STYLE Savvy: Schedule Sweet Spot

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When I’m not writing, I teach. Or, more accurately this semester, when I’m not teaching, I write. But lately, with a full course load, I’m finding it difficult to make the writing thing happen. My blogs are getting done, but I’m making little progress on my other writing projects.

And when I don’t write, I get cranky.

All of us have those things we want to do that keep getting pushed to the bottom of the list. We set a time, but something more important or urgent rises to the top. We get started, but we get interrupted. Or maybe we just can’t find the time to get started in the first place.

And then we give up.

Well, I’m not giving up. I am going to find a way to adjust my schedule.

To do that, I need to take a closer look at not just my schedule, but also my mindset. Am I efficient, or just busy? Am I managing my time, or is my time managing me? Am I setting realistic deadlines, or falling prey to the “more is better” school of thought?

I don’t think I want to see those answers in print.

I also don’t want to create a schedule so hemmed in that I lose flexibility or the joy of becoming immersed in something I enjoy. But I can…

Rein it in. Sometimes, an activity really needs an inordinate amount of time, but, more often, I let myself get sucked in. Setting a time limit for one thing frees up time for something else. And, when both things are equally important, it just makes sense.

Accept unfinished. This one’s a lot harder. Getting partway through a task and then letting it linger unfinished can be tricky. Knowing that a job is sitting there, waiting can create an uncomfortable feeling of pressure — much like the one I’m trying to resolve right now. I’m going to give it a try, though, reminding myself that spending a little bit of time on two things can be better than finishing one and leaving the other neglected. And, who knows? Maybe that pressure will morph into motivation to get back to the unfinished job.

Shake off the “shoulds.” The more I worry about what I should be doing, the less I get done. Lecturing myself about what remains undone just wastes precious energy that could be spent on something else I want to do — maybe even sleep or relaxation. In addition, worrying and berating myself just makes me feel bad, which does nothing to improve the situation.

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Image via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain

It’s clear that to make this work, I have to get out of my own way. I may not be able to create more space on my calendar, but I can take some steps toward balance so that I’m spending as much time as possible on the things I love to do.

What would you love to do, if only you could find the time?

Copyright 2016 Lisa Hess

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About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and is a blogger at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at Catholicmom.com. She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.

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