How do I find time for my passion #timeforpassion
One question I’m often asked is “how do you manage it all?”, “where do you find time and energy to have a job and also write books?”.
This isn’t as easy a question as it may seem. I had to think hard to find a truthful answer. How do I do it?
My system results from years and years of trial and errors, of practice and mistakes. And now it’s so inherent in my life I put it into practice without even notice.
However, I’ll do my best to split my process into simple actionable steps so you can try doing the same and tweak my method to make room for your passion in your life.
Since this is quite a substantial topic, I will explain the steps in broad terms in today’s post. Then I’ll examine each in depth over the next few weeks.
What are you making room for?
In this series of posts I’ll often refer to writing, because it’s my passion, my second life, and the thing that absorb most of the time I don’t devote to my job or my family. However, this system can be useful for a wide range of activities.
First thing, what are you making room for?
Are we talking about an artistic endeavour such as painting, or playing an instrument, or writing? Are you trying to find time to exercise regularly or attend those on-line courses you paid for? Is your passion gardening, cooking, or creating jewelry?
Whatever it is, this system can work for you. You just need to grasp the basics and adapt it to your needs.
Preliminary step – Acceptance
When I’m asked how do I do it all, my first answer is that I don’t.
I don’t do it all.
There’s always something that remains behind. But I’ve learnt to make the right choices about what I leave behind.
I know I don’t have the time to work a full-time job, write novels, regularly update my blog, be a perfect housekeeper, a decent wife and, in a few weeks, a mom.
So I learnt to prioritise and, at different times, be different things. However, I’m never everything at the same time; surely not in one day, but also not in the same week or month.
The preliminary step you have to take is accepting these statements:
I accepted that I can’t do everything.
For instance, I decided that having a neat house isn’t as important as finding some time every day to write. As a result, my house is often a mess, but this year I published a book, translated several others and wrote a decent amount of words for my blog.
Definitely more satisfying than just having a clean house.
You need to do the same. If there’s something important you need to find space for in your life, then something else has to give in.
Decide what it’s not so important and don’t feel too bad about it.
First step – Are you determined enough?
This may seem obvious. But I want to say it, anyway.
It is of the utmost importance that the thing you’re making room for in your life is meaningful for you. If it isn’t, you won’t have the right determination and motivation to reach your goals.
This doesn’t mean that this system works only for true and consuming passions, but you must feel strongly about the result you want to gain or you’ll find it all too much and lose your way.
So start by asking yourself why you want to do this. Why is it important to you? Write your motivation down on paper, and stick them somewhere you can often see them.
There are ways to build your determination and motivation, and I’ll talk about them in the next post.
Second step – Train your willpower
Many say that willpower is not enough to sustain habits on the long term.
I tell you that willpower alone is not enough, but you need it, or you won’t even start implementing changes in your life. It’s true, willpower to stick to something for a long time is more innate for some people. But it’s also true that you can train your willpower like a muscle.
If your motivation is strong enough to reach your goal, the willpower you need to act will come.
First, don’t implement too many changes all at once. Give yourself time to adjust or your willpower will be drained in a short time.
Second, learn to reward yourself and find satisfaction in your results.
We’ll discuss this further in future posts.
Third step – Plan
This is crucial. We all lead very busy lives and adding something else to the list requires careful planning.
Since I like to make lists and tick items, I experimented a lot with planning and tried different methods for setting goals and decide the steps to reach them.
At present I’m using pyramidal system.
At first I set overall goals, such as “write the next book”. Second, I split each goal down into the list of tasks I need to accomplish the overall goal. Then I split each task in a step-by-step plan.
This way I obtain simple and actionable items to tick off my list, but never lose sight of the bigger picture.
With my step-by-step plan at hand, I prioritize and decide what’s most urgent, so I can set weekly goals. Finally, I try to find a time slot during my week for each task.
It seems intricate, I know, but I’ll go into details in the series. You’ll see that once the system is in place, it won’t be so taxing to make it work.
Build your system
This system works for me. It gives me the clarity to know which is the next tiny step to accomplish and never allows me to forget the big picture.
However, you may have to tweak and adapt it to your needs.
I hope this series of posts will be helpful and if you have any question, ask in the comments!