Back in the spring I attended a lecture by a psychologist who specialized in helping families manage their lives, especially when it came to technology. She had a lot of opinions about the risks and benefits of technology for our children.
One of the worst things about children’s use of technology, in her opinion, is that they are not doing other things with their time with the hours they spend on their phones or on their Xboxes. They are not out in nature, not interacting with friends, not using their imaginations.
In economics, this is called “opportunity cost.” If you invest your money in stock A, the opportunity cost of doing this is the yield you would have gotten from stock B.
In my daily life, I have gradually become aware of the opportunity cost of my lack of organization.
I’m not a slob, I can almost always find my keys, and I’m on time or early for appointments 95% of the time. But, I’m often grocery shopping when I had planned to be writing or doing other last minute errands during the only hours I have to myself to work on my creative tasks.
And I say “yes” to a lot of things that take me away from my creative work.
If I didn’t feel strongly about my writing, I would just let it go. But I continue to yearn to write and pursue other creative interests.
Some of my last minute errands and “yes-saying” may be (okay, is definitely) a result of resistance and fear about my work not being “good enough” but I’m not going to let my unconscious fears hijack my life’s work.
So I’m taking steps to correct the problem.
Here’s my initial plan, which I’ve already started to implement:
- Unless it’s a hell, yes! I’m saying no (respectfully.)
- Clean out my office completely (done!) and make sure all the tools that make my work life easier are within reach.
- Plan menus for the week—and stick to the menu!
- Schedule my time at the beginning of the month and the week—and stick to the schedule!
The biggest time-saver so far is all the planning ahead I’ve been doing. I like to plan, but I’m more invested in sticking to the plan this summer. Also, I’ve always liked leftovers, but I used to cook three different dinners three different days in a week before having “leftover night.” Now I’m okay with serving the same thing two nights in a row and, luckily, so is my family.
Cleaning out my office seems to have given me more space in my head. I like to see the open space on my bookshelves and on my desk. I hope to fill the space with ideas and paragraphs, rather than clutter.
What can you do to streamline your routines to give yourself more writing time?
Diane MacKinnon: is a writer, blogger, master life coach, and family physician. I’m in the middle of enjoying summer and accomplishing small writing and creative tasks. So far, it’s been a great summer!