It’s been on my mind lately and the topic of MULTIPLE conversations.
With a client:
Moving your thinking time (i.e., recalling details about an event to write a story) OUT of your writing time so when you sit down to write, you’re ready.
With a colleague:
It’s not FINDING an ADDITIONAL 20 minutes in my day for self-care, it’s using time that already exists in a new way. A “crack” of time. (She’s working on a great new product, I’ll share it with you when it’s ready.)
Yes, you can start a podcast – but not right now. You’re maxed out! Nothing bad will happen if you return the equipment to Amazon and re-order in a few months when you’re ACTUALLY ready (and have the time.)
With Small Thing:
You’re tired. It’s bedtime. GO TO BED.
Okay that last one might not REALLY be about time! It’s not usually a fight to get him to go to bed but it was last night… He was 30 minutes late to go to bed and was OUT within minutes of getting tucked in.
For much of my life, I’ve seen TIME as an enemy. There was never enough of it.
There have been periods in my life, mentors in my life, who preached that nearly every waking moment should be spent DOING THE THING, in income producing activities, go-go-Go-GO-GOOOOOOO!
Here are my (current) top four tips for time (to write):
1. Move your thinking time out of your writing time.
So you know you need to write the story about that AMAZING birthday party you had. But it was YEARS ago and all the happy memories and warm feelings have meshed together and faded. Was that the year you got what you asked for or the year you got what you really wanted and hadn’t asked for? It blends together…
Now that you’ve identified the story you want to write, you need to recall the details. Good news: your mind has them. Bad news: they aren’t RIGHT THERE so you need to think about it.
And the best way to do that thinking is while you’re doing something that doesn’t need your brain. Showering. Dishes. Laundry. Stretching. Going for a walk. Maybe while you’re driving (just not in traffic!)
And then, when you sit down to write, you’ve already done the thinking to recall all the details!
2. Using cracks of time – wisely.
I am NOT saying to never rest or ALWAYS multitask.
You need to also be able to read a book for fun, watch whatever dumb show/movie that relaxes you, or do your hobbies (HELLO paint brush!)
But when you look for cracks of time, you can find them!
Me? I have started using the time when I’m nursing the baby to watch business training videos. It was mindless scrolling – now it fills my brain. (Not every day! Maybe three times a week.)
I listen to my favorite Christian podcast while I clean the kitchen. Takes me 15 minutes to clean the kitchen, the podcast is 25 minutes long. That “crack” of time when I still want to listen but the kitchen is done is a perfect moment to fold a few clothes – the BANE of my housework.
And then one that isn’t part of my life yet, but I think could be BRILLIANT:
The school bus waiting time. When you’re waiting to get your kids from school and you’re stuck in the car waiting for the bus (or at the school waiting for the bell.) THAT is guaranteed time that happens nearly every day, you’re probably alone, AND all you need is a pen and notebook.
A client of mine used her car to write in – she spent 15 minutes in her car, after work, writing before she drove home. And here’s the REALLY exciting part: not only did she fit in her daily writing while she was awake and alert, it actually CUT 30 minutes off her daily commute because waiting 15 before she left meant the traffic was less and she got home faster.
3. It’s okay to wait – sometimes now ISN’T the time for everything.
Not your book. Write THAT now, move the “should do this” thing that isn’t lighting you up.
For me, that’s the podcast.
I DO want to do it! I was VERY excited – and stayed that way for a long time. But I don’t ACTUALLY have time right now. It’s got to wait. Probably until summer…
But I DO think you should write your book now. Writing doesn’t need STUFF (pen + notebook = good to go) and it doesn’t need oodles of time (15 minutes a day DOES work) and it feeds your soul.
You DON’T have to take days, weeks, months out of your life to write your book.
What you can put down are some of those “shoulds” that are driving you crazy. SHOULD bake instead of buying store-bought. SHOULD declutter the junk drawer instead of sitting down to write. SHOULD have a yard sale instead of dropping it all off at the donation center.
It’s okay to choose easy (or easier). And it’s okay to choose fast.
I love eating cookies. I don’t love baking. Safeway bakery for the win!
I am massively decluttering EVERYWHERE. Some things MIGHT have value if I sold them. That is a ton of work for me right now and then it sits around in my house. Charity drop off for the win!
My linen “closest” is a mess. I should reorganize it. OR I can work on my upcoming course (it’s AMAZING) or paint (fills me up.) The closet isn’t important or urgent; I can live with it. Doing it now is 100% avoidance. It can wait.
4. Go to bed. It’s bedtime.
Take CARE of yourself.
I bought a tiny set of tools to help me rehab my still achy Achilles tendon so I can do my exercises at home – not just at PT twice a week.
I have an app on my phone to remind me to drink more water.
I’m eating more fruit, fewer cookies.
And for crying out loud:
GO TO BED!