We’ve all had times like these, where we talk with our friends about how we can’t find the time to write, and we just want to write but it’s so hard, and we hate our jobs because we want to write, but we never actually do any writing. The same happens when it comes to making changes to our routines. We can talk about changing and taking action all we want, but until we actually make those changes, nothing is going to be different.
I hate that rut, and I have a feeling you do too. Now is the time we take practical steps, we implement the changes we want, and we make our writing happen.
A couple of weeks ago, I asked you to make a list, to write down what you’re doing now in terms of writing, and where you would like to be. I asked you what the difference between the two was, and what needed to change for you to get to where you wanted to be. If you haven’t done it already, do it now.
I want you to be detailed. List the tasks and activities you do on a regular basis. This includes things like: coffee with a friend every week; house cleaning every Saturday, driving the kids to music lessons and hockey practice, going to the gym, shovelling the driveway/yard work, visiting parents, time with the nieces and nephews, helping the kids with homework, meal prep, watching The Good Wife and Blacklist. Write down all of it.
Beside each of the activities you list, mark off which ones you enjoy and which ones you don’t. Chances are, the activities you don’t enjoy, are the ones that are necessary to the survival of you and your family, such as work, cleaning, cooking, etc. However, of those activities, are there any of them you can delegate to someone else? Are the absolutely necessary that they get done as frequently as you do them?
For example: are your kids old enough to take on some of the household chores? What about your spouse/partner/roommate? Can they take over some of the duties? Are you in a position to hire a cleaning person to come in once a month to help out? What about the neighbours kids? Can you pay them to clean your driveway and do the yard work?
Is there a way you can use these activities to your advantage? If you’re taking your kids to music lessons or sporting practice, rather than gossiping with the other parents, can you use that time to write?
I have found that in order to make the changes necessary, it is important to start with one thing at a time, then add on. So start with one activity, the one easiest for you to eliminate, reduce, or delegate. I’ve done this by eliminating my specialty cable channels to reduce my TV watching time, though this still needs work; hired a cleaner to come in once a month to reduce the amount of time I spend cleaning because I hate it and take forever to do it; and I use my slow-cooker to make larger meals for left-overs. I also live in a Condo so while I’m not a fan of the maintenance fees, I don’t have to worry about snow removal or lawn-care.
So right now, I’m going to make a deal with you, a committment: I almost always write with the TV on, but I am far more productive without it. My promise to you, is that I’m going to watch less TV. A lot less TV. I’ll reduce the number of shows I record, and give myself at least 3 hours of writing time an evening without the TV on.
What is one activity you can eliminate, reduce, or delegate? Let me know in the comments, and we will hold each other accountable!