I hate that saying.
You know the one. “Work, social life, staying healthy. Pick two.” Or whatever variation you want to go with.
I hate it because it’s a lie. The whole concept is just ridiculous.
There are many successful people who are as mentally and physically healthy as they can be, with families they love, friends they connect with often, jobs they are good at, hobbies they enjoy …
And eating and exercise and sleep – those are part of many people’s routines. On top of everything else.
For writers, there seems to be this idea that you have to give up one or two important things for the sake of writing. I have never bought into that philosophy, because it legitimately angers me.
Because, you know, we all have the same amount of time in every day.
It’s what we do with it that matters.
There are going to be days, maybe even weeks, when you have to give up Netflix, or reading a good book, or whatever it is you do to completely decompress.
But I do not understand why people can’t make time for the most important things – the wellness-focused things. Work, plus family, and friends, exercise, having a good meal, making headway on that side project, sleeping a decent amount of hours.
Well, okay. I understand a few things about this. I have to acknowledge that it goes beyond time management. Sometimes you just have a lot going on, and you can only push yourself so far. I get that. I’ve lived that.
But I also understand that we sometimes use that as an excuse, even when we don’t mean to. It’s not that we absolutely can’t do everything we want to do. We fail to prioritize, sometimes. We choose to watch Netflix instead of write because … I don’t know. It’s a choice. We’re humans. We don’t always make the right choices.
You can start making the right choices, though, by paying more attention to time.
You say you don’t have time to work out. Yet a good workout, if done right, can take less than 30 minutes.
You say you don’t have time for friends. Yet coffee and catching up only has to last an hour at the most.
You have time for sleeping. You just spend that time doing other things.
And writing … writing can take as much or as little time as you want it to. Fifteen minutes of writing per day isn’t wasted time. And it’s sure better than not spending any time writing at all.
Technology makes us expert time-wasters. That’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes on Saturdays I spend a few hours watching YouTube videos. After I’ve done everything else I have to do, that is.
It’s when you watch YouTube videos in place of doing your work, or writing, or spending time with friends, that it becomes a case of bad time management.
“There’s not enough time for everything” just isn’t an excuse I can buy into. Because there are a lot of days in a week. You also don’t have to do every single thing you want to do, every single day. You can not write every day and still be a productive writer. You can not see your friends every day and still have good relationships with them.
I’m not going to get into the health stuff (here), because people don’t like it when you tell them there’s time for cooking and working out and meditating and whatever else, on top of all their other responsibilities. But the same goes for that.
I’m no stranger to busyness. I know it can feel like there’s too much to squeeze into a single week. Yet I make time for all these things and more on a weekly basis. Writing especially, on my own time. (Yes – I blog during my free time. It’s a good use of my time.)
How? I don’t know. I just focus on what’s most important to me, and make sure it gets done. And I fill in the gaps with fun things. Netflix and books and all that.
Let’s not waste time wasting time. Let’s make better use of the time we do have.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.