If You Keep Trying to Find Time to Do Something, You’ll Be Looking Forever
Someone recently asked how I find time to write creatively with a full-time job because, while writing is an outlet for this person, they can never seem to find brain space or the time to write on top of working a 40-hour week.
I considered the question very seriously because keeping a full-time job in tandem with creative pursuits is something I strongly advocate is possible and important. Money is important, guys!!
The short answer is: I’m really, really busy.
The long answer: there’s nothing to actually find.
What do I mean by that?
Glorious extra free time for relaxation, passion projects, creativity, and even spending time with your friends, is not waiting behind a magical game show door you haven’t figured how to open.
Time doesn’t owe you any favors.
If you are not finding the time to write creatively (or whatever it is you aren’t doing enough of), you need to take responsibility for yourself and your time. Just as you wouldn’t go looking for handouts in other areas of your life, time is no different. Don’t feel entitled to free time; you need to earn it.
Time is not found; it is MADE.
Stop looking for something that doesn’t exist… YET!
Whether it’s going to Kundalini yoga, visiting parents who don’t actually live too far away, writing your great American novel, reading a long book, taking an actual honest to God vacation, or even committing to a six season TV series, it all takes a conscious effort on your part to carve out the time to do them all.
How you prioritize creating space for those activities is another story — about which you have to be brutally honest with yourself.
Time is a precious commodity.
You (hopefully) budget your other big resource (not saying I do), money. Why shouldn’t time be any different? We only get 24 hours in a day, and how we use those hours is up to us. Just like when you build a monetary budget, do your bills, or constants, first: sleeping, working, preparation, and meals. Whatever hours you have left over are your variables.
This is where you need to either commit the time to (insert any thing you have trouble making time for) or not, and that will vary day to day. Some days, happy hour will take priority over the gym, or staying late at work will be more important than dinner plans.
Time is just a series of opportunity costs.
Time doesn’t do excuses.
You either do something, or you don’t. Thinking about doing it or meaning to get around to it, while well-meaning, won’t help you accomplish anything. There’s no running out of time. You have the same amount of time as any other person on this planet. No pats on the back for trying. You are in control of what you prioritize.
Last year, I kept saying I didn’t have time to work out. FOR A WHOLE YEAR. This past January, I realized my health needed to shape up because I didn’t understand stress management and felt like total crap. Guess what…I’ve somehow made the time to go to yoga a few times a week because I finally decided it took priority over other activities I was involved in last year.
If you’re not doing [insert that long term project you haven’t gotten around to starting or finishing]: no excuses –– not even your full time job or relationship, or friendships or family, or health or really any of the other big things that make your life very busy and full. There’s no excuse for not prioritizing; it’s all a choice.
Time is what you make of it.
Life is fucking draining. I get it. Work, family drama, and even just being a person in society can put you right the hell to sleep occasionally.
It’s hard to do the things you HAVE to do, and then figure out how to do the things you WANT to do in between.
The thing is…you just have to do it. Push yourself. Say yes to going out with your friends on a Friday night when you’re already halfway into your jammies. Go to a cool coffee shop and commit to writing for an hour in the evening. Get in the car and go to the grocery store instead of using Postmates so that you can feed yourself for the week and not just the night.
We all make choices. If you’re struggling to make time for the things you want to do amidst the things you have to do, it’s not the things you have to do’s fault. You can’t blame work because… we all have to work.
Even after you’ve budgeted your time out and only have an hour to give to your passion, whatever that is, that hour will get you a lot farther than an excuse. Do what you need to do help yourself get there, even if that means indulging in $6 fancy lattes or $100 yoga pants or rain checking on Taco Tuesday or making additional time for a long bath to clear your mind.
Know what you need to make the most out of the time you have.
Time is finite.
At the end of the day, life’s short. Do what makes you happy.
I truly believe that we do what we want. If you’re not writing, you might not want to be writing. If you’re not being very social on weekends…you might not feel like being social.
Learn to understand the difference in what you WANT to be doing, and what you THINK you want or need to be doing. Recognize when you’re holding yourself to dated standards that aren’t applicable or true anymore –– it will only lead to unnecessary feelings of failure.
Learn to be OK with not doing things all the time. Learn to be present in whatever choice you DO make. If you choose work over fun, or vice versa, live with your decision. Allowing FOMO to rule your life, wishing you were doing one thing while involved in another, means you really aren’t doing or enjoying either very well.
Remember that no one is putting pressure on you, except you. And also, like I said, life is fucking hard. Cut yourself some slack.
But, on that note, if there IS something you want to do and you’re struggling to find the time, remember there’s nothing to find, but plenty to build. So, get ready to roll up your sleeves and get ‘er done.