So, you want to write (or do something else) but you just can’t find the time, eh? The dishes are piling up, your phone keeps ringing and the kids want to go watch bunnies hop through the field outside, right? Hey, I know. Been there. Done that. Still there. Listen, that stuff, while important, isn’t going to magically go away some day and let you do what you want. You have to make it happen. Here are some tips below on how you can find time to write (or do anything).
Work Smarter not Harder.
Man, I wish I’d coined that phrase. It rhymes, it’s true and it just has a nice ring to it, no? Honestly, if you’re going to get anything done in life, you really need to make a strategy. Without a Plan of Action, you’ll be mindlessly moving throughout your day. From the time your feet hit the floor in the morning until your head hits that pillow at night, it will seem to fly by, and looking back you’ll wonder what you actually got done. Friend, you need a sense of accomplishment as motivation to keep going. You need to get your priorities in line and organize your time and life to make the life you want. You cannot go through life wobbling around aimlessly and then complain when you’re not hitting any goals. Remember, “He who aims at nothing will surely hit it.” Let’s take a look at a few ways you can Make Time, because you’ll never find it, to write, or do anything.
1. Keep a Schedule
This one is so so so so SO important. I cannot stress this enough. That’s why it’s number one. I’m not one of those people who has a color coded bullet journal planner with our entire lives for the next 3 years mapped out or anything, but I do keep a really basic planner (and close to a hundred alarms on my phone - hey, no judging!) to organize our day to day lives / bills a bit. I also maintain a weekly menu plan (most weeks, sometimes I slip) so that we know exactly what to expect when dinner time rolls around. This helps more than you know. The weeks when I forget to menu plan and schedule, or get lazy, are very chaotic. My husband comes home from work and is looking for dinner, but time got away from me and I haven’t started it yet. Or worse, I realize we don’t have the ingredients to make anything, so we end up ordering out. This is very rare now, but if I don’t stay on top of things, can still happen.
2. Wake up earlier
I’ve tried probably every technique in the book for waking up earlier, this is a toughie. Every night before bed I tell myself I’m gonna do it, I have an internal pep talk with my brain and we agree this is going to happen. But, for some reason, when that alarm goes off, my brain decides to go back on the agreement, like it was crossing it’s fingers the night before when we made this deal. “You deserve to sleep in” it will lovingly tell me, “Just 10 more minutes” it coos. I’m a sucker and I still fall for it many times, I won't lie.
3. Employ your children
(For this tip, I’m assuming you have children. If you don’t then you should have time – HA! Just kidding, but seriously, if not, then maybe you can borrow your friends kids…) No, I don’t mean to literally hire them – unless you do allowance and count that as “pay” – I mean to involve them! You’d be surprised what kids can handle. Honestly, kids are usually willing to help, especially if they know the why. Explain to them what you’re trying to work on (whether it be Blogging, another passion project/hobby or even working outside of the home. It takes many moving parts to make a home work!
4. Accept the mess
Face it. Your home will never be 100% clean and organized. Think about it. Even when you had free time to watch that TV marathon or take a bath, was your house perfect before you gave yourself permission? If this is something you want, you need to prioritize it, and that means some other priorities need to move down on that list. I’m not saying to let your house go, but give yourself some grace, mama. Set a timer for a Quick Cleanup and once that timer goes off, let it go and move on.
5. Just say No
This one can be difficult, depending on your personality. I have trouble saying no to people but not out of guilt or obligation or anything like that. If I have time to think things through, I’ll usually come to a more reasonable conclusion in my head, vs when I am asked face to face to do something and need to answer quickly. In my heart I want to say Yes as much as possible, because I love helping others and enjoy most of the things I agree to. But, when I’m already stretched too thin, I realize that I need to get real and be honest with myself and others about my limits. This is another area where you really need to figure out your priorities and what matters most to you. It’s OK to help others and volunteer your time to a worthy cause but at what expense?
6. Let others Help
A lot of times, I think we can be too proud to admit that we need help. It takes a big person to let go of their pride and admit that, no, we can’t do it alone. For me, when I know that family is coming over for a visit, I’ll feel like I need to have certain things done so they won’t “judge” me, so I rush around making myself crazy to get the house clean… How silly is that? The people who are actually supposed to love and accept you, might judge your house that your children destroyed? Well, if they do, hopefully they keep their comments to themselves. But honestly, most of the time, your family and friends would be more than willing to lend a hand. Especially if you have babies or little children. Most people know what it’s like and would even offer their help before asked. If the grandparents come over and you’re trying to nurse the baby, instead of handing the baby over so that you can go load the dish washer, ask if they’d mind doing it! 9 times out of 10 they will gladly do what they’re asked!
7. Hire out
While not an option for everyone, sometimes you need to hire out some work. This can look different for everyone, but some examples are:
- Mowing the grass/Weed-Whacking/Landscaping
- Car maintenance (sure, it’s fairly easy to change your own oil, but maybe it’s faster to let the pros do it.)
- Laundry Service (I don’t know about you, but laundry is my least favorite chore. If I ever hit the big time, I will hire this out first.)
- Grocery Shopping (in the last 5 years or so, so many grocery/food delivery services have popped up, you’ll pay a bit more, but time is money and you need to figure out their worth.) * Instacart is one of the newer services, but they offer many store options in lots of areas! At this time of writing this post, they service over 40 states! Check to see if they have anything in your area. You can get a $10 credit towards your first order and free delivery if you sign up through my link. You’ll pay a bit more for Instacart, but they have delivery times as soon as an hour or two from when you place your order! That’s amazing! People just like you and me deliver for them, and are basically “on call” waiting to shop for you! I love this option because, while you do pay a little more up front, it actually saves us money in the long run because going in the store with multiple children = you're definitely walking out with a few impulse buys.
- There are lots more grocery services, you can just Google It. There are also Meal Prep services such as HelloFresh, BlueApron and more. You’ll definitely pay up for these, but some people have no time, will or skill to cook, so they have plenty of options in that case.
- Child Care such as a in home Nanny or Baby-sitter
- Family/Grandparents (this could be free! or bartered)
- Virtual Assistant (if you have too much computer work to do and not enough hours to do it, you may be able to find a VA to help you respond to emails, design your website or do some other trivial task to free up your time)
- Maid (hate cleaning your own house? If you have more money than time you could definitely hire a maid to do housework for you!)
- Any other task that you feel could be transferred to someone else and still make that money/time ratio worth it.
Finally, Just do it.
Seriously. This is going to be as simple as it gets. You will NEVER find time, you MUST make it. There will always be something to do, some other way you could/would/should occupy your time, but you have to decide if you really want whatever you’re going after. If the answer is yes, then just do it. If you sit around waiting for the right time, the right feelings, for fear to pass, for enough investment money, for everyone to jump in and make your life peaches and cream easy so that you can pursue your dream – you’ll never do it. Big dreams come to be when we actively chase small goals and press forward, one foot after the other, with courage and confidence and without tarry.
As I sit here and write this post, there are toys, a few pieces of paper and crumbs from this afternoon’s lunch on my living room floor. Thankfully my oldest did his chores so most of the routine housework is complete, but there’s a few dishes in the sink too. I probably have laundry to do, and I’m sure the upstairs closet is long past due for a good “spring” cleaning. I need to organize my desk and fill in this week’s menu plan (I’ll get to that one later, promise). But, right now I’m working on my blog, and that's OK.
So, friend, what is holding you back today? Give yourself permission to chase your dream. Don’t let everything else fall by the wayside, but put in your time and then call it a day for that task. Figure out how to do what you need to do, and then what you want to do, but then – more importantly, just do it. Do you have any tips for helping you “find” time to write (or do anything)? Please share them below or email me, I’d really love to hear from you!