Time is fleeting, and no, I’m not talking about that new Twitter feature. Whether it’s social media, streaming services, subscriptions, or ads, firms are forever finding ways to use up your time and make you pay for it. This creates a crisis in content-flooded consumers, who find themselves fighting for time to make their own mark on the world in the face of all that input.
From a wellbeing perspective, not to mention financially and ecologically, it’s important to balance your consumption and your production. Modern society is built on the rapid, accelerating cycle of purchasing and investing.
The speed of this production line takes a huge toll on the planet’s resources while enforcing emotional and psychological stresses on consumers, who come to believe that buying makes you happy.
Finding joy in creation and reflection helps forge your own identity, laying a stable, sustainable foundation for your lifestyle. This doesn’t necessarily mean scrolling through Instagram less and posting on Instagram more. Here, sustainability stands in for environmental and philosophical self-sufficiency.
To consume less and create more, you need to find other ways of measuring your worth, less dependent on others. Finding this balance between activity with passivity, you can hone your hobbies, feel less lazy, and bring creativity to your community.
Making The Most of Your Time
It’s so hard to feel like your spending your time well in our modern world. Working 9-5 from makes you feel exhausted without actually seeming that strenuous. Finding the energy and motivation to then go and do exercise, especially on cold, dark winter nights can feel impossible. Your days can quickly feel structureless, only working then heading home to eat and watch telly!
When structure goes out the window, the simplest reaction is to do nothing, then feel bad, then do more nothing to try to make yourself feel better. Of course, by “nothing”, I actually mean “consume”. Whether it’s online shopping, TV binging, or even the mortal enemy of productivity TikTok, consumption can consume you.
The best way to combat structurelessness is by making your own structure. Consider documenting your time with a little journal each evening. That way, you can reflect on what went well, what went wrong, and how to change things. Turn the log into a little to-do list, to plan your next day, and rejoice in achieving those plans the day after.
Top creativity and fulfilment tips always include early starts. It’s so simple, but so difficult, to get out of bed. Push through the grogginess with alarms or mood-lights. Kick your day off well with a hot shower, some exercise (even just stretches) and nutritious breakfast. If you add these three-morning goals to a to-do list, that’s three ticks before you even start your day.
Smartphones open worlds of opportunity. Without careful management, they also open bottomless pits in which to pour your precious hours. For every successful gamer or influencer, there are countless procrastinators. For every vital Google research, there are countless hours scrolling into oblivion.
Use technology to your advantage to maximise your creativity and feel better about your days. Clear out your inbox, and unsubscribe to useless mailing lists. Look through your following list, and remove accounts you aren’t interested in. If you’re anything like me, there will be hundreds. Consider investing in a time-structuring app that limits social media usage or rewards you for time off your phone. Delete apps you don’t need, keeping only the essentials for communication, organisation, and inspiration.
If none of this works, your thumb and your screen need some time apart. Next time you go for a bathroom break, leave your phone there (if you’re working from home that is).
In terms of household consumption, there are many ways to reduce the amount you buy and throw away in your home. If you want to read more, we have an article about reducing household waste. Ultimately, “single-use” is a mindset. To consume less and create more, buy things that last longer, less often. This protects your budget and your planet. Creative solutions are always worthwhile.
Create More By Upcycling
Upcycling, recycling’s younger, cooler sibling, provides great ways to use to consume less and create more. It involves taking unloved or wasted items and adding value to them through your own creativity. Finding new uses for things through your hard work saves waste and saves money, creating useful gifts for yourself and your friends, and possibly even turning a profit.
Upcycling involves basic craft skills and a bit of lateral thinking. When the ideas arrive, the possibilities are endless. An upcycled gift might be the perfect surprise and making it yourself shows you care.
It’s worth figuring out what supplies you have, and researching some ideas from there, but here are a few tips on upcycling ideas.
Cutlery can become jewellery, and if you have a spare spoon, it could have a bright future in front of it. If not, charity shops usually have cheap, interesting, or antique cutlery sets to get creative with. Simply saw the ends off and hammer the handle into a circle shape. With a bit of buffing, you have a personalised, handmade ornament.
Each crafting skill unlocks so many upcycling opportunities. With knitting, you can unpick unwanted apparel and turn it into something new.
Mould a cup or a key-tray out of clay. Turn spare wood into a wine-rack or a chopping board. CDs or chipped crockery get reborn into a crazy-paving mosaic, or a coaster, or a customised plant pot.
Get Creative and Produce More
Plant pot talk branches nicely into productivity and creation. In fact, time-saving and creativity can be one and the same thing. If the first thing on your to-do list is “write a to-do list” you’ve already got a head start.
Everyone has creative potential. If you don’t think you do, maybe you haven’t found the right medium yet. Set time aside to be creative every day, whether it’s writing a diary or a poem, or a line of code. Start small with a photography walk. If you hate writing, do a pencil sketch. If you hate drawing, learn a new recipe.
Celebrate each victory. If you fail to complete a task, the worst thing you can do is beat yourself up by wallowing in it. Take time off, schedule in unscheduled time. Creating a break for yourself is still a type of creativity. Take responsibility, and account for it, then move on to more creative things.