“If I could ever find the time” seems to be one of the most common phrases in the American lexicon. We talk about the things we would accomplish if we could only find the time. As a writer, it is essential to know how much time it takes to produce content, revise, and to work on new ideas. Procrastination wasn’t just natural for me; I was a complete master at the art. Going to college as an unconventional twenty-two-year-old Freshman, I had to learn how to manage my time better. Here are a few tips on how you can manage your free time better. If I managed to make them work, so can you.
Write Things Down
As a writer this was the easy part; bust out the old composition notebook and chronicle what you do throughout the day. This process is enlightening and in my case, was downright freighting. So much time was wasted, and I never realized it. Writing down a schedule and being honest with how you spend time will eliminate long spells on the couch watching TV because it’s a little sobering to have to write you spent five hours watching House of Cards instead of working on your novel.
Seeing your schedule makes it a reality, and checking things off will also help encourage you to finish the tasks. Writing a long term plan on paper will help your goal become tangible and will make working toward it that much easier. For example, remember why you are working out even though you the darkest part of you wants to go to Wendy’s and hammer down a Baconator. Seeing a long term goal of being fit for the beach or a wedding can make that Wednesday workout mean something beyond the aches and pains. The mind can easily be distracted, and if something is written down, it’s easier to talk yourself out of doing it.
Tell Your Friends
Okay, so this one doesn’t mean to inform your friends of your minute to minute daily rituals. Instead, make sure your friends know what time you go to the gym, what time you like to study, and what time you like to work on your sculpting. Whatever your pleasure, having a set time with your friends knowing will accomplish two different goals.
It Will Eliminate Unwanted Disturbances
If you always study from 8-10 every night, you can expect your friends to pick up on this and not bother you at this time. However, if you are always changing your routine, it will be easy for your life to fit the world’s schedule and not the other way around.
It Will Force You to Stay Consistent
If you tell your friends you are going to write at 8:00, it will keep you in check. If your friends know you are writing every single day at a particular time, most will eventually want to see your work or ask how it is going. Plus, friends are going to be supportive and try to work around your schedule if you are diligently trying to accomplish a goal.
There are several different schools of thought on multi-tasking. Some say it’s impossible at any level, and some swear by it. Sometimes, we have a final exam and have to drive a half-hour to pick up your little sister from dance practice. Instead of jamming the top 40 radio, listen to your lecture notes. Record them in class, or just say them into your voice recorder and study on the go. Have to read Wuthering Heights for English Literature? Download the audio book and have a nice run on the treadmill as you listen to the Gothic romance. Want to watch the football game but also workout? Do some push-ups on commercial breaks and take the halftime break as an opportunity to run on the treadmill. You can later reward yourself with some beer and chicken wings for the important games.
These are just a few tips you can use to reflect on time well spent. Life will always get in the way, and sometimes your schedule will fall by the wayside. However, if you stick to these tips, you will accomplish more. You may be a few seasons behind everyone else on Law and Order: SVU, but it will be worth it.