Time, competing priorities, and an over-stuffed calendar are some of the biggest blocks to writing. It’s not that we don’t have a voice, or an essential story to tell, we’ve got the most important elements buried inside, we just don’t have the time to express them.
It’s always something. But if we’re honest it’s usually the same thing, or at least there’s a pattern when we can recognize it. When we find the flaws in how we think about time, the whole game changes. Suddenly we can use that precious resource to hurtle us forward into becoming the authors we’re meant to be.
I'll admit, this is the most exciting part for me. I love messing with the very way I think about time.
My own life burst open creatively when I made two basic realizations about time. First, I was letting way to much of my past creep in to my current schedule, and second, I had some subconscious beliefs about time that were tripping me up over and over again.
The first time trick that I love is what I call, “Looking at the Seasons in Your Day.” Here’s how it works. Basically, all the aspects of our lives are cycle through different seasons. Some projects are just being and starting to peek little buds out of the snow, some are in the full swing of summer heat, some are “falling” just past their prime, while others are in the dead of winter drudgery and it’s time to move on.
One of the biggest mistakes we make in terms of time, is that we cling to our winter projects, while underestimating the possibilities inherent in spring. Often our winter projects, jobs, careers and relationships have been with us forever. They can be very time consuming. They can also keep us stuck in the past. Whereas the spring parts of our life, haven’t fully sprouted yet, and can be underestimated. Plus they need the nutrients of time and attention.
When I started to recognize the winter aspects of my life compared to the spring aspects of my life, it took courage to shift the time I was assigning them, but my life became so much more meaningful and exciting.
I’ve done a whole workshop on how to revamp your schedule according to the seasons in the Facebook Group. Check it out here.
There are also subconscious beliefs that create annoying patterns in your day to day. This requires you to open your mind to change, more than it actually requires time (which can sometimes be harder) but I we're in it together!
Putting others before yourself.
Smashing things into an already packed schedule.
Expecting yourself to finish something with ten steps in just one step.
Taking on too many projects at the same time.
Never letting yourself rest or have a season of recovery.
The thing about internal time beliefs is that before we’re conscious of them, we think the world has to be that way. We think we have to say yes to every invitation, or write one more email in the five minutes before we’re supposed to be there, or plan a wedding, a book and a baby over the same nine months.
These are the first examples that came to mind, probably because I’ve struggled with all of them. The point is, once you recognize these patters, you can see that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can choose a different direction, and where time is concerned, that accumulates.
However, there’s a simple process to free yourself from your time beliefs. I broke it down into four steps.
Take a look at the list above and start to recognize whether or not any of those beliefs are forming patterns in your own life. I may not have touched on your time habit, and if not use them as examples to pinpoint your own. I’d love to hear your own example in the comments below.
Once you begin to see where various beliefs are causing frustration in your life it can get overwhelming. Don’t worry. As you observe start to focus in on one area where you can improve your life the most, and embrace a willingness to change. Notice, you don’t even need to take action yet! Just focus your vision, and make a plan.
I like this better than “taking action” because it keeps everything light and playful. For instance, if you tend to underestimate the time or steps it takes to do something, why not Google, “Backwards Goal Setting.” If you underestimate the need for rest, why don’t you Google “Pomodoro Method” and take regular breaks. When you experiment with actions that counter-balance the beliefs that are burning your out, your whole world begins to shift.
4. Reflection and Gratitude
In this section there is no room for, “Why didn’t I realize this before.” I find so often we spoil our greatest breakthroughs with, “I should have known this sooner.” That’s another time block! Now is the perfect time to celebrate that you’re life is changing because now is all you’ll ever really have. So congratulations, when you start to master time, all of life opens up to you.
I love to write about time because it’s an experiment in the very nature of being in the world.
When you bring more meaning to your time, you bring more meaning to your existence. Writing your book is so often the project that gets brushed aside because it’s still and quiet, just like your soul. It doesn’t tend to jump up at the top of your inbox (accept of course when I send out my blog) or grab you by the collar. It never yells or nags. You have to seek it out for yourself. And when you seek out your book and the whispers of your soul, you become the author of your life.