People, who really know me, and the kind of schedule I have, always ask me where I find the time to write, let alone sleep. Of course, to this I reply, “When I get around to it.” About a week ago, I had the grocery manager of the Hannaford I work at ask me the same question. To illustrate a point I asked him, “How much do you watch TV each day?”
He thought for a second, “About an hour, my kids take up the rest of the time.”
“Well, there you go, get rid of the kids.” Just kidding, what I did tell him though, “If you have something you love doing, you will turn off the TV more, or at least do it on commercials.”
Enya has a song called “Only If” that I love to play whenever I feel I don’t have time to write. It perks me up every time. There is a line in the chorus that says, “Only if you want to, will you find a way.” This line, more than any of the others, motivates me to pick up my pencil and paper. I had to break through the excuse, “I don’t have time.” That is when I took a closer look at what was dominating my time.
According to a study on television viewing habits by country America and The United Kingdom tied at the top with an average of 28 hours per week. That is four hours every day. (To see where the other countries placed go to this link http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/med_tel_vie-media-television-viewing ) This makes television one of the worst time wasters. Some writer’s say they use TV for characters or ideas. There are two ways to respond to this. If you are a script writer, you are absolutely right. The best way to learn how to approach script writing is by seeing how other script writers handle a situation.
Of course, if you are a fiction writer, you’re better off reading a book. If you are using the television for ideas, cut back the time watching to just what you need, like maybe three hours a week.
Another great way to make time is at the grocery store. Knowing the layout of the aisles, and where each item is, can have a large impact on your time. I have a good memory for such things, but for those who don’t, most stores have a map with a list of where items are. Have a copy of the list at home, so that when you make out your list you can base it on location.
When you make out the list, stick to it, and know which brand you are going for. By doing just these things at the grocery store, you can cut your time tremendously. As an example, I went shopping on Wednesday and bought 200 (approximately) dollars worth of items. It used to take me 45 minutes to go through the store before I was in line. On Wednesday, it only took me ten minutes. That is 35 minutes of lost time.
I also like to consolidate errands. It requires a little planning, but if you time them right you can get a number of things done at once. In addition, on Wednesday, I went to the store first, went to pay a bill on the way to McDonalds for breakfast. I did it all in half an hour. It took 5 minutes of planning, and I had extra time to write.
Before I go any further, I just want to point out that I am one of the most unorganized people I know. Trying to find time to write was no easy task for me. I have read books, seen motivational speakers, but nothing worked until I sat down and made a list of my day. The list was very revealing.
I always have a pencil, and paper, with me so that I am ready for quiet moments, which are normally wasted. Good sources of quiet moments; breaks at work, waiting for appointments, and sitting on a bus, are all great sources of time. If you have a tape recorder, you can also take down ideas while walking, or even while working without stopping to write an idea down.
The ways to make time can be endless. You just have to take the time to look.
Challenge: Make a daily list of your activities and see where you can cut time.