What would you do with your life if you had time and space?
Yesterday, I made time to print out photos of our family for my toddler to flip through in a photo album. She loves to look at pictures taken of herself doing things that she loves. Who doesn't? As I went through my iPhoto catalog from last year, I was struck that I had not only document my daughter's life, but my own. I could see the ebb and flow of my own creative energy, most of it food related. Most new mothers tend to pass on stories of sleep deprivation, exhaustion, and stress. I won't say that isn't true, but the key to balancing a healthy life is to make time to connect to your passion. I have three tips on how I have found time to write a non-fiction book, two children stories, rewrite a novel (that I've been working on fa-ever, I know), time to sew, and make lots of good food for the family.
Tip # 1: Schedule Your Time
Like the picture of my bagels proofing, a bakery term for allowing the bread to rise, you must schedule time to let things rise. And, as every baker can tell you, you must bake on a schedule.
The best time spent can sometimes be time spent doing nothing. Yet, you must make time for it! You won't magically find time in life to do things if you don't schedule the time. Everything else, all the busy stuff, will suck your time and attention away. The biggest blessing that happened to me last October was to reach out for help. I was so nervous and worried to have someone look after my little one, but if I hadn't done that I would never have had the huge writing breakthrough that I had in November! I also realized that I can't do everything alone and that, as a new mom, I really needed help. Scheduling never sounds like fun, but in the end, if you have time to breakaway from the hectic world, you will be a healthier, happier, and more productive individual.
For a period of time, when I was passionately connected to a writing project I set the alarm every morning at 4:30AM to write. It's not a realistic long term idea, but it can be productive for a short period of time. If mornings aren't your thing, then you have the option to stay up late. For those with little ones, nap time is the best for replenishing your mind, body, and soul. Take the time to do something you enjoy and don't waste it on cleaning. Why not waste the time on reading blogs, magazines, books, and newspapers. It is better than coffee and sugar to inspire your day. One more tip, when you schedule the time, be precise! Show up on time. Don't tell yourself its only going to take 15 minutes to do the dishes! It will end up being 30 minutes followed by another silly activity and another. Trust me-I know!
Everyone has a jabberwocky in their life. Typically, the ones you love the most will use any little thing to get your attention and derail your attention. My husband is the biggest jabberwocky. He'll interrupt my time to write with tons of diversions. He plants little emotional bombs everywhere. He'll play my favorite TV show, go to my favorite places, have way too much fun with our daughter--just to get me to stop and have fun too. He does it out of love, but making time to do things for me is refreshing and satisfying a deep need that I just can't express in words. The jabberwocky in your life could be an overbearing job, a best-friend, a team sport, or even a TV show. You'll know what it is when you start to wonder where all your free time is going.
If you're motivated, briefly keep track of your day to day activities. Write it down in the Note App on your iPhone or use old fashion paper-anything to make you accountable for your time for a period of one week.
Review your time. Does it surprise you? Do you feel awesome about how you spent your last week? Does it put you in alignment with what your core values? For instance, if you (like me, ahem) took stock and saw that you spent only 1.5 hours over the last week writing, is that okay? For me, no! I want to actually finish my novel before I die. I have to commit time to my project and make sacrifices to get my goal accomplished.
The evidence is in. It's your life. If you want to scrapbook your child's first year of life, then make time to do it or else...dun-dun-duun...it will never happen! Why wait to do things or travel places? Life doesn't come with a return policy. Sincerely, you need to figure out what your core values are and just do it!
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