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.
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.
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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 🙂