The 30-Day Writing & Publishing Project, Day 25: Faux Time-Scarcity

I recently read one of the best articles I’ve ever found on managing your work flow while still devoting time to your other life priorities.

Reading this article was like a punch in the gut for me, because I’m one of those people who used to go around saying, “I don’t have time, I don’t have time, I.don’t.have.time!

But everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, and if folks with many more obligations than I have can run their successful businesses AND get their beloved creative projects done too, yet still find time to exercise, and socialize, and even relax occasionally, then I can too.

I’m not saying it’s not challenging, but it is possible.

And while there is no such thing as time management – you can’t “manage” time, that’s like saying you’re going to “manage” the sky or “manage” all the oxygen on earth – what you can do is manage the activities you undertake in your allotted time.

My favorite thing about this article was the effective short-cut it shared for getting yourself on track with what you say your priorities are:

Try replacing the phrase “I don’t have time” for “this isn’t a priority.” As the article points out, that’s not going to feel too good, and that’s the point. Powerful stuff.

I tried it on for size by saying to myself, “My writing isn’t a priority,” instead of “I don’t have time to write today,” and “my health isn’t a priority,” instead of “I have too many project deadlines to find time to exercise today,” and “my family isn’t a priority,” instead of “my project schedule is too packed right now to take off a couple of days to go visit the family.”

Yowsa. Saying those things did make me feel bad.  

And reading this next bit felt like a firecracker being set off in my brain:

“This shift in perspective can also help you see when you’re borrowing too much time from long-term priorities for short-term deadlines.”

Yes! I’d never thought of it that way.  But indeed, it makes so much sense – health and well-being, writing, and family time are significant long-term priorities for me, while the things on today’s to-do list, while important, are mostly short-term deadline-oriented tasks.

There’s a balance to be sure, but when I thought about it, I realized that lately I’ve been “borrowing too much time from long-term priorities for short-term deadlines.”

But with this new mindset shift in my tool kit, I aim to change that.

If you’re interested in learning more about this handy little mindset shift for yourself, check out Escaping the Time-Scarcity Trap by Janet Choi.