“For me and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is ‘I didn’t get enough sleep.’ The next one is ‘I don’t have enough time.’ Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining or worrying about what we don’t have enough of …”
-Lynne Twist, The Soul of Money
We’re busy. I get it. We use busy as if it is actually an excuse for anything these days. We are ALL busy. Probably busier than we have ever been. So with the fact that everyone is busy, it really becomes important to prioritize our time.
I don’t have children yet, so I can’t speak to the amount of workload that adds to a schedule. But what I do know is that the concepts of organization and getting things done remain the same. For most of my friends that have children it’s all about scheduling. Their children are on a schedule which allows them to do what they need to.
The key here is that we have time for the things that are most important to us. If your writing is not on that list, you will never have time for it. I don’t want to be a person selling you a one size, fit all strategy, but I will tell you that you probably do have the time. Here are a few of the things that we undoubtedly waste time on in today’s world:
Lack of preparation
Taking meetings that could have been phone calls
Talking about people who are doing it vs. actually doing it ourselves
I would say that the first key to finding the time that you need to do the things that you want to do would be figuring out where you waste time. I can easily see that when I am faced with a task that doesn’t excite me, that’s when I waste the most time on the internet or browsing through social media. So I have to literally tell myself out loud to focus and get back to the task at hand.
We also lie to ourselves thinking that we can multi-task. It’s not effective. It will take me so much longer to get a task done that I am not focused on. If I am answering emails and phone calls in between, it will literally double the time. When I just focus on one thing, it gets done quicker and then I can move on to the next task.
When you write out the list of the things that you have to do, it’s essential to also number them. What is the most important thing that needs to get done today? That needs to be the priority. For me, writing is a priority. It is the first thing that I do when I wake up. I journal and I write my prayers. That has to happen before anything else in my day, sans an early meeting when I have to literally get up and go. That’s how important it is for me to have writing and quiet time to myself in my daily routine.
CLICK TO TWEET /// What is the most important thing that needs to get done today? That needs to be the priority.
When you learn where you are wasting time, you can then begin to cut those things out and move the more important tasks there. So if you are working on pitching sites or writing a book, you can use that hour of Scandal to do that. Everything is on demand now. So there is no reason that we have to rush to the TV and utilize precious time to watch a show when it comes on.
Does this mean you can’t ever do anything for your enjoyment? NO. Of course not. We know how important self-care is. We know how important it is to simply have days when you can netflix and chill. But building a career is all about sacrifice. You give up a lot in the beginning so that you can do more of what you want in the end. If you are complaining about not having enough time, then you need to evaluate your priorities.
The more prepared we are for the tasks that we have, the more time we create as well. So when you have school assignments, it’s smarter to get them out of the way when you have the time as opposed to waiting until the night before they are due. Work ahead where you can. This gives you more open time and flexibility to maneuver other things in your life.
Our belief that there is such a scarcity of time really just enables our anxiety. Myself included at times. Most of the days when I feel like there is not enough time, it’s because I have grossly mismanaged my day. I watched that extra Grey’s episode and I shouldn’t have, I spent too much time on a task I couldn’t finish, or I got derailed by something that had nothing to do with my list of priorities.
I don’t want to make you feel bad, but I bet you have the time. I bet if you worked on better scheduling and better processes, you would be able to fit everything in. And sometimes, the fact that you don’t have enough time, may be an indicator that you are doing too much. Don’t be afraid to trim the fat either. You can’t be everything all at once. So to recap, you want to find the time? Here’s what you do:
Figure out where you are wasting time
Input more important tasks into the time you are wasting
Be sure to prioritize your to-do list
Prepare and work ahead as much possible
Have you found yourself complaining about the lack of time? Are there things that you could do to make more time? Tell me about it in the comments.