursuits between my work and family lives. This can be a very difficult thing to do, and takes a lot of discipline – I still struggle with this regularly. I hope you find this post inspiring, but also providing real practical advice.

At the time of writing, I work an 8:30-5:30 Monday-Friday office job. On top of that I am very actively planning my wedding in October, while still making the time to spend with Jewel doing non-wedding activities. Between work and home commitments, there is very little time for creative pursuits; if I wasn’t careful, it would all slip away!

One of the most important things you can do to be productive, is to have family support. This stems from being open and communicative about what your goals are, and what time you will need to accomplish them.

Work with your family to block out time for yourself, so they may respect you and give you the space you need.

Without communicating this, interruptions may happen more frequently, as the importance may not be understood. I am very fortunate to be marrying someone who is a creative herself, so it’s easy for her to understand when I need to work on something. We both work to block out time to spend with each other, while also blocking out time to spend doing our own separate projects. Everybody’s family situation is different, but communication is key.

As for finding the time, there is no such thing as ‘finding the time’. We are experts at filling up every last ounce of our days with ‘stuff’. Instead of ‘finding the time’, we need to ‘make the time’.

‘Finding the time’ is looking for a gap in our day to fill with creative work, while ‘making the time’ is taking an active role to create those gaps!

Unfortunately this often requires making some serious sacrifices! To note: this does not include sleep; losing sleep will only hurt your productivity in the end, and you’ll eventually end up playing catch up anyway, therefore not gaining any extra time. The only exception to that is if you have a deadline to meet, and you have time blocked out afterwards to catch up. There is no excuse to miss sleep regularly.

So what can you sacrifice? The first thing is time wasters, the things that absolutely don’t matter. Some things include: endlessly scrolling through social media news feeds, browsing Reddit, watching TV/Netflix, playing games that have no clear goal in mind, and I’m sure you know your own personal one that I did not mention. And I’m not saying you can’t watch some TV, or play some games, but make sure you put a limit on how much time you put towards them. I am saying you can’t scroll through your Facebook newsfeed, no good ever comes from that.

Now for the big one – you may need to sacrifice you friends (not Aztec style though.) This is a hard thing for a lot (most?) people to do. If you find yourself hanging out every night, or often going to parties and events on the weekends – this will eat up precious time. I’m not telling you to give up all your friends, just the frequency at which you spend with them. This often involves saying ‘no’ to things you want to do, and events you would love to attend. Some of your friends may get angry with you; you may even lose a few. But if you are clear about why you need to spend less time, and they are still angry – it is clear they don’t respect you or your art, and sadly they may not be worth your time.

As you grow up, you’ll need to make choices on what is important to you -love/family, friends, money, or your creative pursuits. It is rare to have time for all of these. I want to leave you with a poem “You Want a Social Life, with Friends” by Kenneth Koch.

“You want a social life, with friends.
A passionate love life and as well
To work hard every day. What’s true
Is of these three you may have two
And two can pay you dividends
But never may have three.

There isn’t time enough, my friends–
Though dawn begins, yet midnight ends–
To find the time to have love, work, and friends.
Michelangelo had feeling
For Vittoria and the Ceiling
But did he go to parties at day’s end?

Homer nightly went to banquets
Wrote all day but had no lockets
Bright with pictures of his Girl.
I know one who loves and parties
And has done so since his thirties
But writes hardly anything at all.”

Until next time, enjoy life and keep creating!
Thanks for reading!