This week I've been thinking a lot about time. How much I have of it. How much I feel like I don't. How sometimes I feel like I'm wasting it. And how much I feel like I'm not going anywhere as each day passes. It's been a struggle. Time moves too fast when you don't want it too, but too slow when you do. Except it's not. It's all relative, right?
Even so, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish in a day versus the time I actually have to complete such tasks to see how exactly I am maximizing my time versus wasting it.
In regards to maximizing my time, I've noticed I get more done when I've planned my day. Usually I get an idea of what my day is like the night before, and I try to eliminate as many decisions I have to make in order to free up my mind for my creative pursuits. This meant, I pack my gym bag, my breakfast and lunch, and what I'm going to wear the night before. This saves me the time it would take for me to be indecisive as well as gets me going in the morning with a purpose. At work, I leave a pile of the things on my desk I need to get done in an order of priority, before I even navigate my inbox so that I don't fall behind.
But the thing is, I don't do that with writing. I track what I've accomplished, and I have revision notes, but I don't plan my writing sessions like I do my work block or my gym time. My goals are too vague. Hit 40K by this date, etc. I could hit it, but if this 40K was as crappy as my last 40K, I've accomplished NOTHING. As I hit another wall, I realized that this was my hang up lately: I was wasting time aimlessly figuring out what I needed to do next. This always happens in the thick of the story--the dreaded middle. It's like the saying right? If you don't have a plan, prepare to fail. I'd been too vague with my revision notes. I needed to directly point out how I could fix a scene or chapter by hitting this, this, and this in my writing session. BLAH. Can I just say it sucks when you feel like you're wasting time?
Speaking of wasting time, here are some other things I noticed that sucked up valuable time. Social Media. I read an interesting article about millennials and instant gratification, and how it affects our ability to empathize or socialize, and I'm like, wow. That's kind of true. Like instead of keeping up with friends, I'll just check out their insta or twitter, and it fulfills the need of me 'catching up' with their lives without the actual social interaction. That's great and all, but it shouldn't be a substitution. Then when it comes time to actually interact, everything feels redundant because I already saw it unfold online. I'm not saying social media is bad. I mean, I use it as well to connect, especially since moving out of state, but it's not a necessity. And limiting my time on it, actually makes me feel better. It actually makes me look forward to spending time with friends or family and fully being present in the moment.
So yeah, social media is a huge time waster when it does not serve you any purpose. Also, it's distracting as hell when I'm trying to get stuff done. I'm on it still, but I cut down my time on it a lot.
Another big time waster? Negative emotions. Our actions and behaviors are based on our emotions. So as I mentioned this month, I've been dealing with a hormonal imbalance, and the side-effects have really messed with me psychologically. I'm not happy when I have reason to be, I feel sick, when I know I'm not. I get really critical of myself when what's happening inside of me is out of my control. All of this negative emotion then festers in me until I throw my hands up in the air and curl up in a fetal position. My symptoms make no logical sense to me when they are controlled by imbalanced hormones, but accompanying them are the negative emotions which feel like ankle weights, pulling and drowning me into a hazy cloud that makes it hard to think straight. It's exhausting, and it wastes a lot of time being upset at myself for it. So what I've started to do is daily journaling. I let out the negative, and by writing it out and dealing with it, I can move on or ride it out. Acknowledge, accept, move on or ride it out. That's all I can really do, and pretending otherwise is nothing but detrimental to my productivity.
This was a longer and more rant-like post than I intended, BUT I hope it makes you think a lot about how you spend your time. After all, your time is sacred. Fill it with what makes you happy and makes your day--and life--better. Fill it with love, the people who mean the most to you, creativity, and anything that brings you joy or benefits your mental or physical health.