I keep notebooks; it’s an OCD thing for me. I like to write things down, what can I say. In January, I was looking through a notebook from 2008 and the entry went something like this:
“It’s almost December, and I really wanted to have TSDI (a book I was writing) done before the end of the year. I’m only half way. I just can’t seem to find the time.”
Looks like I never did find the time, because four years later it sits unfinished at page 108.
Spending more time with Beth and the kids and exercising are other things that I have not done much about for the past few years. And why not? Again, I could not “find the time.” It was as though some mythological time keeper had stolen the extra hours I needed to write a novel, run a few miles, take my wife out to dinner, or get a couple of credit hours in. If I could but locate them I would be able to do these things.
It’s a lie. A farce. Those extra hours don’t exist, so stop looking. You will NEVER find them. Depressing huh?
A tad, but what is more depressing is the amount of hours I wasted every day. Whether it was TV, just chilling, checking facebook, or fantasy football/baseball, I let these pointless activities rule my life. It’s not that I didn’t want to get up and accomplish something of meaning, it’s just that writing a novel is hard. It takes time and mental focus. It’s, dare I say, w**k.
If you follow me at all, you know that I am spending quality time with Beth, writing, and exercising regularly. Did I find the time gremlin and beat him senseless until he gave me more time? No.
I made time.
I have the same twenty-four hours per day as always, but now I am intentional. My life is measurably better than before. Where I could find no time before for the things of meaning, I now make time for Beth, spend 3-4 hours a week to exercise, and 5-8 hours a week to write. That’s over a twelve hours a week I am more intentional about. Even now, as I write this, the TV is off. The old me reacted to life, the new me takes action and gets things done.
You can do it too! Here are a few tips on making time for the important things YOU want to do. (Please leave any tips you have in the comments!)
1: Turn the dish/cable off. This was huge for me. It used to always be on in the background and before I knew it, I was watching absolutely nothing of merit. We have Netflix now so we can watch movies now and then, and a few TV series, but it no longer has the control it used to.
2: Be productive on your breaks at work. I get get two fifteen minute breaks at work in an eight hour day. Before I used to surf the internet or walk to the post office, but now I used that time for non-novel writing. Monday and Wednesday I work on posts for this blog. Tuesday and Friday I work on short stories. Thursday I write posts or add new publishers to my writing blog (christianwriterscorner.wordpress.com).
3: Make time for things that matter ten years from now. For me, it’s exercise. I must exercise 3-4 days a week. Why? Because when my kids are teenagers, I want to be able to run around a basketball court or soccer field with them without going into cardiac arrest.
4. Motivate yourself. Find what motivates you and put it in front of your face every day. My motivation is that I want to end the cycle of of being a dreamer in my life so I don’t pass it on to my kids. I want to encourage them to dream huge dreams, but not to stop there. They need to do the work. I don’t want them years for now to start things and not finish because I never did. I want to show them that it doesn’t matter how smart you are, or how much potential people think you have, if you don’t work hard and finish you won’t get anywhere in life.
5. Do it now. This used to kill me. Beth would tell me something needed to be fixed, and I never found time to do it. My kids wanted to play ball, but something else was going on, so I would put it off until later. Now, if at all possible, I stop, and get it done. I may not have an hour to throw the ball with Jaivin, but he’s never complained about me saying, “Get the gloves, but I only have a few minutes.”
Remember, you’ll never find time for anything. If you want to get it done, you will have to make time.
What are some of the ways you make time for the important things in your life?
I wanted to leave you not only with a question, but with some quotes that I hope will motivate you the way they have me:
In truth, people can generally make time for what they choose to do; it is not really the time but the will that is lacking.
~ Sir John Lubbock
Time is an equal opportunity employer. Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent new minutes. And you can’t save time to spend it on another day. Even so, time is amazingly fair and forgiving. No matter how much time you’ve wasted in the past, you still have an entire tomorrow.
~ Denis Waitley
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
~ Steve Jobs
Much may be done in those little shreds and patches of time which every day produces, and which most men throw away.
~ Charles Caleb Colton
He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out the plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life.
~ Victor Hugo
For disappearing acts, it’s hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work.
~ Doug Larson
Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.
~ Napoleon Hill
Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.
~ M. Scott Peck
Yesterday is a canceled check; tomorrow is a promissory note; today is the only cash you have – so spend it wisely.
~ Kay Lyons
Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson and Albert Einstein.
~ H. Jackson Brown
If you want to make good use of your time, you’ve got to know what’s most important and then give it all you’ve got.
~ Lee Iacocca