“I can’t find the time!” I hear this often, and quite honestly, it’s my own number one refrain when assigned any new task. Whether it’s setting aside the time to write a blog post or newsletter or getting around to that book you keep meaning to write, time can be an elusive creature. Yet, Brené Brown, Glennon Doyle and Oprah all have the same 24 hours a day that we have. With that in mind, here are some tools to help you finally find time to write.
I’m coming at you with the big guns first: how committed are you to writing a book? Is it something, like me, that you’ve dreamed of since you were a little girl? Was is a dream that also compares to dreaming of becoming a princess or astronaut or is it a lifelong dream you have been working towards for years through reading, practicing, and honing your craft? How committed are you to becoming an author? Unfortunately, I have seen two simultaneous trends of late with the entrepreneurial crowd: everyone wants to become a speaker and everyone wants to become a published author. Both promise to give you authority as an expert and help you stand out… except when you are just one in a crowd of a million. Writing a book, a good book that will stand the test of time and a competitive market, requires strong commitment to the craft and a commitment of time.
I recently heard someone say that the plural of priority—priorities—is a misnomer because the very definition of priority is the one thing that is more important than the others. At some point you need to decide if writing a regular blog or writing your book is a priority. Of course, I am not suggesting that you quit your job or not care for a sick child, but I dare you to have a look at your day and see where you can trim the fat on things you don’t need to be doing. I just learned of these new apps that can measure how much time you spend on your smart phone. There is Moment for Apple users and I downloaded YourHour onto my Android phone to see how much time I waste and it’s scary to say the least…and I do write every day!
Time blocking helps make things a priority. If you block off time in your calendar, you need to make it a priority and not schedule something else in its place. If you have an appointment with your dentist at 2 pm on Tuesday, you will show up at your dentist’s office at 2 pm on Tuesday. The same applies for the hour a day or three hours a week you block off for writing. Make a commitment to yourself and make that time slot a priority.
Don’t discount the time you stare off into space thinking about your writing project. That time is essential to the process. Any time spent mentally outlining a blog or figuring out the storyline for your next chapter is valuable time and helps prime the pump for when you do sit down to the keyboard. This takes some mindful exercise to go from worrying about what the weather will be like for Johnny’s football game to focusing on your writing project, but it can be done.
If I were to enumerate all of my responsibilities in one sentence it would sound absolutely ridiculous, and most of all overwhelming. Overwhelm becomes a paralyzing problem when choosing to write a book or make a commitment to writing a blog every week. Every week?! Forever?! A whole book, like 300 pages?! Your mind can easily get exhausted just at the thought of it and give up before you start. My husband likes to remind me that you eat an elephant one bite at a time. In fact, overwhelm is nothing more than a product of becoming too focused on the big picture…when all you really need to worry about is what you must accomplish in the next 15 minutes.
Give 15 minutes a try
I bet you can find many pockets of 15 minutes throughout your day, it’s time to use them. Chunk down what you need to write and focus on the smaller parts. Don’t concern yourself with the blog due in three months, focus on the blog you will write today. You will be shocked how much you can write in 15 minutes if you already know your topic and have a mental outline. Give it a try.
By breaking down time into chunks you will find yourself being more productive and you will gain time that is normally wasted in the day. Eventually your mindfulness about how you use your time will become habit, which will hopefully result in finding the time you need to reach your writing goals. If you’re looking for someone who can keep you accountable to your writing goals, let’s chat. Be sure to sign-up for our newsletter and download your free guide to Outline your book today.