How Time Constraints Can Fuel Your Motivation



The Magic of Constraints


There is magic in constraints.

Experience after experience has proven to me that it is nothing but a choice away in any given moment.


A great article on the power of working in small chunks of time in The 99% website, stirred my thinking about how useful it is to have limited time in the morning to devote to passion projects.


Tending to The Self = Tending to Dreams

Morning self care time for me has grown over the years from activities that tend to my body, heart and mind into planned actions that bring me one step closer to my dreams. My dream now being spreading the message of the power in morning self care. It can be totally different for you. Perhaps you want to master a language so you can visit a foreign country, perhaps you want to learn a new skill that will help you crush it in your workplace or create music etc.


In It For The Long Run

Having limited morning time to devote to it and protecting it with fierceness can create a hunger and persistence in you to keep at it in the long run.  This makes for a sustainable and measured pace of progress compared to having the luxury of hours upon hours of uninterrupted time in which much of it can be whittled away in wrestling with that creative wall.


The Sweetness of Picking up Where You Last Left Off

Like a good conversation with a friend, while in the peak of connecting and enjoying each other, the time flies and your departure is filled with plans for “next time”. Time goes by but the next time you meet, your conversation just picks up where you left off. Morning time devoted to your passion project can be the same. You work on it just enough that you make progress on it and get into that groove but not enough that you reach that creative wall and lose steam.


The Discomfort in the Creative Process

It’s uncomfortable when you reached that wall. That’s when it’s easy to get distracted and do something more enjoyable with your time and hence waste it. In fact I know for me in writing, it can be a downright exhausting torture to try to force an idea to come when it’s not.



Many times the answer is to step away and get away from what you’re working on to stir things up and refresh yourself. Give it a chance to breathe so to say. Having that limited amount of time forces you to walk away and stop right before you hit that creative wall. This in the long term can prove more productive .


The Creative Dance

The most productive creators in their field understand this dynamic and have self imposed constraints  like people and activities in their lives pull them away from their craft from time to time because they know the craft needs it to stay alive.


The Masters Have This Down Pat

The famous comedian Louis CK shares in this video  (at 4:07 minutes) how his fledgling career of 15 years took off only after applying a piece of advice from the late George Carlin. That advice being that after he creates jokes for a show and performs he throws it all away and starts from scratch for the next one. This self imposed constraint forced him as he explains to dig deep for new material and catapulted his career into what it is today.


This setup can sharpen your focus and makes it easier to go deeper into cutting out the fluff of your activities that distracts you from what is the next essential step in your dream making.


Moms: Masters of Making the Most of Time

I saw a film years ago called Who Does She Think She Is?  that  documents women who are artists and mothers. In The film Janis Mars Wunderlich shares how she carves out time to sculpt while running her household of 5 kids and a working hubby. She has a small child that stayed at home with her while the others went to school.


Passion Turns Into Blossoming Career

She managed to squeeze in her art sculpting at a very specific time between having dropped off her older kids to school and when her youngest wakes up from her nap. In that time she in a sense hits the ground running pouring her heart into her sculpting in a room dedicated to it.  In the previous years she maintained this pace of creating in the “in between” pockets of time allowing her craft to develop. As a result her work became recognized in galleries and began creating a income for her.  Talk about time management!


The “Until” Group VS. the “Use It Now” Group

There is a group of people that exist that I like to call the “until” people. The people that say “until I have more xyz” then I can begin to be, pursue, create this thing in my heart that is aching to be. There is the other group that I call the “use it now” group. They recognize the imperfection of their situation, the messiness of the all the details not fully lining up all tidy and neat and they dive into the moment with what they have and just take that one action step that bring s them closer to their dream. They use what they have around them and dive in “perfect” or not.


Make That Change

I myself have made that transition from the first group to the second in small steps over the years. That is the only reason you’re reading these words today. I thought that in order to write I needed to publish something in a hard copy book and so I was waiting for years for that ample stretch of time to magically appear so I could have the perfect conditions to create the perfect idea that would turn into the perfect best selling book.

Until I started using my morning time to tiptoe into blogging.


Relax or Dig Deep

Constraints can be that door we relax next to and accept or it can be the catalyst of creative tension that causes us to dig deep and push against it to find ways to open it, go around it or bust it down.

Here is a great article from Fast Company  for your reading enjoyment that shares inspiring ways people have taken the constraints of their situations and used it as fuel to create amazing things.

In this TED talk Phil Hansen shares how he used a debilitating hand ailment to create a new form of art instead of letting it dictate the end of his art career.


What is your constraint for creating what you love? I’d love to know. As usual if you found this post helpful don’t forget to share, like or comment. Thanks for stopping by!


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