During my three-month Creative Power Sabbatical I have been obsessed with all things about creativity and business! These are two of my loves mushed together!
So, when Marney Makridakis, who is a well of endless creativity, shared with me her latest book, Creating Time, I was immediately intrigued.
When I got a peek inside…I went gaga! It’s so uses creativity to bust open your creative muses and bust through the constant belief that you never have time for those muses!
It so fits in with Marney’s mission in life and why she founded the Artella online community for creators of all kinds and the print magazine, Artella.
I had the opportunity to ask Marney a few questions about time and the force behind Creating Time.
Why did you write Creating Time?
Like most people, time has been a big challenge for me throughout my adult life, but it escalated to an extreme after I gave birth to my first child in 2008, and struggled in vain to find the time to “do it all”. I devoured every time management book I could get my hands on, but still found myself exhaustively chasing time. I finally put myself on mission to find a new solution, and began to explore ways that I could apply my best resource (imagination) to my biggest problem (time).
I passionately researched and experimented with imagining, viewing, and experiencing time in new ways, and at last, felt time expand and change at my design. I created an online course to help others do the same and saw that other people had success with these techniques as well. After that, I finally felt able to sit down and write a longer work that developed these ideas much more fully.
Creating Time is for people who feel like they don’t have enough time to live the kinds of lives they want to live. I want everyone to know: when we don’t have time, we have to create it, and the incredible news is that we can do so using one of the greatest resources ever to exist on our planet: human creativity.
It seems like time is going by faster than ever these days (especially as a mother with two very active boys). Why do you think that is and what can we do about it?
As I researched the different elements that seem to affect our perception of the flow of time, I pinpointed several key factors, one of the most significant being the difference between focused and scattered time. When we are focused on just one thing, time seems to move more slowly; on the other hand, when our focus is scattered, time seems to move more quickly. These sensations seem to be true whether we’re talking about hours, days, months, or years.
At this point in our planet’s social evolution, we are constantly taking in much more information than ever before on an internal level, constantly being stimulated with new thoughts, feelings and ideas. At the same time, we are being asked to multi-task on the external level, as more and more demands are made on our daily productivity. The result is a near-constant state of extreme scattered focus, which in turn makes time feel like it is moving very quickly.
On the one hand, multi-tasking may make us feel more productive, that satisfying feeling is typically rather fleeting, as the very act of multi-tasking makes us feel like we have even less time, as our dispersed focus plays tricks on our perception.
The solution lies in a blissful state of being less aware of time itself but more aware of the present moment. Connecting right here to this moment and focusing on one single thing, as if we had all the time in the world, makes time slow down and give us all that we need.
What does "Creating Time" mean?
To me, it means that there is amazing power held by each of us to imagine, create, and completely reshape the way we experience time. For too long we have been servants of time when in fact, time that can and should serve us.
We can finally drop all the archaic view and limitations of time that have held us back from fully embracing the wild beautiful truth: time is not a defined line; it is instead a vibrant, completely moldable, layered, multi-faceted work of art that is in your hands to create and design, each and every day.
How is your book different from a typical "time management" book?
Time-management books, as well as the latest time-tracking and productivity aids, can certainly be of help to us on the practical level, but they are limited in their long-term effectiveness, since the true nature of time extends beyond the chronological hours displayed in our calendars, wristwatches and smart phones.
I really wanted to dive into the psychological, philosophical and emotional aspects of time, to help readers come away with a liberating new view of self and a fresh perspective on the meaning of being human, empowered, and fully alive.
So while the book is definitely filled with practical, hands-on tips for creating more time in your day, it’s also about finding a new way to experience time in its entirety, your full time on this earth…shifting our focus away from how we spend time to instead reveling in what we receive from our time. And, besides, most time management books won’t guide you to make collages and design offbeat new clocks and creative time-pieces! While intensely practical, I also wanted the 14 time shifting projects in this book to be a lot of fun and inspire a sense of playful abandon and freedom.
Professionally, you work primarily with artists, writers and creative individuals. Does someone have to think of him/herself as "creative" to benefit from your teachings? (I know the answer to this one!)
Absolutely not! The conclusion of each chapter presents an “ARTsignment,” which is an art project designed to activate and expand self-awareness and transformation. ARTsignments, which are at the core of my ARTbundance approach of self-discovery through creativity, offer a powerfully effective way to internalize and absorb a process and truly take it in.
I’ve discovered that engaging our minds, imaginations, and bodies through physically creating art catalyzes an unmistakable transition from simply reading a concept to absorbing and becoming it, and this is true for anyone, not just people who think they are creative or artistic.
Through the creative projects in this book, absolutely anyone can enjoy the adventure of being transported through creativity, and this has very large and valuable implications regarding time “traveling” and time creation. Each ARTsignment combines a step-by-step introspective process; interactive journal questions; and a unique, hands-on art project that pulls you directly into the full dimensions of time, extending the breadth of its meaning and experience.
You don’t need to be an “artist” to tap into the transformative power of creativity! In these projects, the emphasis is completely on the process rather than the product, and their transformation power holds true whether you are sketching stick figures on a paper napkin, making a collage of magazine cutouts, painting on a canvas, or creating an elaborate mixed media sculpture.
What are the main challenges with time that you've identified, and how does this book address them?
To personalize the reader’s process, Creating Time contains a “Time Diagnosis Chart” which identifies 14 of the most popular time complaints, and recommends which of the book’s tools are most effective in addressing them.
I find it interesting that, while everyone’s specific time complaints are unique, they usually boil down to one very primal theme: I don’t have enough time to live the life I want to live. For most people, time is the biggest challenge in fulfilling their potential. Whatever improvements or changes we want to make in our lives, it often seems to go back to the topic of time; we need time to exercise and eat right, time to establish and strengthen relationships, time to pursue a meaningful hobby, time to follow a dream.
Our perceived lack of, and limitations on, time affect all areas of our lives, especially our hopes and dreams. Time is the ultimate scapegoat when things aren’t going our way. But this book shows that time is also is the ultimate resource when we can tap into its expansiveness and partner with it in new ways.
What do you most hope that readers take away from this book?
I hope that readers will come away with a new sense of a time, as well as practical tools to put this new approach into action, both in their day-to-day lives and into their fuller spectrum of meaning and purpose in life.
When we are not slaves to time, when we are not chasing time and wishing time was different, we finally set our souls free to live the lives we’re meant to life. We enter into a new realm of possibility, partnering with time to create a life filled with awareness and fullness, instead of an inherent sense of lack, worry and dread. Believe it or not, time is in your hands, and you can mold, craft, and create time to be just about anything you would like it to be.
Find out more about Creating Time and some of the awesome, creative goodies Marney has made available.