Structure might sound like the worse thing for freedom–but with the right kind of structure, you can find that you’ll have more time to do what you love, and less time stressing about what you SHOULD be doing.
Habits are stronger than willpower.
Ever wonder why your friend can just get up and work out every morning, eat healthy food, and get all her work done and still have time to hang out? Well, it’s not willpower that keeps her on track–it’s her habits.
If you’re in the habit of waking up, rolling over, hitting snooze, maybe checking your socials, then dragging yourself out of bed just to end up on the couch. I’m gonna go ahead and guess that MAYBE you might find yourself running late a lot, or feeling like there aren’t enough hours in a day.
Here’s where cultivating habits can help with that. Habits are behaviours you do so often, that you don’t even need to think about it anymore. Some are healthy, and some are not. What we want to do, is develop healthy ones that will help us reach our goal.
First, we want to set up some goals. Many of us THINK we have goals, but what we actually have is just some vague ideas of what would be nice to have. For example: “I want to be a full-time actor.”
Okay, well, we need to establish what that looks like. How many acting jobs per month? How much money will you make? What sort of acting would you like to do (episodics, film, commercials)? Check out my post here for more help with setting goals.
Now that you have the what, lets look at the how.
You need to develop a system where you are working on your craft DAILY. Yes, that’s right, even actors need to work on their craft. Many people think acting is just, easy stuff, you just get up there and say a few lines “naturally”. But it’s not that simple, and us actors, know it.
You decide on what working on your craft looks like, I’m not gonna delve into that here but you can read another post I wrote that can give you some ideas here.
Now we decide on when. Scientific research shows that the hours just after you awake are when your mind is most capable of creative output. But, I know many artists who feel night time is when they truly shine.
No matter when you choose to do your creative work–put it in your schedule. Set a time for when you’ll do this consistently, no matter what. Even if it’s just for five minutes. Eventually, once you’re used to it, you will be able to add more time in, or adjust the timing to suit your needs.
As a creative, I find that I will get distracted easily when I’m trying to get my work done. Whether it’s a notification on my phone, or my 7-year-old telling me riddles. If I don’t have a schedule to stick to, I’ll end up getting nothing done. So scheduling it in, turning your phone on airplane mode, and telling your family members that this is YOUR TIME to not be disturbed is very important.
I personally have my entire day planned out in time slots, from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. This doesn’t mean I don’t deviate from time-to-time, but it gives me structure, so that I know if I complete my task earlier, I get more free time, or if I’ve taken too long completing my task, I might need to reschedule some things. And here’s the thing, I also schedule in FREE TIME, or breaks, so that I don’t feel guilty when I’m just watching Netlix, or scrolling on social. I’m not thinking, oh, I should be doing this/that–I’m not SHOULDING ON MYSELF. And that feels great!
The more often you follow your structured schedule, the more naturally it will become. Then you will feel like things just work more fluidly, like a ritual, and you’ll be able to find more freedom in not having to stress about when you have to do what. Structure will give you freedom.