WARNING: This is a no-edit zone…
I’ve gotten a cluster of notes that are all about time. How to get more done in it, how to ration it, how to not waste it, and, well, let’s just say to use time wisely and call it done.
There are several in-depth articles in my library that deal with time-saving tips, simplifying your life and keeping you out of functioning in chaos. Crisis-mode isn’t where you want to spend your typical days. Do read them if you think they’ll be of interest to you. (www.vickihinze.com in the Writers’ Library.) Here, I’ll give you a few thoughts–a quick upshot:
1. You can’t have everything you want, but you can have that which you most want. So determine what you most want, and invest in it.
2. Time waits on no man nor any woman. It marches on beyond just across your face. That’s a fact, and one I wish I’d given thought to earlier in life. I would have started earlier to focus on goals and objectives, and given higher priority to life-long dreams.
3.We all have responsibilities, and there is no license to ignore them. That doesn’t mean we have to let them suck the life out of us. Use a simple priority list. Put the highest priorities first, and work your way down the list. Tick off those completed items. It’s progress–and there’s power in seeing your accomplishments.
4. It’s all about attitude. You can grumble and groan, or attack those tasks you don’t enjoy and do something to make them more enjoyable–or to get them done. The key is to not procrastinate. The more you do, the more focus the unenjoyable gets. The more it occupies your mind and that is time you’re not focusing on something you do enjoy. Little benefit in that–or satisfaction.
5.Don’t over-schedule yourself. You can’t live a content life if you’ve got every second planned. Creative types need time to piddle around, to daydream, to think. We write about the human condition. If we’re so busy rushing and scurrying we never have time to think about our humanity, how in the world can we explore it? Okay, so the leaves need raking. Rake, but also pause a few minutes to crawl into that wheelbarrow and study the clouds and listen to the wind rustle through the tree leaves. tons of plots, characters, solutions come to you when you let your mind rest in overdrive for a time.
6.Avoid overcommitting to others. All of our modern conveniences are supposed to give us more free time. Unfortunately many fill that free time with more obligations. When you overcommit, you resent. You can’t do or give your best. And in not giving your best, you’ve shorted whatever and whomever you’ve committed to, which isn’t fair to anyone or anything. Do what you can, then say no. It is a complete sentence, and in it there should be no guilt. Don’t shirk, don’t use, but don’t abuse, either–and that includes yourself.
7.If you can’t do what you’d really love to do, find a related alternative. For example, I’ve been tied up for nearly a month with caring for a loved one. That means little writing time. It’s unavoidable, and I wouldn’t give anything else higher priority except prayer. But I am a creature of habit, and my well being is contingent upon writing. When I’m not writing, even I don’t like me. Under these conditions, working on my book is out of the question. So I tackled a short story. And guess what. I love it. I haven’t written many short stories. I tend to write long. But this one knocked my socks off. (I’ll let you know who publishes it. There’s multiple-house interest.) The point is there can be enormous gains in related things as well as those you would choose first. And you might just find a new forum you love!
8.Be flexible. So you’ve gotten through a couple items on your priority list, which keeps you out of crisis-mode (the importance of which cannot be overstated), and something happens that forces you to abandon Plan A for your day and move on to Plan B. We all have days when that digression becomes moving to Plan ZZ. This is not necessarily a bad thing–and it’s temporary, so don’t waste a lot of energy being frustrated and annoyed. That’s bad for you on every possible level.
9.Do take 15 minutes every day–without fail–to just be. Clear your mind, forget your troubles and your priority list. Just be still and let go of whatever has you in its grip. This, like sleeping, is healing time. And you’d be amazed at how much good that 15 minutes will do you for the rest of your day. Try taking this 15 minutes after lunch. It’ll aid in digestion, restore emotional balance and you’ll be refreshed to tackle the rest of your day. Mid-day breaks should be mandatory. Give them priority because the good that comes from them is amazing. More than once, I’ve seen what appeared to be traumatic before a break become far less significant after one. Time and distance offer perspective. Be wise and gain that perspective.
10. Life is short. We’ve heard it, we know it’s true. Look ahead ten or thirty years and pretend to be looking back at your life. What do you remember? What brings a smile to your face? What do you regret? Now act. Do what you can to get more things on the memory smile list and off the regret list.
Do these things, and you’ll be addressing the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of yourself. Don’t shortchange; we are at our best when these aspects of us are balanced. So every day make sure you do something nice for yourself on all three. And remember, doing so isn’t a luxury but a necessity. Not just for yourself, but for those who love you, work with you, and are around you!