Whenever I log in here to work on a post or to delete my spam comments, I always go past the place where it shows my most recent posts and I’m reminded that I’ve posted only three times since December 20.
I lament my hampered ability to spend gobs of time sharing my thoughts and coming up with polished and regular posts in this space. I have so much that I would love to write but I simply don’t have the time.
“Don’t have the time” is a well-used expression – perhaps so well-used that it doesn’t really mean very much anymore. I know for myself that when I say it, I don’t really mean that I don’t have time, because I have lots of time – the same as everybody else, it’s just that I have many things that I need to get done in the time that I have.
I actually have budgeted an amount of time in the morning every day to write and I try to get up early to do that, but I’m often so tired from doing things with my evening time that I do not get up on time or I don’t get up feeling fresh for my morning writing. I don’t use it well.
My morning time is also shared with my time to pray and read the Bible and this is something that is very important to me. I think sometimes that I might be better served to dedicate my morning to writing alone. I would certainly get more done, but then when would I find the time to pray and to read? I’m not sure when I could do that.
It’s not a question of not having the time, but it’s a question of using the time that we do have and using it well. I suspect that people who are successful in life have discovered ways to do this that allow them to do everything that they possibly can with their time – probably not all that they want to do, but a lot.
It’s also a matter of “why am I doing this?” I know roughly why I’m blogging but it’s not something that I’m in the habit of thinking through at other times. I will have moments where I think of something I want to write about it, but then I don’t write it down, or the moment passes and then I sit down to write and I have to get through this span of time where I”m deciding what to write. My focus is weak.
So, at this point, I’m blogging because that’s something that I’ve decided to do and I want to build a successful blog, but my passion for sharing and for getting my ideas and thoughts out there is muted. It’s not that I don’t have that passion, because there are times when I’m fired up and excited, where my mind is racing and have an intense desire to share something.
But then somehow that excitement gets lost or blocked when it actually comes to sitting down to write – to actually do it. Why is that?
I feel like I’m onto something here that is big. When I look at this question I sometimes feel as if I am looking at something that could revolutionize my life if I could figure it out.
How I use my time is a huge issue for me, not just because I use it badly, because for the most part I think I’m pretty good, but it’s much more about how I’m inspired to use my time. What is driving me? Why do I do the things I do? I know that I could be doing things better. There’s still time that I waste. There’s all those crumbs of time where there’s not really much time to sit down and get something done, but there’s a bit of time – that time while I’m on the train or waiting for someone to brush their teeth. That time where I take a moment at work to breathe and go to the lunchroom.
If you look at people who do extraordinary things, if you’re reading a wikipedia article you don’t necessarily get a sense of their work ethic or how they spent their time, or how they built up to the point where they were or are doing the impressive things that move them into the realm of people who have wikipedia articles that require you to scroll a bit to get through it (at least the people who are in that realm for reasons other than committing a fascinating or heinous crime).
But every once in a while you get to read something or see something that gives you a peek into how they work. When they get up in the morning. How much they work. How they work. How they think. I don’t know about you, but when I read those things, I often find myself thinking, “That’s not how I think. That’s not how I work.”
I often find myself thinking of Steve Jobs, and not because I’m an Apple guy or because I love Steve Jobs. His name is just a name that comes up when I think of people who were driven and who accomplished something unique, and when I think of him, I think of someone who was driven to do something, and when I think about what it was like to be driven like that, I would guess that he was probably thinking about these things all the time.
Steve Jobs probably never had to deal with a pornography problem, because he probably was too busy thinking about the next stage of his grand plan or solving his current problem or dreaming up how to get his goals accomplished. He probably “had no time” to do the things that are useless and trivial, and he probably didn’t care because there was likely never a time when he thought, “I really should spend more time playing solitaire or watching YouTube videos about people falling down.”
I could be wrong. This is me projecting and extrapolating and imagining about Steve Jobs. I could be totally wrong, but in thinking my imaginary thoughts about Steve Jobs, it helps me to think about how I use my own time. But I think that I’m right about the fact that there are people who are wired in such a way that they fall into a groove – they have a dream or a problem, and they carry it with them everywhere they go – they are thinking about it and solving it and planning for it when they get up in the morning and when they go to sleep at night.
When it actually comes time to sit down and get actual work done, they can hardly keep up with themselves, because they don’t have to take a moment to think, “Now, where did I leave off with this last time?”
I don’t tend this way naturally. I’m more of an escape artist. I have developed a habit of avoiding problems and slipping into other worlds rather than taking hold of them. It’s much less effective than the Steve Jobs’s (or at least my image of Steve Jobs) of the world, but it’s how it is.
But what if I started working towards new habits of thought? What if held on to the blog post I’m working on and took time to think about it as I’m riding the subway instead of looking at the advertisements? What if I took the time to think about the chapter I’m working on in my book and try to get through that section that is giving me grief while I’m taking a break at work instead of looking at the weather or checking to see what Donald Trump is doing now?
I’m already beginning to see a change. I’m finding myself more immersed in the world of what I’m writing when it’s been so easy to lose my train of thought when I’m away for a few days. I’m finding that I’m beginning to look ahead and to think about what I want to do next and when I want to do it.
I’ve also been scheduling in my little bits of time and putting them on my calendar. So I give myself a short time to pray every morning so that I can get more done on the blog, but then on a couple of days, I schedule in a much longer time to pray so that I can find a place of quiet and rest with God for a time.
I’m not hitting all my marks, but I’m starting to believe that maybe I can revolutionize the way that I work and the way that I think, and I can harness these things to start actually getting a lot done, even in the midst of all the other things that I’ve got on the go. Maybe it’s not just a matter of, “Well, I’m not like that…”
The proof will be to see how this blog evolves. Can I get through a month with two posts a week? Can I begin to find that elusive thread so that one post leads to another and that a narrative begins to emerge? How will my current draft begin to grow and evolve? This is what I want. This is what I’ve been trying to do…so maybe it’s not a matter of lamenting the time I don’t have, but of making real use of the time I do have?