What do You Believe About Time?


Do you feel like you just have no time (or never enough time) to create?

I think lack of time is the number one obstacle for people wanting to start creating again or wishing they were doing it more.

And it’s easy to see why–our speed-driven culture creates high expectations of how much we should get done and how fast we should be able to do it.

But if we could change our relationship with Time–find our true personal rhythms–then all kinds of possibilities open up.

That’s the premise behindĀ  Slow Time: Recovering the Natural Rhythm of Life by Waverly Fitzgerald. I’m only on chapter 3 so far, but I’m really excited by what she talks about, and I think it’s a great resource for anyone who feels like time is out of their control.


One of the first things she asks you is to explore your own beliefs about Time–ideas you might not even realize you embrace because they feel so natural, you’re so used to them, that they just seem like “The Truth”.

Many of these ideas come not only from the culture, but from your particular family.

For instance, I always feel like I’m in a hurry. And I realized that a big belief I learned from my upbringing was that hurrying signified being serious about something.

Conversely, being slow signified being overly relaxed, too casual–not taking something seriously. Therefore, if I cared about something, I had to do it in a hurry or I wasn’t taking it seriously

Whew, let me tell you, that hurrying belief wears me out.

It’s also very difficult to actually hurry through learning new things (which I’m constantly doing), so I usually feel like I’m taking too long to do just about anything–which means I’m also feeling like I can’t measure up. More exhaustion.

But when I think about my notions about hurrying as a belief I have instead of just being the truth or the nature of things, well then I’ve got a fighting chance to stop that pattern and allow a new belief to take its place–one that still incorporates my values and the things I want for myself–such as being productive or doing good work.

Here’s a few new beliefs affirmations I’m playing with:

>When I take my time, I do better work.

>I accomplish more when I’m relaxed and present.

>I feel good, think well, and accomplish a lot when I take my time.

>I make better artwork when I pay attention, take my time, and let my understandings unfold naturally.

>I prefer to pay attention to what I’m doing without multi-tasking.

Creating a New Paradigm

Our beliefs about time are very tangled up with how we do everything in our lives–when I think about my hurrying belief, I see how it impacts everything I do–how I clean the dishes, how I drive, how I create.

When I interrupt my usual patterns and slow down, it’s a great feeling because I’m allowing myself more. When everything isn’t urgent, it helps me remember my priorities. And one of those priorities is my creativity.

It’s exciting to realize I have the opportunity to interrupt what isn’t working for me about how I experience Time and begin creating a new paradigm for myself, based on my own best nature.

Frankly, it’s just so nice to realize that I have a say in all that. That I don’t have to go through life feeling like there’s never enough time to do what I want.

That how I experience time is up to me.

And since my time is my life, this ain’t no small thing!

Your Time and Your Creativity

How about you? Do you know what your beliefs about Time are? How do they impact what you do and what you allow yourself? Please share in the comments–I’d love to hear.

Bookmark and Share


  1. sarah bell says:

    Oh , how true! Your post on feeling the need to be busy wes very pertinent! I am someone who constantly bemoans the fact that I don’t have the time to do what I want to do, and I end up by feeling frustrated and resentful.
    Because I always feel so busy I thought I wouldn’t have time to have a dog, but two weeks ago, after lots of soul searching I offered to rehome a dog we knew needed a home.
    My mum was aghast: “But you don’t even have time for what you need to do at the moment, never mind getting a dog!”, she said. And I must admit that I was still a bit doubtful, even though I’d taken so long to make the decision.
    But what seems to have happened so far, is that having the dog has made me organise my time better, and also allow myself more time away from work and my computer ( and admittedly this is probably easier for me than others as I am self employed,) to go for walks twice a day. And this has had five really positive effects:
    1) I’m noticing nature again, and feeling inspired by it
    2) I’m actually taking breaks from work rather than going on and and on and on, and feeling stale and unproductive
    3) I feel as though I have MORE time, as I’m spending time outdoors in the fresh air with my thoughts and my dog, rather than being constantly assailed by emails and distractions. When I’m thinking quietly on a walk I get ideas.
    4) On a physical level, I’m getting more exercise than I have for years, and my joints have stopped aching .
    5) I feel much more relaxed and am getting to sleep earlier

    And another one: my dog is so loving and such a good companion that he is definitely worth the time. We both are!
    Have a good day, Sarah!
    Love from
    Sarah Bell in England

  2. paula lewis says:

    Another persuasive and powerful woman I read also approached this subject in her post this week, different voice and delivery, but the power of the message now resonates times two. Thank you for sharing your perspective. It helps me to notice where mine is; instead of being unwittingly ruled by its current state, I can change it.

  3. Sherry says:

    Hi Sarah, This is such a good exercise in head straightening! It’s true that our beliefs direct our lives, and if we can redirect our beliefs to serve us better, our lives will become what we want them to be. I think I need this book!

  4. Laura says:

    Oh, this is super helpful. Something to mull over. I think I need to get the book.

  5. Emily says:

    I totally agree with this. It is definitely difficult to slow down, but it’s worth it. Multi-tasking is so stressful. I am slowly learning how to pay attention to one thing at a time. I was reading about this in a book called “The Not So Big Life” by Sarah Susankah. I’ve found it extremely helpful for spiritual and creative growth; it’s about removing the clutter from your life and getting rid of old patterns that can get in the way of the “flow of life.” Very thought provoking!

  6. Dana Street says:

    I have ADD and one of my biggest problems is my perception of time. Meds have really helped this. I now have a more accurate feel for how long I have to do something and how long it will take.

    I don’t always feel I’m my most creative, however, when I take more time. Perhaps it’s habit, but I think the adrenaline rush of being close to a deadline actually helps me.


  7. Lila says:

    Me and my two best sister friends get together every Wednesday evening for clay play or whatever artwork we are working on. It is our weekly “Girls Night” and we all look forward to our time together.

  8. Time is very precious to me.I design jewelry in my spare time at the moment as I hold down a demanding full-time job and make my jewelry in between looking after the kids,the cat,the garden,food shopping etc.It is not always easy.However when I have time to design and make things,I do not always feel the creative urge.I feel”stuck” in a way that is frustrating and I feel that I am wasting the little time that I have.Also I feel guilty sometimes,that I am not working hard enough on household chores like cleaning or I am ignoring the kids!Bear in mind that they are fourteen and twenty years old!!!Silly, but true!I am currently working on re-organising my studio so that I can find things quicker and have more of a creative urge as a result.I addressed some of these on my crystalriverbeads blog just this morning.Cheers,Anne.

  9. Sue says:

    It seems like time is moving faster than it did. I got more done when my boys were babies and toddlers. My house was clean,I washed cloth diapers,did regular laundry, baked, knitted, crocheted, embroidered, read 3 or 4 books a week, sewed for a Bridal shop and some private customers, edited a cookbook, was on phone calling list, served as liaison for Jaycee/Jayshee’s, did all my shopping and errands on Friday, went out of town to the In-Law’s on Sunday.
    Now the boys are grown and gone, my house is a wreck and I can’t even get a button sewn on. And I am always tired!

  10. Terry says:

    I have been taking some marketing classes and we had one on using our time wisely. It all has to do with balls and beans! The balls are your big goals, and the beans are the little things that you have to do every day. We all have a container to put our balls and beans in every day. If you spend your day doing all the little things that must be done every day, you don’t have any room left in your container for the few big balls that are your goals. So what you need to do is take care of the balls first because they are your most important things to get done. With the time that you have left, you work on the beans and you can fit a lot of beans into that container around the big balls. If you do beans first……….there is no room for the balls., but if you do the balls first, you have lots of room to get those beans in there!

  11. Jane says:

    Since I left my past time-driven career, I experience time in a whole new way, almost without margins but for the natural cycles of night and day. my best creative work is always born deep in the flow when I loose all sense of time. That deep, still, almost meditative state is where all the currents flow…

  12. Mary Dubinsky says:

    Yes, I have experienced having no time for me plenty of times. I homeschool my two teenagers, take care of my pets, clean house, run errands etc. While in my head I’m thinking today is the day that I’am just going to attempt paint without any interruptions, then! I let what needs to get done get in my way, and boom! my painting never gets done.

    Recently, a few weeks ago I said, to myself, I’m going to paint a portrait of my niece and I am going too get this done… even if it takes a few hours each day for me to complete it, and I did. I cleaned house early, ran some earrands, told my kids please give me time to paint without bothering me…then found myself painting each day about a couple of hours a day. Now for the next project.

  13. Nicole Di Michele says:

    I have started carrying a scratch pad EVERYWHERE (yes, there, too). I jot down ideas and make sketches for later implementation. By doing this I can keep track of my ideas and go back and create between other projects and responsibilities.

  14. This is SUCH an issue for me Sarah! I’m almost laughing, except it is not at all funny.
    My normal mode of existance is running like a chicken with it’s head cut off.
    Enter this week: Severe weather, sitting in the basement doing nothing and then 2 1/2 days of NO INTERNET.
    Now, you think I would have gotten a lot done in the studio in that time, but I spent it fretting and hurrying through little things that amounted to nothing. (okay, I give. I got squat done except make a mess)
    When I work well is when I have no phone, put on a music-only meditation CD, kick back, no watch, no clock, and *just flow*. Beautiful things happen. A lot of work is finished and it is good work. And I could do it more often than I do, but I too was taught to hurry and get a LOT done. I am to the point of asking the doctor if I have ADD because I frequently am so overwhelmed that I simply cannot focus. Or I think that I can’t. Really, I have reached that point that I don’t know if it is nature or nurture.
    And a lot of artists I know are the same way…….maybe it is in our DNA helix….the frantic genome….. ;-)


  15. So good to see a discussion about this topic. Not enough time has always been an issue for me in the studio and at home. Once I started the practice of encaustic painting everything slowed down. I highly recommend the medium to anyone who needs to learn patience and how to slow the pace of artmaking. You find out pretty quickly that to make art you have to “take your time”.

  16. Sarah says:

    @Sarah, Wow this is just the perfect expression of what that book is talking about! Thanks so much for sharing it. :-)

  17. Lee Spivey says:

    Thanks Sarah. I loved reading that! And it’s so true!! I’m on vacation this week, staying at my mom’s beach house in Delaware. I came up here with all kinds of plans of what I was going to accomplish this week with some of my goals. Instead, I’ve spent a whole week waking up to sunrises over the ocean, biking through all kinds of pretty places, riding horses, eating ice cream, walking my dog around the neighborhood and checking out all the pretty flowers in bloom… I’m coming to realize recently that when I allow this kind of freedom into my life, I’m more creative and productive with my remaining time that I ever could be had I not opted for the breaks. It’s been a real challenge to mentally allow myself into this beautiful place and let go of the guilt of all the things I SHOULD “hurry up and get done.” Somehow it all works out when I’m good to myself and do what I need to do, which includes experiences like what I’m having this week. Life is awesome when we allow it to be.:-)

Leave a Reply