Balancing Work and Writing
Many people live their lives with a never-ending list of things they must do. We work a typical 9-5 job, then come home to make dinner for our family, get the kids to practice and then later that night help the kids with their homework and get them into bed. By the end of the day, we are so exhausted we don’t want to work on our writing. Not to mention, that our already busy schedule doesn’t leave a lot of time for working on our writing in the first place. How do we fix this?
My own personal life is super chaotic. If I don’t stay on track with my commitment to write, I never get to it. I work a full-time and a part-time job, and I go to school full-time (18 credit hours), as well as attend family functions and try to hang out with friends. That doesn’t leave me much time to for anything really. My busy schedule barely gives me time to practice writing. How do I manage to do it then?
Use a To-Do List
The first thing I do is make a to-do list and include writing time on it. We all have days when there is too much to do and too little time to get it all done, and adding writing to that list can seem daunting. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of work we must complete. Whether it is a daily to-do list or a weekly one however, to-do lists will help organize your life. Seeing a clear outline of the tasks you must do and the ones you have completed will help you feel organized and focused.
I have found success in creating a daily to-do list, complete with personal achievement goals. Taking 15 minutes in the morning to create a to-do list saves me from wasting time later in the day trying to remember what assignment or paper is due next and what readings I have to do for my classes. Most importantly, I can give myself time to work on my writing. Finding time is hard when I am balancing so much to do; there is always something that seems more important. But I have made the decision to work on my writing every day, even if it is for a short period of time, so I make sure to put “writing time” on my to do list each day. I find this to be extremely helpful and a great motivator for me to work on my writing. I also have a planner that I use to map out my month. This gives me an idea of how much time I need to give myself to complete my school-related assignments and a clear picture of how busy my life will be. Also, it allows me to see where I can plan to write without other social engagements getting in the way. Making a to-do list frees up time that would have been wasted on worrying and franticly deciding what I should work on next and instead gives me time to work on improving my writing.
The second thing I do is prioritize what is on my to-do list according to what is most important to get done either that day or that week (depending on what type of to-do list you use). In order for writing to actually get done, we need to make it a priority. It might be a little difficult to decide what is truly important, but determining what you should focus on will help prioritize what activities you must do. When you are away from work, seriously contemplate this thought. Consider the penalties of losing certain parts of your life and how you would feel about those modifications. Ask yourself what truly makes you happy, what makes you sad, what you must have in your life, and what you can do without. Eliminate the things that do not bring you gratification or prevent you from focusing your attention to the things that make you happy.
Once you have made up your mind on what is important, a good habit to develop is to focus on the task at hand and trust that what needs to get done will get done. This will help you perform your task more effectively and efficiently. It’s hard, but separating your priorities and focusing on one thing at a time allows us to give our full attention, energy, and time to devote ourselves to the things that matter most to us.
I prioritize based on due-dates so that the assignments that are due first get done first. For you, prioritizing may look like making sure you have time for your family’s activities after work before you write, or that you get up early to write before work. Prioritizing is based on making time for what’s most important to you. It is sometimes hard to balance work and writing but it can be done. Making a to-do list and prioritizing the things in our life can help to organize our time to give us more time to improve as writers. And if you still can’t find time to devote to writing but still want to get your message out into the world, we offer a ghostwriting service that may serve to benefit you.