5 Creative Things to Do with 5 to 10 Minutes

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Last week I tried to convince you of the importance — and ease — of taking little pockets of time to create for yourself. But if you’ve been out of the creativity game for a while, you might be wondering what you can do with a short span of time that you’ll feel good about.

So I thought I would share five easy ideas that you can do with five minutes (or more, or less) when you want to do something creative but aren’t sure what to do. I hope they’ll inspire you to take little pockets of time to be creative and to come up with your own list of favorite quick activities.

1. Write a Poem

I put this first because I think we often equate creativity with craftiness (and if you feel that way you should really read this piece on Thinking Outside the Box on Creative Living at The Art of Simple), and it certainly doesn’t have to be that way.

There are all sorts of ways to be creative, from painting to sewing to making crafts to writing poetry.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t consider yourself a poet, or you haven’t written a poem since you were forced to in high school. Just scribble down a couple of lines about your day, write a nonsense poem about the school pickup line, a haiku about the sunset or a poem where the first letters of each line spell our your kid’s name.

The main thing is just to try it and to have fun. That’s true of all of these ideas, actually.

2. Read a Poem

Some of my favorite poets and collections.

If you haven’t read a poem since high school, either, reading poetry can be a great way to get your creative juices flowing and to get you thinking in a more poetic way.

Pick up a book at random next time you visit the library, look for a book by a Pulitzer winner, or visit a website dedicated to poetry and read a verse or two. Poetry 180, an initiative by former poet laureate Billy Collins to get high school students to read poetry, is a great place to start. Collins’ poetry is wonderful, too, if you think poetry has to be stuffy. He’s funny and has a point at the same time.

Try to take some time to actually think about the poems, what you like or don’t like and how you respond to them, too. I used to keep a notebook with quotes from poems that I liked, and I should start that again. It’s good to stretch your brain in this way if you haven’t done it in a long time.

3. Continue a Project

If you’re already into a craft like knitting, crochet, cross stitch or drawing, work on a project when you have just a little bit of time.

It’s great to have a portable project always at the ready that you can take with you in the car (for working on in the pickup lane or at the library when your kids don’t need you) or that you always keep in a bag to work on away from home. If you don’t have such a hobby, maybe you should think about getting one.

4. Take a Picture and Play with it

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A picture I embellished with the A Beautiful Mess app.

I really want to be more creative with my photos. To that end I’m trying to post more often (I would say daily, but I’ve already messed that up this year) on Instagram, and I do occasionally try to fancy things up a bit as well.

I love the A Beautiful Mess app, which makes it super easy to add borders, text and graphics to pictures. Sometimes I get a little carried away playing with it, but its so fun and this is great entry-level creativity that you can do anywhere you have your phone. Which, let’s face it, is everywhere.

Of course you can also play in Photoshop, PicMonkey or the desktop photo manipulation program of your choice.

5. Doodle

one minute doodle
A one-minute doodle page.

Here’s another one that you can do anywhere. I’m a little obsessed with doodling as a means of creativity, but that’s because it’s easy, you need no supplies, anyone can do it and it’s a great gateway activity.

A little doodle is great for combating boredom or stress, and practiced regularly you may cross over into a full-time drawing hobby. Wouldn’t that be nice.

To that end, I found a really cute site the other day, Doodle Draw Art, which has some great little videos for simple doodles to get you started. Or check out a book like Craft-a-Doodle, which will give you tons of ideas to try.

What do you do when you have just a little time for creativity? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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  1. Ok, you know I have zero crafting skills, but I love to doodle! If it is a gateway activity, maybe I’m just a late bloomer in the craft dept! I’m going to try reading poetry to get creative. I would have never thought to try that…

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