Make Time for Dance
Many people assume that the hardest struggle for dancers and choreographers is being able to make a living off of their work: And it’s true. Making a living off of dance is a tough beast to tackle. But there’s another problem altogether that you may have noticed. The inevitable time when a dance artist takes a part-time or full-time job to pay the bills, and is left trying to scrape together enough spare time to dedicate to their passion. When the responsibilities pile up, how are you supposed to make time for dance?
This challenge can become a burden for dance artists. No artist wants to leave their passion behind, and you shouldn’t have to. But there are always things that NEED to be done, and when the jobs and responsibilities take up all of your time, it can feel overwhelming (if not impossible) to make time for dance. So today, I’ve decided to share something I’ve developed for finding time in a busy schedule. This method requires you to put in some work: critical thinking, in-depth reflection on your time, and ACTUALLY taking a pen to paper. But if you TRULY want to find time for your passion, this is the BEST way I’ve found to make extra time in your schedule. So get your pen and paper out, and let’s make some lists.
List #1: Things you HAVE to do
These are things like going to work, doing your laundry, eating, taking a shower, etc. The things that are COMPLETELY necessary to being a person. This list is pretty straightforward, but make sure that everything you put on this list is REALLY necessary.
List #2: Things you LIKE to do.
These are things like reading, working out, getting X amount of sleep at night, spending time with your significant other, going to community events. The things that you enjoy AND are good for you. As you make this list, think about why you enjoy each of these things and write that down next to the list item. For example, ‘I like yoga because it makes me feel more awake and gives me better posture throughout the day.’
List #3: Things that AREN’T HELPING YOU.
This list is a little harder to pin down. These are the things that aren’t really beneficial to your health, happiness, or career, but take up a significant amount of your time: time-wasters. Some things that fit into this category are watching Netflix, scrolling social media, playing video games, snoozing your alarm clock, etc. Even things like going to parties can fit on this list. If you find yourself going out a lot and always coming home sick and complaining, it probably fits on this list. But if you find yourself feeling lonely until you get to have that social interaction, it may fit on the list of things you LIKE to do. It really is up to you to define this category, but try to be honest. Once you have your list of things that aren’t helping you, take the time to ask the question ‘why do I do these things?’ I’ve found that, often times, bad habits come out when we are overwhelmed, stressed out, or simply procrastinating. So ask yourself, ‘Are there ways I can relax and unwind that are more beneficial and healthier AND that don’t waste time?’
List #4: PRIORITIES
Now that you have your three lists, it’s time to PRIORITIZE. This time, list ALL of the things from the previous three lists in order of importance to you. How important are each of these things to you? Most likely, the things you HAVE to do, like your job, will be at the top of your list. But you may be the type of person who values your relationship over job stability. Then, decide where dance fits in on this list. Maybe it’s just below your job, but just above working out. This step is all about getting to know yourself and what you value most in your life.
Now let’s put this into the actual world. I find it’s best to actually write out what a typical day (or week) looks like for you. You can either estimate how much time everything takes you, or you can document how you spend your time. Then, take a look at your schedule and what you can change about it. For example, if you work 9 to 5, want to work out everyday and you’re not willing to cut down on your 2 hours of Netflix per night, you won’t have a ton of time to dance. But, you could decide to work out 4 days a week instead of 7, and use the other 3 to dance or choreograph since that will get your heart rate up, too. To make time for dance in a busy schedule, compromise may be necessary.
This is incredibly personal, and nobody can tell you what to cut out and what to keep. But I challenge you to give yourself a goal. At the end of all these lists, write down a goal for how much you want to dance, schedule it in, and hold yourself accountable. Saying, ‘I will dance on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 7pm-8pm’ is going to be SO MUCH stronger than just saying that you’ll you cut out bad habits and dance instead. So push yourself to set a real goal, write it down, hold yourself accountable… and make time for dance.