39 – Any Spare Hour

Any Spare Hour

Any Spare Hour

Do you work a day job and have trouble finding big chunks of time to complete your projects? In today’s episode we talk about spare hours and how they can really 

In last week's episode we talked with Stephen Scarlata the filmmaker behind the documentary Jodorowsky's Dune, a film about a film that was never made. 

 Stephen described how he spent about 7 years making his movie while still working a day job. It basically boiled down to him working any spare hour. One of his jobs was working on a television show picking up film from one place and taking it back to the studio. If the film were going to be late he'd sit down and work on his own movie while he waited. He scheduled interviews, booked rights for photos he wanted to use in the film, respond to emails, doing research ... you get the idea. 

 I once read an article that talked about being selfish with your own time (I cant find the article now but if I happen across it I'll add it here to the show notes) the idea behind the article was that when you were at work you were sharing that time with your coworkers. When you were home you were sharing that time with your family. When you were out with friends that was friend time. Turn off your phones and focus on those moments. But when all that was done it was your time and you could do what ever you want. 

 We spend so much time living our life with and for others it may feel odd to have these times to ourselves. But when you get them they are for only you and it’s time to be selfish. Plan your projects, do your projects, finish your projects. Write, play guitar, layout your photo book, draw, paint ... whatever it is your projects get you to do, this is your time to do it. 

So where do you find these precious bits of time? Where ever you can. Do you have a driving commute? You could record voice notes or use dictation software to write songs or stories or notes for what needs to be done next.  Do you have a train or bus commute? Pen and notebook, smart phones or tablets are great for writing or drawing. Most tablets or smart phones are powerful enough to compose music, edit video or process photos. 

I don't actually recommend slavishly working to the wee hours because you can wear yourself down. You then don't have your full self to put your creativity and talent into your projects. But an extra hour after your family has gone to bed or an extra hour before everyone gets up is a great time to focus on what needs to be done.

In fact Steve Ogden from episode 34 used to post a podcast that he recorded in his car during his commute. You could hear the turn signal tick in the background and cars pass but also his awesome thoughts on the creative process and creativity in general. 

It may sound overwhelming to spend every spare hour doing stuff. "When is there time to veg out?" I hear you ask. "Whenever you want to" I answer. It's your time to be selfish with remember? If you want to spend your spare hour relaxing in the bath or playing a game that's completely fine, reasonable and healthy for you. But remember the work ain't gonna do itself and if you wait for a full day or even a nice four hour stretch to get things done you may never get to your projects at all.  

The bonus is you feel very accomplished after because you had to focus on one small piece of your project and that moves it all forward. I can guarantee you'll be amazed at how much you can accomplish in any spare hour. 

Here’s where you get to do some thinking

  • Where are your spare hours? 
  • Could you find a late hour a couple times a week? 
  • Could you find an early hour? 
  • Have you been waiting for a long chunk of time to work on things? 
  • Would you know exactly what you could complete in that time? 
  • Would you feel accomplished after or do you think you’d feel you should have done more with that longer stretch of time?