I recently wrote about 10 beliefs that sabotage writing.
This week, I’m writing about Reason #1: You don’t have time.
Here’s the first thing you need to know. Time is a construct.
Sure, we all have responsibilities, and we all generally have to meet deadlines or carry out duties within a specified time frame for work and in our daily lives. But… we are not at the mercy of time. Time does not have to dictate our every decision, our quality of life, or whether or not we write.
Chances are, you have more time than you realize. That is, if you’re a person who believes that time is something you possess.
Besides the obvious obvious approach of adding more time to your day by waking up an hour or two earlier (Try it. I started waking up at 5am, and it completely changed my productivity.), you can collect time and save it.
Think of it like a money jar you keep on the counter. You throw spare change in when you have it, and after a year has passed, you’ve saved enough to buy something for yourself you otherwise would not have been able to buy.
Time works the same way. Think of it as energy that you can gather and shape shift.
The best way to see where you can start saving up time is to do exactly what you’d do if you were trying to figure out where you can save money.
You do an inventory.
- For at least one week – preferably two – track your time every day. From the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed. This may sound tedious and anal, but you’ll be amazed by how much time you’re likely squandering every single day. Notice how much time you spend buying and preparing food, checking and answering emails, watching videos online, having unproductive conversations (or conversations that go on long past the length of time the issue at hand requires), doing laundry, practicing self care, on social media, exercising, and on and on.
- Look for ways to shave time. If you’re spending an hour and a half at the gym, chances are, you can cut your workout routine down to an hour and still get the same benefit. Make meals in batches ahead of time and freeze them. Unsubscribe from email lists that clutter your inbox so you’re only tempted to read the ones that truly pertain to your life and your interests. Give yourself a social media time allowance and stick to it. You get the idea…
- Check for patterns. After your week (or two) of inventory, if you see that every day around 11:00am you get bored and spend an hour on social media, but realize that only 10 minutes of that hour were spent productively, you can add 50 mins. to your time bank and start a new habit of only spending the necessary 10 minutes to accomplish your task. Do this for every task you perform every day.
- Decide when you’re going to use the time you’ve collected. Figure out when you’re the freshest, when no one else is home, or whenever the optimal time of day might be for you.
- Make a vow to use your time to write. Follow through and use your extra time to write. Think about this: If you saved $2,000 for that trip you’ve been wanting to take but then blew it all on slot machines, how crummy would you feel?
Now that you’ve figured out how much extra time you really have, don’t blow it carelessly.
Treat it as something sacred. Because it is.