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Jill Allison Bryan : Buddy, Can You Spare Some Time — for Yourself?

Buddy, Can You Spare Some Time — for Yourself?

By Jill Allison Bryan

We may think twice before lending money to people, especially these days, but let's be honest… if a friend, our child's teacher or a co-worker were to ask the question, "Can I have just a moment or two of your time?" — many of us would be hard-pressed to say no. Even on our most hectic days, with a "to-do" list longer than the early morning Starbucks' line, and an overflowing in-box, we will most likely find it somewhere within our over-scheduled hearts to say yes to a request for such a small amount of time. For other people that is…

When it comes to ourselves, we're often not nearly so generous with one of our most precious commodities — our own time. When did you last treat yourself to a few uninterrupted minutes engaged in your favorite creative endeavor? Though in your heart of hearts you may long to write that story, paint that watercolor, or knit that sweater — you may be telling yourself that you simply don't have the time to begin.

So let me ask you, can you spare two minutes? I'm serious. That's all. Can you, right now or sometime today, give yourself the gift of two minutes devoted solely to the creative activity of your choice? Two minutes. That's less time than most commercial breaks. Less time than the average wait at a red light. Less time than it takes to brush and floss (if you're doing it well.) And it may even be less time than you've spent gazing out the window daydreaming about pursuing your favorite creative practice this very day. (Not that there's anything wrong with day-dreaming!)

You may well wonder — "What can I possibly accomplish in just two minutes?" Actually, an amazing amount… if you give yourself the gift of two minutes on a regular basis. It's true. By allowing yourself two minutes a day, most days, to write, sing, paint, weave, doodle, dance, etc… you will strengthen one of the most important creative muscles — habit. And once you're in the habit of getting to your own desired creative outlet, even for a few short minutes a day, some amazing things will begin to happen.

You'll begin to look forward to your two minutes playing the guitar, writing poetry, or putting together collages. You'll begin to miss your two minutes when you don't get to them. You'll begin to realize that you feel happier, healthier and just all around better when you do make the time for your personal creativity.

Soon, you'll begin to notice that you're having such a jolly good time, there's no good reason to stop at two minutes — so you'll stretch it out to five minutes, then ten, then fifteen and once some time has passed, you may well find yourself scheduling a full hour of uninterrupted creative time for yourself every day (even if you need to wake up early, go to bed late or skip Oprah to do so!). And like the beauty of compound interest, you'll find yourself reaping benefits much greater than you might ever have dreamed possible.

Practicing piano, putting together a scrapbook, designing a piece of jewelry — whatever your creative passion, there it will be — right at the very top of your "to-do" list along with all the other important activities in your life — like making client calls, buying groceries and picking up the kids from school.

In these tough economic times, it may not be as easy as it once was to spend money on leisure pursuits, shopping and entertainment, but take heart. We can choose to spend our time lavishly on fulfilling our creative dreams, starting with an investment of only two minutes a day. How can you afford to not give it a try? •

© 2008 Jill Allison Bryan

Jill Allison BryanJill Allison Bryan helps people to experience the joy and fulfillment that creativity can bring to their lives with Creative Oasis Coaching. More »