The Goldilocks Technique


Every Friday I write the 20 Minute Club Minutes–because using a timer for what I call the 20 Minute Technique can keep your creative momentum going in your busy, time-crunched life–20 minutes at a pop.

Please join in and share your 20 Minute Experiences in the Comments–good/bad, it’s all fair game, because sharing your experiences about the process is a great way to figure things out and increase your creativity.


Just Right

Earlier this summer, I realized I wasn’t taking the time to look at art–I kept thinking I had too much to do.

So I vowed to take the time to look at art every week–and  really, I can’t believe how much it benefits me.

Because it’s sooooooo……nourishing.

Every week I feel too busy, but I make myself go. And every time I go, I feel great afterward.

One thing that really helps make it possible each week is that I don’t turn it into a giant…thing.

I don’t go to a museum and stay all day. I go for an hour, sometimes two.

I Gold-i-locks it.

You know, I don’t sit in Papa Bear’s chair make it such a big thing that I feel like I can’t do it and I don’t sit in baby bear’s chair and go aesthetically hungry because I skip it altogether at all.

Instead, I let myself go the “just-right” amount and feel satiated but not overwhelmed.

It’s really been making me happy.

Filling the Well

Every time I go, I muse all over again about how much simply looking at art can fill your artistic well. How helpful it is for maintaining that all important creative momentum.

This week, burdened with guilt once again about leaving my long to-do list, I went to the Cloisters anyway to meet some friends for an arty lunch date we planned weeks ago.

As soon as I got out of the car and looked around, I suddenly felt great. Once again surprised by how beauty and art nourished my creativity and made me feel balanced.

Of course, I do realize that because I live right outside NYC, I have lots of options for looking at art. And depending on where you live, it might be challenging to find art to look at in person.

But don’t discount the value of taking the time for pouring over a fabulous art magazine or a great coffee table book from the library with luscious photos of work from your favorite artist. Or getting excited by someone new you’ve never heard of.

Just plunk yourself down on the floor in the art section and browse a bit til you find something that fills your well.

It’s a great way to use the 20 Minute Technique.


Appreciating yourself is an important part of the 20 Minute Club because it helps you keep your creative momentum going.

Carving out the time to create is important of course, but it’s not enough. Getting (and eventually staying) on your own side is a critical factor for helping you take bigger risks with your work, get yourself out of a creative rut, or just enjoy the process more.

Taking the time to remember to appreciate yourself and all your efforts (big or small, creative or not) is a powerful way to make this happen.

Here are my five self-appreciations for this week:

1. I appreciate how hard I’m working on getting from 90% to 100% on some big projects I’ve got cooking.

2. I appreciate that I’m okay with re-remembering each step in creating my how-to videos.

3. I appreciate that I let myself not go to the gym this week.

4. I appreciate that I re-grouped and sought new solutions (with virtually zero drama) for printing my digital collages after finding out my current large format print company wasn’t going to be able to print what I needed for months.

5. I appreciate that it’s finally dawning on me that when my projects take longer than I expect, that this is because they have their own pace for being born, and that by accepting–even embracing–this pace (that is different from my plan), the perceived delays stop being problems.

Your Turn

How was your creative week? Did you use the 20 Minute Technique? Would you like to make more time to view art? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear.

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Categories : 20 Minute Club


  1. paula lewis says:

    What a great reminder that we don’t always have to do it all – we just have to do it. I am adding “Goldilocksing” to my vocabulary and my consciousness!

  2. Lisa L. Kay says:

    I don’t just use the 20 minute club for being creative, but for finishing tasks. So I only have 20 minutes to get anything done, I used to just waste that playing on the internet or whatever. Now I start a task and if it isn’t done, I leave it out for the next 20 (or 10, or 5 minutes) that comes along.

  3. Joyce Barham says:

    I started 2 months ago going to the Quilt Shop on Fridays just to look around and touch fabric. Got to feed those senses, especially cause it was during a time when I couldn’t quilt. I got to see my friends and some new quilt projects that the shop hd made. It fed my creativity during a hard time in life.

    Just yesterday, I attended a Quilt Show from our local guild. Such eye candy! There were over 200 quilts on display and I must have taken a photo of each one! I toured the quilt area twice and am certain that I still missed some beautiful quilts. I feel so blessed to be able to go!

    Hopefully, some of the ideas will make it into my quilting. The Goldilocks Technique works for me!

  4. Sara says:

    I had similar feelings as I approached the Cloisters that day. What a treat to be in nature and surrounded by art. Very nourishing indeed. Thanks for making it a great adventure!

  5. Lunar Hine says:

    I live in a very rural town in Devon, England. I’m blessed to be in a community of many talented and diverse artists, but sometimes what inspires me most is nature; just seeing exactly how sun looks through trees or examining in detail the undersides of petals, or imagining the tune described by bird flight… slightly mad, possibly, but definitely deeply sane-making too.

  6. Sarah says:

    Great point Lunar–being immersed and observing the natural world provides that same deep nourishment–and so beautifully said…thanks for that!

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