We all dream of having a chunk of uninterrupted time to work on creative projects:
“If I could turn off my phone for just one day, I could work on my book.” * “If I could get a whole morning without interruptions, I could launch my website.”*
Distractions and obligations, though, seem to get in the way. The kids need attention. The phone keeps ringing at all the wrong times. Sometimes even 10 interrupted minutes to focus on a single project can be hard to find.
There are 2 ways of looking at this. First, maybe your constant interruptions aren’t as urgent as you think. Does email really need your immediate attention, or could they wait for half a day?
On the other hand, unless you live in some ivory tower, the circumstances will probably never be absolutely ideal. The stars will never perfectly align, so you have to make the most of the available opportunities to make progress on your creative projects.
In The Crossroads of Should and Must, Elle Luna suggests that 10 minutes is all you need.
We all have a net of obligations and time constraints—both real and imagined. The most effective way to find your Must is to find ten minutes. Because while running away from all of your obligations to focus uninterrupted on your Must for months sounds romantic, the harder, trickier, and more sustainable way is to make shifts every day within your existing reality. To integrate, not obliterate. What can you do in those 10 minutes that it takes for the kettle to boil? Instead of checking social media in the evening, is there a small task you can complete to make progress on your goal?
One Good Seam
My wife loves sewing kids clothing for our kids and friends’ kids. The biggest struggle for her is carving out time in the day to focus on getting a piece of clothing finished. While she’d love to have a full day without distraction to take her creations from start to finish, that’s rarely realistic.
Instead, the secret she’s found for sewing is to focus on making “one good seam”.
The project will be ready to go in the sewing room: Fabric’s laid out, tools are ready. Then, in the few quiet minutes before we prep dinner, or once we have the kids to bed, she’ll say, “I’m just going to sew one seam.” She’ll hide out downstairs for 10 minutes, until that seam has been sown.
For those few minutes she focuses, not on getting the whole project done at once, but on sewing one good seam. Then, as Elle also notes, those 10 minutes become a gift. And over time, those minutes add up to some beautiful projects.
What’s your “one seam”? What’s one small step you can take in 10 minutes to make progress on a dream or project that’s been waiting in the back of your mind?
Because, as I’ve witnessed, beautiful pieces clothing aren’t made all at once. They’re made one seam at a time.