Lately I’ve been struggling with my schedule and getting everything I want to accomplished. And after the whirlwind that was the holidays, my weekends are getting busier and busier playing catch up. I’m losing the time I normally spend reading/writing/blogging. And I was thinking about the fact that during the week I don’t do much of any of those three things – the things I’m most passionate about. And that’s a problem. I was talking to a coworker at work and he had me write down my daily schedule. After doing that he showed me that I was only devoting an hour a day to my passions during the week, which really isn’t okay with me. But how can I devote more? My schedule is already full. The truth is that I may not be able to with my busy schedule. And I don’t even have kids. I can’t imagine finding the time to do everything dealing with kids as well. Kudos to all you parents out there. But even though I may not be able to increase the time I spend on my passions, I can make sure that the time I do spend is productive. And now I’m going to help you do the same thing.
Make a Schedule
You have to make a schedule for yourself. Without this in place, you’re just squeezing reading/blogging/writing or whatever is you want to do more of, in wherever it fits. And most days, it’s not going to fit. Carve out specific time to do the things you love. For me, I carve out one hour every morning for writing and another hour every night for reading and/or blogging. I set a specific time that I’m going to do these things because if I don’t I inevitably get sidetracked and don’t end up doing it. You think one hour a day isn’t enough? How about no hours? Make a schedule gives you the structure you need to reach your goals. Not only does it do that, it also will help you create a habit.
When I first started writing in the mornings it sucked. My brain didn’t want to work, I was half asleep and I just wanted to crawl back into my bed. But because I made it part of my schedule and forced myself to keep going, now it’s just a part of my daily routine. And now I’m used to it. Waking up at 5am doesn’t hurt quite so badly as it used to. And I actually think I write better now in the morning than I do in the evenings or on the weekends. Because my brain is already in a writing state when I sit down. I’ve trained my brain to know that mornings are for writing so my creative juices are flowing.
Write Down All Special Events
We can try to stick to a normal routine as much as possible, but life is crazy and things come up all the time that aren’t “normal”. For example, author signings for me aren’t a normal part of my week. So when I have one, I put it in my calendar immediately and I start to think about what I’m going to sacrifice to go to the event and how I’m going to make up for it. Maybe that means I schedule an extra hour of blogging on the weekend. But if you don’t write it down, you won’t remember to plan for it.
Set Realistic Goals & Stick to Them
Set weekly goals that you can actually hit! Don’t say you want to read five books in a week and write 20,000 words in your WIP if you don’t have the time for that. Most of us work full-time jobs and that’s just not feasible when you spend 40+ hours a week at work. It’s important to set goals, but to set goals that you can actually achieve. If you can’t hit your goals you’ll become discourage and may end up giving up entirely. And that’s not what we want at all. Write your goals down prior to making your schedule and then plan your time so you can achieve them.
You’re not always going to have time to do everything. You’re human and life happens. But when things get crazy and you’re worried about missing your goals for the week, take a step back, breathe and prioritize. What goals are the most important to you? Which ones can slide to next week or to the weekends? Once you’re done prioritizing, execute. It’s okay to scale back your goals some weeks. Prioritizing will help you focus on the ones that are most important to you.
Be Firm When People Try to Get You to Deviate
A lot of people don’t understand the blogging/writing life. I have a couple friends who are very social. They always want to go out and do things – even during the week – and I have to constantly put my foot down and say no. I do go out with them sometimes, but not as often as they’d like. At first they gave me a lot of hell for it, but I calmly explained to them how important my writing is to me and now they get it. And they appreciate it even more when I do come out, because they know what I’m sacrificing. Don’t succumb to peer pressure. I’m not saying become a hermit crab and never leave your home, but don’t let yourself be bullied into doing something you don’t really want to do.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up If You Don’t Hit Your Goals
Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up if you don’t hit all your goals for the week. Life gets crazy and things come up. If you have a bad week, regroup over the weekend and get back into it the next week. If you are consistently missing your goals, scale them back a bit. You might be over-committing yourself. There’s only so many hours in a day and we do need to sleep. Don’t wear yourself out. If you don’t have enough sleep, you won’t be productive. Allow yourself to be human and know that we’re all in this together.How do you put all this into practice? I’ve made it super easy for you with a free pdf weekday goal planner! Just click the link below to download your FREE pdf and start planning! Let’s make 2016 a more organized, successful year!
Here’s a little preview, download the full pdf using the link below!