How to Balance Your Time – Creativity and Productivity

On Sundays I write on Spirituality, Faith and Ethics.  I do it because I believe we’re all spiritual beings and have some sort of a moral compass in our lives.  You can learn more by clicking here.

Yesterday, I began a new series on How to Balance Your Time, where we’re looking at the six key types of time we all need in our lives:

  • Creative and productive
  • Physically energetic and active
  • Playful and entertaining
  • Learning and developing
  • Reflective and spiritual
  • Restful and relaxing

Today we’ll take a closer look at the first type of time:  creative and productive.  It’s no secret that most of us focus a majority of our time in this category, because we spend so much of our time at work.

I think it is very natural for us to do that, because that’s how God made us.  He made us to be like him as a creator and producer. In the beginning, he gave Adam work to do and called it good.

But he also made us to rest. To maintain a balanced life, we don’t just need a day of rest, though that’s important.  We need times of rest and relaxation throughout each day and week.  And we need variety.

For most of us, working in the creative/productive realm requires a lot of energy.  However, we simply can’t maintain that high energy level forever.  We also need times of exercise, entertainment, learning, reflection and rest.  We’ll talk more about each of these in future posts over the next few days.

Personally, much of my time each week is spent in the creative/productive category.  I love what I do and I could do it all day and night, if I didn’t set limits for myself.

In recent years, I’ve increasingly realized that I can improve my creativity and productivity by taking time off to get some exercise, play, learn, reflect, and rest.  It seems counter-intuitive, I know.  I used to think that if I just worked harder or longer, I’d get more done.  But I’ve discovered this isn’t always the case.

In fact, I’ve learned that if I work too long or hard, my creativity and productivity begins to diminish.  When I work too late at night, I start to make mistakes.  I can’t think straight.

Now I’m learning to work smarter, not harder, by maintaining balance in my life. I’ve found that I have more creativity when I do exercise and take time to read.  I’m more productive when I get a good night’s sleep and take some relaxation breaks during the work day.

I’ve also come to appreciate the meaning of the word “recreation”.  It’s not just about playing or doing something just for fun or sport.  When we recreate we re-create.  Something happens inside us that re-creates the energy and creativity we need.

And above all, I’ve found that the more I acknowledge that my ability to create and produce is a gift from God . . . and the more I seek to do my work and live my life in a time-balanced way . . .  the more creative, productive, and successful I am.

This week, as I look over the list of six key types of time, I know I need to schedule some time for learning and developing.  I’ve got a stack of magazines and two books that have been waiting for me that I’ve neglected for far too long.  The reason why?  I don’t have the time – I have work to do.  Yeah, right!

But I know that if I take the time to read and enjoy those magazines this week, I’ll get a little re-charge in energy.  And I’ll probably get some really great ideas from what I read that I can put into practice.  So, I’m blocking out time in my calendar to read those this week.

What about you?  Are you all work and no play?  Do you find it hard to balance your time by scheduling times for rest, relaxation and recreation?  If so, I encourage you to look over the list of six key types of time and pick one or two that you feel would be most important to do right now, and then schedule those into your life this week.  Let me know how it goes!

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