The Importance of Creative Time

By Margaret Paul, PhD | Posted 4/4/06 | Updated 5/19/23

Creativity is a form of play, and when we don't take the time for it, we not only become dull, we can become stressed and sad.

Take a moment to think about your priorities regarding how you spend your time. Is creative time even on your list of priorities?

There is an old saying that goes, "All work and no play makes Johnny a dull boy." Creativity is a form of play, and when we don't take the time for it, we not only become dull, we can become stressed and sad.

Creative time allows us to move out of the chatter of our left brain and into the peace and serenity of our right brain. It gives us relief from trying to "figure things out." It opens the doorway to the flow of our higher knowing, allowing information to come through to us that gets blocked when we stay locked into our minds.

I do not believe that it is coincidence that test scores in our schools have been going down since public schools cut out most of the creative time. In our fast-forward "doing" culture, it is easy to lose sight of the importance of "being." We all need balance in life between doing and being, between thinking and feeling, between work and play. Creative time moves us out of doing and into being, out of thinking and into feeling, out of work and into play, out of our left brain and into our right.

For me, creative time is essential to my wellbeing. I am a fast-paced person who gets a lot done in a day. I work full time with clients as a counselor and facilitator. I administer our website, write two articles a week, and exercise every day. I lecture and teach weekend workshops and 5-day intensive workshops. I know from personal experience that when I do not consistently take creative time, I burn out. So I spend two afternoons a week at a pottery studio and spend time painting on the weekends.

Creative time is just as important as food when it comes to recharging. While food recharges our bodies, creative time recharges our soul. You do not have to be an artist to totally enjoy your creative time. At the pottery studio I attend, classes are offered for beginners. I often see people building pots for the first time with a look of total joy and delight on their faces. I can see them moving from feeling physically and emotionally depleted to feeling filled up within the few hours that they are playing with clay. They are often amazed at what they are creating, having believed they had no creative ability.

Next time you feel stressed, think about taking some creative time. What would be fun for you? It doesn't matter what you do as long as it takes you out of your thinking mind and into your being. Cooking, sewing, drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, writing poetry, writing fiction, writing music, playing music, dancing, woodworking, carving, gardening, making jewelry, acting, singing, inventing — all will replenish your soul and lighten your heart.

However, I have one caution for you. If your intention is to accomplish something, or do something well or have something look good, then you will not receive much benefit from your creative time. These fun activities can actually add to your stress if you have any judgment regarding the result. Creative time is about process rather than outcome. If you are focused on the outcome rather than being fully present in the moment, you will not receive the regenerative benefits of creative time.

Creative time needs to be pure play — allowing Spirit to express through you. Put your judgmental self on a shelf. Let go of the result and be present to the process. Let go of any attachment to the outcome and let yourself be completely present in the moment, like a child playing with blocks.

Remember when you were a child and were able to be fully present with creative play? Don't forget that child within you who would love to have some creative time!

©2006 by Margaret Paul, PhD. All rights reserved.

Margaret PaulMargaret Paul, PhD, is a noted public speaker, best-selling author, workshop leader, and Inner Bonding facilitator. ...