Have you ever looked at your to-do list and wish there were 25 hours in a day instead of 24?
Or, better yet — that your time to do All The Things could be infinite?
I caught myself breathing this wish today — not for the first time in the past few years — as I woke up (late) and wished I’d obeyed my alarm (why can’t it be more persuasive? I need a dog.).
I just want … more time. Just a little more time.
But you probably already know what I’m going to say, if you’re a regular here.
Infinite time, in the life of a writer, would be the death of creativity (and productivity).
Because as much as you might wish you had more time … what would you really do with it?
You could say you’re going to finish writing that book, take on more clients — do all the things you always say you don’t have enough time for.
But I can pretty much guarantee you wouldn’t use extra time wisely. And I can also guess that would turn you into a pretty lousy writer.
If we had unlimited time to do everything we wanted, we would never learn discipline. We would never teach ourselves how to meet deadlines, how to stay organized, how to get things done so we could call them complete and move on to other things.
We wouldn’t be productive. Because we wouldn’t have to be.
If it weren’t for deadlines, you’d start writing a lot of things — but never finish.
You’d jot down a lot of ideas, but never actually write anything?
Because you’d say, “Why now? I have all the time in the world.”
I don’t think, when we say we want more time, we’re talking about more time to do more work.
I think what we actually want is more time to ourselves. More time to be off, to relax, to just be.
What would you do with infinite time? Honestly? You’d probably do more fun things. Because that would make work-life balance just way too easy.
Maybe this should tell you (ahem, us) something about the way you structure your work.
Maybe you want more free time because you’re not giving yourself enough free time.
So here’s your challenge (I’ll do it too):
Count up the number of hours you’re working in a week (this counts work, freelancing, blogging, other passion projects that might seem fun but are still technically work). Also count up the amount of hours you’re spending doing “nothing.”
Are you giving yourself enough free time to balance out your work time?
You might just find you already have infinite time. You’re just using too much of it doing things that stress out and exhaust you.
I need to work on this.
You need to work on this.
Let’s start making more time for rest. Work still comes first. But it doesn’t have to come always.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a staff writer with The Cheat Sheet, a freelance editor and writer, and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.