No Longer Making Time

We have all at some point said those words: I don't have time. We usually say them after we've revealed a desire to do something different, such as exercise, learn a new language, or try our hand at standup comedy. I often said the phrase after I talked about wanting to write again.

When you say I don't have time for something in your personal life, most people will never challenge you. They'll nod their heads and give the sympathy you seek and then you both continue eating your third helping of chocolate chip cookie sundae and complain that you can't lose weight. But it's not your fault because you don't eat unhealthy—your mother had thyroid issues, so you should get yours checked. But you never do it. You don't have time, after all.

Are you seeing a pattern?

I finally got to the point where not only was I tired of not writing, but I was tired of listening to myself complain about not accomplishing a personal goal. I challenged myself to find the time, requiring me to assume that I did in fact have such time.

I analyzed my typical day and my routine and habits and realized that I was sleeping through my writing time, so I started waking up earlier. Until just a few months ago, I'd stay in bed until the last possible moment before getting ready for work, so I worked to change a 34-year-old habit.

I also realized I couldn't write because I spent too much time distracted. For me, my laptop is great for producing writing but not great for creating writing. It's too easy to get distracted by a computer. Open one browser window for “research” and next thing you know you're five hours into a random YouTube video marathon. Modern cell phones are equally distracting as you have all of the digital world at your fingertips, and I hate writing on a cell phone anyway, so it hardly helps my cause. We're hearing more and more that we should stop using screens just before bed, so writing on a laptop or cell phone while winding down for the night seems like a bad idea. That's where the ol' trusty pen and notebook come in handy.

Fun fact: Pen and paper also help with reducing screentime in general. They really are wonderful contraptions.

Most recently I had the ephiphany that I could write during my lunch breaks. I also realized that I had more time to write if I cut out playing video games. It's amazing how much time you can find when you want to find it. Maybe you are one of those rare cases who truly does not have the time. Only you can determine that. On the other hand, maybe you need to work on your communication and negotiation skills in order to give yourself the opportunity. Identify your priority and ask what it would take to get it.

Even when you do find extra time, there comes a limit. For instance, I know I can't write for eight hours a day unless I quit my day job, and considering my day job pays better than the $0 my writing nets me, that ain't happening any time soon. Yet I wonder where else we can find extra time when we challenge ourselves to find it rather than accept that it doesn't exist.

#timemanagement #writing #prioritizing