Random Musings, Writing

The Priority of Time

Looking up some quotes for another blog post this week, I stumbled across this one:

The site that deprives you of productivity one minute at a time. Replacing productivity with entertainment since 2010.

That…really hit me hard.

Everyone gets 24 hours in a day. It’s not an uncommon mantra for people to complain about–still–not having enough time in the day to get everything done that you want to. I know I certainly do. Every week, it seems, something gets left on my To-List that I really should have gotten done and is carried over to the next week. Or, I struggle to choose between reading that next chapter, playing a video game or watching an episode of TV, because each hour of free time is just so precious and I don’t want to waste it, even though I want to do all of those things. Then there are things that I really want to do–like writing and running–that, when I don’t complete them, my first excuse is, “I didn’t have enough time.”

When I’m really saying, “Eh, it’s just not important enough to me to make time a priority to ensure that gets done.”

Again, it hits really hard, especially with the writing aspect. Because I started a new novel this week. Wrote almost 500 words. But I’ve only written once, even though my plan was to write at least four days this week. My To-Do List wasn’t even as long as it usually was, yet still, writing hasn’t happened. Everything else on my To-Do List has come first.

Including writing and publishing this post.

Then I read that quote and I wonder; I wonder and I reflect, back to a time when I was writing every day, last year. How great it felt. How I do have the capability to make writing a priority, like I claim it to be.

I just need to do it again.

Social media is what I’ve cut back on the most. I don’t have anything on my phone besides Instagram, Spotify, FitBit, Goodreads and my Mint Budgeting App. Only one of those do I interact with anyone else and that is if something likes a picture I posted. I only check Facebook and Twitter and my blog when I’m on my computer. And my computer, I only log into on the weekdays. But even when I log in to check these sites, I could minimize my time scrolling and be doing other things; more productive things, more enjoyable things, less toxic things. Sure, there is the fear that I’ll miss out, especially with Twitter, when it’s how I connect with authors and agents and other writers. But when it’s taking away from some of the time I could be used to write the books I want to connect with them about?

Yeah, I think it’s okay to lessen that impact a little bit by not getting on Twitter as much; by checking Facebook, scrolling through once to catch up and then logging off; by finding other ways to stay in touch with people I care about that don’t involve social media.

Also, learning to actually listen to my alarm might also help give me, oh, I dunno, anywhere between two and three hours back each morning to actually get shit done.

Reading that quote was not only a nice, sucker punch for my own life, to reevaluate the use of my own time, but it made me think about some of the interactions I have with people closest to me and remind me that this is a problem that everyone struggles with. Makes me think about all those times a texting conversation has dropped because someone forgets or doesn’t have time to respond. Or how we run out of time to schedule dates with our friends and family, even though we really want to see them.

I recently sent out a copy of my book to some friends and family closest to me; the “last testing round,” if you were, before I do one more round of revisions and then query. I sent it to maybe…half a dozen people? Maybe a few more? I asked them to try and read it by November 1st, so I could spend the rest of the year editing and then query early next year. I sent it during the end of August/early September.

So far, three people have started it and another person has read it completely. Time–the lack thereof–is usually the excuse. Trust me, I get that. It is an excuse I go to often and, in many cases, in my mind, is a valid excuse. Especially in a case like this, where those who would read this book would be doing so as an immense favor to me. Still, I cannot help but wonder, if those who haven’t started it changed their language from, “I’m too busy,” or “I just haven’t had time,” to “I’m really sorry, reading your book just isn’t a priority to me right now,” how many people would actually read it or change their mind. Maybe it wouldn’t be a priority. And hey, that’s okay.

Still. It’s a bit enlightening. And perhaps, even a little bit unfair, to put it in that light. It’s easy to feel like shit, after re-framing your mind and looking what how often you use that excuse and when. But, personally, it’s been a real eye-opener, and made me reevaluate what exactly I’m okay with labeling as a priority and what I’m okay with not. At the moment, I’m really glad running and working out has been a priority, as well as blogging. I’m posting more on here than I ever have before. However, I’m really upset that writing and reading are not.

Now, I need to make the changes in my life to rectify that.

Cheers.

10 thoughts on “The Priority of Time”

  1. I definitely agree that it’s a matter of priorities, but I also think we sometimes put too much pressure on ourselves.

    In the long term, if something matters, it is important to make it a priority, but I also think there’s a place for forgiveness, for recognizing that “right now/this week is a difficult time for me, and I need to accept that I can’t live up to my own expectations.”
    I think that’s very scary for me, and probably for others, because we’re afraid that once we stop we’ll become too comfortable in that space, and we won’t start again. But I think that’s also a matter of discipline.

    One technique I find helpful is to set what I feel is a reasonable goal for the year, like 250 hours, and plan it out so that half the weeks are stretch weeks (7-10 hours), and half are minimum weeks (2-3 hours).
    That way I’ve already built it into my routine that some weeks can falter, and I’ll still meet my goals.

    It’s so easy to beat yourself up during a bad writing week, when the reality may be that overall, you’re actually ahead.

    I agree that it’s important to remain determined and steadfast, but it’s also important to remember that this is a cross country trek, not a hundred meter dash.

    Sometimes things happen, and in that moment, we need to do less, and that’s okay, as long as we don’t let that become the routine, but somehow I can’t see you doing that.

    1. “In the long term, if something matters, it is important to make it a priority, but I also think there’s a place for forgiveness, for recognizing that “right now/this week is a difficult time for me, and I need to accept that I can’t live up to my own expectations.”
      I think that’s very scary for me, and probably for others, because we’re afraid that once we stop we’ll become too comfortable in that space, and we won’t start again. But I think that’s also a matter of discipline.”

      ^^ That was really good advice and a really good reminder. I needed that. Thank you.

      I bet sign up for a writing tracker (WriteTrack) and I put that I wanted to finish a draft of this novel by the end of the year. It also allows you to put in a percentage of how likely you are to write that day and then calculates how many words you need to write each day to meet your word count goal by the deadline, and adjusts based on the “weight” (percentage) that you placed to write. So, if I put 0%, like on the weekends, if recalculates so you have to write more on the days where you have 100% weight. It’s a really neat tool and shows me how manageable it actually is, to write 80,000 words in two months.

      But you bring up a lot of good points, here, and good reminders of things that I realize, but easily forget when I’m too busy beating myself up. Thank you for that.

      1. You’re welcome. I think we all have those times where we’re sortof “down in the valley”, and we can’t see beyond the heights that surround us. Many times your posts help me remember that I’m not unique in my struggles (which is very helpful), and how you’ve found your way out of/past them. I’m glad I’m able to help as well. 🙂

        WriteTrack sounds like a powerful tool. I’ll have to check it out.

      2. I’m glad, And thank you for your double feedback. It was most generous of you, as is your choice to continue sharing so much of yourself with the blogging community as a whole. 🙂

      3. Of course! I’m just glad I was able to read it (you never know what schedules will allow, you know?). I hope it was helpful.

        Awww, thank you so much, Adam. Seriously.

  2. Soooo, I totally forgot this was the theme of this post – and when you told me about I totally wrote one too! Then I read this, lol.

    Um, and don’t forget to write a post about the genre of movie we chatted about today, haha

    1. Haha, that’s awesome! I’m about to scroll through the posts I missed over the weekend, so I cannot wait to read yours!

      Don’t worry, I’ll put that in my drafts so I don’t forget. 🙂

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