The three creative hours project

What can I create in three hours per week?
Much of my professional work is inherently creative, but it is creative within bounds imposed by external needs. I often find myself dreaming up other projects, whether in science communication, writing,  design, or art, and filling notebooks with plans, squiggles, designs, and wishes for projects that I would like do on my own terms. If only I had the time. 
As 2009 begins, I realise that I do, of course, have the time. If I genuinely didn’t, then I am messing up my work/life balance quite seriously and something needs to change. (I probably was messing it up these past two years, to be honest.)
So to make sure that some of those ideas move from one of my overflowing notebooks into reality, I am aiming to dedicate three hours per week to working on some creative project that I want to work on for myself, with no outcome necessary beyond the actual creation of something concrete. For me, ideas are easy, but execution is often pushed off until later. This project means I have to make myself not just come up with ideas but start to execute some of the plans. It is about turning ideas into reality, three hours at a time.
Three hours per week makes 150 hours per year, which is the equivalent of between three and four fulltime work weeks (if only I worked sensible hours). I am curious to see what I can get done in that amount of time. I have chosen three hours as it is something I can spend a weeknight doing, or a half day on a weekend, depending on what I need to get the project done. (Perhaps daylight for photography, or rentable time on an ever-so-sexy Vandercook letter press, for example.) In three hours, I know I can make real progress if I don’t have other distractions. I just need to carve it out and make it my own time.
Here comes 2009, with plenty of ideas ready to take further, three creative hours at a time.

2 thoughts on “The three creative hours project”

  1. Cool beans! Do you prefer self-contained projects that can be finished within 3 hours? I find that I get bogged down in long projects and never finish them. Still amazed I managed a PhD thesis, really.

  2. I thought a lot about this. I don’t need to be finished in three hours, but sometimes I should be choosing something that can be pretty much finished in that time. I have a big list of ongoing projects that could do with an occasional hour here or there so sometimes I’ll spend time on those.

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