Time is finite. There are twenty-four hours in a day and we can’t change that; not on Earth, anyway. The only thing we can do is make our time as productive as we want it to be. The first step is to determine how you are using your time. Are you sitting on the couch watching TV three or four hours every day? Could you use that time for something else? I found that I could revise my novel, and I can still watch TV, although I have to be careful that I don’t incorporate what I am watching into the novel. I do laundry while reading email or even writing in my journal. I read or knit while watching TV.
Look for holes in your schedule that are dead times, and try to use that time. I get up every day at the same time and do a set routine. That’s a block of time about three hours long. I made room for everything I do in the morning by getting up a little earlier than I would need to in order to go to work. Even though I am currently unemployed, I maintain that routine to keep it going so that when I do get another job, I can continue with it. If you want to read the latest novel, try getting a copy as an audible book and listen to it on your car stereo or personal media device.
There are ways to find time for things you want to do, one of the easiest ways is just to give up something else. Prioritize your time usage. Is it that important to surf the ‘net? Or do you want to write in your journal? Shaving time here and there can add up rather quickly.
This is the most efficient way and the most difficult one to do. You have to decide what is more important to you when using this method to make time. If writing in your journal or writing a story is more important than watching that rerun on TV, turn off the TV.
Making time for something is a matter of discipline and planning. You have to really want to do whatever it is that you are making time to do because it usually means sacrificing something else. Everything costs, especially time. Making time involves knowing what you are spending your time on, and how much time you will need. For example, when I decided to get serious about exercising in the morning, I decided that thirty minutes was a good length of time to set aside for the purpose. Then I just adjusted the amount of time I spent doing other things in the morning, like lying in bed, and did the deed. Now it’s almost second nature to get up, feed the cats, and clean out their litter boxes and then exercise. After that, I have the time to shower, write for thirty minutes in my journal and read email for an hour before I would have to leave for work. That’s all it takes, a little dedication to the activity you want to accomplish.
However, what if your desired activity is something you can only do during the day, when you have to work? What do you do then? Depending on how long you get for lunch, you can do pretty much anything on your lunch hour. If you have an hour, you can do quite a lot. It also depends on what you want to do. I used to work for a place that had a small gym with weight machines and exercise bikes for the employees, there was even a Wally Ball court. Some of my co-workers would spend their lunch hours in there. They’d work out or play for twenty minutes, then shower and come back to work. They would eat on their break.
Making time to do something requires a good amount of commitment. There are tradeoffs that we make in order to make time to do something. Everything has a cost. That sounds cynical, but it really isn’t. It doesn’t mean that you can buy anything that you want. It means that in order to do one thing, you have to not do another. If you want to play baseball every afternoon, you can’t watch television. That’s what I mean by saying that making time takes commitment. We aren’t actually making time, as much as we are reallocating it.
Look at what you are doing at any given time and determine what priority you give it. Tradeoffs are a part of what you need to do to make time for an activity, whether it is a permanent change or a one-time event. You must do your evaluations yourself. Only you can say how important an event is to you. Once you make those evaluations, you can determine how much time you can cut from your schedule and what you can move. Then you simply move it around and you have your time.
I have sometimes used a spreadsheet to put in the time blocks and see what I can move to where. There are software programs you can use or you can even use a pencil and paper. Anyway, you can use tools to create the time block that you need to use to make the time that you need to do whatever you planned to do with the time you make.
Obviously, you will have blocks of time that you can’t move, shorten, or manipulate in any way. Depending on what you want to do with the time you make, you can work around these blocks of time. If you are making time to write a novel, you can write on your lunch hour, during breaks or even in bed. Other activities will make you give up other things. You might have to give up some sleep or television. It all boils down to the commitment you have to be willing to make. If you plan to make time, you have to commit to the task. You have to want to do whatever it is that you need to make time for because it you don’t, you will fail. Time is easy to make; it’s the commitment that is hard.