Finding the Time

I’ve found myself “running out of time” to write a post for weeks (that have started to turn into months). But to be honest with you and with myself, I have plenty of time as a work-from-home woman without kids in a city where I have only a small handful of friends.

So, what’s the problem?

I’ve been in a major rut (or a minor depression) lately. But I haven’t been homesick or lonely. I’m not undercaffeinated. I get regular sunshine and my husband and rabbit are as handsome and awesome as ever. But still, I’m about as mentally stuck as a person can get.

Evening Coffee

Today’s post is an effort to combat that mental brick wall that I’ve built for myself and do something that, although I always push it to the bottom of my to-do list, actually makes me feel valuable and interesting: write it all down for lovely strangers on the internet. Leading me to the point:

How do you “find the time” when you’re stuck?

I know I’ve written about being stuck and the mind games that go along with it. But sometimes, you find yourself stuck and even though you know exactly what it takes to get unstuck, you’re stuck not doing those things. It’s a sticky mess.

So here I am, telling myself as much as I am telling you: if there’s something you’re trying to find the time for, you’ll never accomplish it. You have to make the time for it.

Make the Time

For me, that means forcing myself to do things I love (because when you’re stuck, these are sometimes that last things you really feel like doing) – writing, exercising, crocheting. It means writing anything for an hour. It doesn’t have to be good or correct or even halfway publishable, what matters is that I’m doing the thing I’ve been meaning to do.

Excuses and something worse than that

A lot of the delay comes from excuses that we so cleverly invent for ourselves. Mine? I woke up too late. I have to work. I haven’t had enough coffee. I’ve had too much coffee. The dishes aren’t clean. There’s always something.

What’s worse than excuses, though, are things I’ve heard many friends experience and I think it’s worth talking about. I call them, for lack of a better word, demons. The voices that tell us we’re not good enough, or that whatever we’re doing is not good work. Mine say things like: You’re not interesting. This isn’t valuable. You’re haircut is stupid. You’ll never do a handstand.

Yikes.

Making progress

So, how do you go from finding the time to making the time, and then actually bringing yourself to make progress? I believe I’m still in the “making the time” phase, but I’ve started doing some things to help myself visualize progress. Here’s what I have to share:

  1. Write out your ideal average day. Consider work, chores, meals, exercise and so on. Write it down. Acknowledge how it would make you feel. Be reasonable. Mine even includes the top three things that should be clean by the end of each day: the bed made, dishes put away, and flat surfaces free of clutter.
  2. Make gradual changes. Change or add things to your day slowly. Don’t try to have the ideal average day right now. Sustainable change comes in small increments.
  3. Be gentle on yourself. Above all, allow for mistakes. Forgive yourself quietly and peacefully and move forward. As I write this, a little something is welling up in my throat, because I am notoriously bad at being gentle on myself. These words come from Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata and I remind myself of them often.

I know far too many people, myself included, who don’t allow themselves the time for doing the things they love. So, here it is again: learn to make time for these things.

Identify your excuses and your demons and acknowledge them when they’re in your way. Then, carve out space in your schedule and in your mind/heart/soul to do what moves you the most.

I’m back 🙂

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11 thoughts on “Finding the Time

  1. I can seriously relate to this. I’ve never been good at sticking to routines, but when I do, everything goes better. My first sign that I’m going into a slump is that the routine goes.

    • Yes! When I was younger I thought a routine meant that I was “settling” for something, but now I just realize that I need structure in order to be at my best! And when the routine starts to fall apart, that structure is disturbed for me too. Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. This is exactly what I’ve been feeling the past couple of weeks as well. Perhaps for it’s been the weather up here and saying, ah well tomorrow will be better. But really sitting down and carving out that 30 mins every other day has lifted all that self imposed anxiety. Thanks for speaking out because you never know who else might be going through it.

    • Weather has a huge effect on me when it comes to things like this – the sunshine here has been helping me keep myself together. It’s crazy, actually sitting down and doing the thing often takes less time than worrying about doing the thing. Thanks for your comment, and good luck! Sending some sunshine your way for sure 🙂

  3. Yay, you’re back. I’ve been so curious about how it all turned out in your new city. I know from moving around a lot that it can be quite exhausting after the first few exciting days. And then I’ve never even moved to a really big city like you, just from small village to small town to bigger town to smaller town. Hope you find the inspiration to blog, because I enjoy reading whatever you put out here, it doesn’t need to be super special, I enjoy it anyway 🙂

    • Thanks Liisa! That means so much. I’m definitely dusting off some of my old post ideas and will blog more about adapting to a new city in the coming weeks. Moving is exhausting, I agree! But I’m feeling rested and more excited than ever to blog. Thanks for your comment!

  4. This is the only blog that I have stayed subscribed to. I always find something I need in your posts. So atleast know that you are making a difference, everybody has ruts. ☺

  5. Funny I happened to find this post this morning. I have also been feeling like I’m in SUCH A DAMN RUT of getting some things done, but nothing to my maximum potential, so finally I said “EEEEENOUGH” and woke up extra early to come to this coffee shop and eventually stumble upon your blog.

    I can totally relate with what you’re saying here. I’m not married and I only have a small group of friends. I spend most of my time on my computer, and writing nothing but 1,000 drafts of blog posts. It’s overwhelming, and the time has come to sit my ass down and finally WRITE them all.

    Thanks for the inspiration. Exactly what I needed!

    • Woo! That’s so exciting. It’s such a weird feeling, where you’re beating yourself up about not doing it, but because you’re beating yourself up about it, it’s hard to actually do it. Rising early, although not for everyone, is something that can change my entire outlook on things for the better. Good luck, and thanks for reading!

  6. Pingback: The Joy of Simple Work | Minimal Millennial

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