5:50 am - Wake to Alarm. Hate life. Hit snooze.
6:00 am - Get ready for work. Pet Cat. Tell children it is too early and try to convince them to go back to bed. Fail.
7:00 am - Work. Change lives ... or class schedules. Give free pep talks. Change more class schedules.
3:30 pm - Pick up daughter. Pick up son. Mediate fight over who gets to use the Ipad in the car.
4:30 pm - Arrive home. Feed Herpes Cat and Over-weight Dog. Pick up mess. Change into what the hubs calls my "comfy (i.e. awful) clothes"
5:30 pm - Make and eat dinner. Drive kids to gymnastics or swimming or underwater basket weaving. Facilitate baths, homework, Herpes Cat. Spend a moment to tell a story to the hubs, get interrupted by a kid and never finish telling the story.
8:30 pm - Put kids to bed. Read stories. Turn on night lights.
9:00 pm - Slap my face and pry open eyelids. Write.
10:00 pm - Fall into bed and pray the kids sleep through the night. Repeat.
So, if you are like me and life is always trying to get you down, I want to give you five things you can adjust so that you have 60 minutes a day to write. It isn't easy, but it is worth it. Here they are in no particular order.
1. Cut Out Three TV Shows a Week Stephen King tells writers in his book On Writing to throw their TVs away. Now, not only is that bad for the environment (recycle, people), it is also very hard. Watching zero TV sounds like a death sentence to many. I am not suggesting anything that drastic. I suggest looking at your viewing list and cutting out your bottom three shows. Do you really need to know who won Cupcake Wars? Will life go on if you watch Parks and Rec in reruns later in life? Keep a few of your favorite shows. After all this is your only life and you deserve to enjoy it, right? But, I'm certain you can live without a lot of what you watch. Try it for a week. I've found I don't even miss Oprah anymore.
2. Say No I am a self-diagnosed people pleaser. That means whenever someone asks me to attend a PTA meeting or bake cookies or volunteer in the church nursery, I want to say yes. It is hard-wired in me to please others. But, the more I do those things, the less time I have. Are any of those things bad? No. Are they time consuming? Yes. One person cannot do it all. And by saying no, you are really saying yes to other possibilities.
3. Limit Social Media Social media is a time suck. There are no ifs, ands or butts about it. I know you use it to promote your book. I know you need to build a fan base, get more Twitter follows and Pintress your character pages. But, it can also eat up your time faster than my kid with a box of Gogurts. You may need social media, but I encourage you to take a long hard look at the minutes per day you are using it. More than thirty minutes total for someone as busy as I am can be killer. If you have more time in your day, then by all means, indulge. However, you still need to pay attention to the time. Facebook and Twitter can be a black hole vortex where time goes to die. Set a kitchen timer for thirty minutes. When it beeps, leave your Farmville game and move on with your life.
4. Socializing This is the point where you realize how lame I really am. I rarely go out. Like as in almost never. This is probably not a good thing. I have a handful of close friends that I see fortnightly. The rest of my free time is spent with my family, managing my house or writing. Will I regret not going out more or hanging with my peeps (do people say peeps anymore? Word.)? Maybe. Will I regret never making my dream a reality? For sure. It is all about priorities. You need to find yours and stick to them no matter what.
5. Be a Crummy Housekeeper At this point Martha Stewart would revoke my lady card if she knew what a crummy house keeper I am. Now, Child Protective Services doesn't need to be called or anything. My kids are clean. My house is neat, but you certainly wouldn't want to eat off my floor. Also, I think the dust bunnies are scheduling a revolt. The sad part is I really like a clean house. I love my home to be tidy and smelling fresh. But with children and two weird pets, I'd have to devote hours a day to keeping it that way. So I don't. I let go. I even hired a cleaning lady twice a month. Am I less of a woman? Maybe. Do I care? Not when I'm making my word count every day. Dust bunnies be damned!
There you have it. Five relatively painless steps to add time into your day. What about you? How do you find time when there is none?