Finding balance in a chaotic world

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December 2017
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I Just Don’t Have the Time

clockOne of my big epiphanies came when I felt I was in a deep struggle with writing my first novel. I knew I would need to schedule a certain amount of time to write each day or I would lose momentum and never finish. But when could I do this? I had a full-time job, two small children, and plenty of other responsibilities. When talking this over with my wife, I figured I would need to block out about an hour to and hour-and-a-half each night to get my writing done. Looking at my schedule I realized that I could do that after the kids went to bed but it would mean a sacrifice…that was my prime video game time.


Now obviously skipping writing my novel to play video games is not the correct decision and I knew it, but I was afraid that my life would be get up and go to work, come home from work and take care of the kids (fun, but still work), then work on my book, then go to bed. I did not want my life to become nothing but work (talk about unbalanced). Truly, playing and caring for my kids is not work but it does take undivided attention so there was no way I could write and care for them at the same time.


So I decided to compromise slightly. I vowed that I would not skip more than one night of writing and that I would write at least six days in a row. I would not schedule my night off but I would take it when I felt that I needed it. I figured at a goal of 1000 words a day, it would take about 90 days to reach my 75,000 word goal. I realized that I could forgo video games for 90 days, after all I had played them most of my life and they weren’t going anywhere.


So I embarked on my great project with much nervousness and a little excitement. I started writing and kept to my schedule. Some days, the 1000 words came effortlessly and others it was a struggle to reach 750. Still I was able to keep going and on those effortless days I could sneak in some video game time when I was done. I had found the balance I needed.


A strange thing happened around the middle of the book. The time it took to write my 1000 words had decreased, since I was now in practice of writing and getting more skilled in it. Also if I knew I needed time in the evening, like to watch a TV show or something, I’d write during lunch at work or some other off time. I found that if it was something important to me I’d make time and if not, then obviously it was not important.


I finally finished the novel in around 90 days and was proud of my accomplishment. Even if it never gets published, I still did it. It also proved to me that you will find time for things that are important to you. This brings me to my point.


The next time you say “I wish I had the time to do that” think about why you are saying that. Is it a convenient excuse to not do something so you won’t hurt someone’s feelings? Or do you truly feel overwhelmed and are lowering the quality of your life because of it. If it is the former, I encourage you to tell them why you really do not want to participate. Not enough time is a hollow excuse. If it is the latter, look at your day and determine what is less important than that which you want to do. Once you find it, adjust your schedule for a couple of weeks and see if the new one is satisfactory. By ditching the things that are draining your time you can quickly come back into balance.