You Don’t Find Time; You Make It

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I have a finite amount of time. How will I spend it?I don’t believe in finding time. I make it. I make a conscious choice about how I’m going to spend my time, then I spend it. I determine which projects require immediate attention and which ones can be deferred. I choose whether I will take on a new project. I figure out how to allot my time so that I can tend to my new project or opportunity. I decide how long I will work before I’m allowed to play.

I make all those decisions. I don’t stumble into them. They aren’t made for me. If a project isn’t completed, I am the one to blame. I am the one who will have to explain why I didn’t finish the tasks assigned to me. Will I say I couldn’t “find” the time when faced with that situation? Even if the statement were true – say, for instance, a family emergency occurred or a deadline was moved – isn’t it my responsibility to let people know about the changed circumstances? Should I not delegate the task to someone who can complete it if I’m unable to do so? Isn’t it better to admit my limitations then and there rather than to wait until it’s too late and everyone is yelling at each other?

Finding the time isn’t merely related to the issue of responsibility; it’s also a matter of how I treat people. If I say I’ll write a post or draw a comic for a person if I “find” the time, what am I communicating to that person? To me, the phrase communicates a lack of respect and regard for the person I’m addressing. If I truly respect and care for that person, either I make the time to do the work or I excuse myself and say the time isn’t a good one. In some cases, I say I need to complete x, y, and z before I can take on a new writing or editing opportunity, or I lay aside a current project in order to take the new one.

My work life and its related freneticism or calm is up to me. It’s the result of choices I make in regard to time. If I want a more stable work life and more play time, I can’t “find” time. I have to make it.

Image: Erik Fitzpatrick (CC BY 2.0)

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Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is the director of editorial services at Tenacity5 Media and the founder of Write Right. She's a copywriter, editor, poet, and artist. You can find Erin on .

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18 comments
John_Trader1
John_Trader1 like.author.displayName 1 Like

Great post EF. Like the use of the word "freneticism." There's a word you don't see too often.

I can sum up this post and it's meaning in two words - take accountability. It isn't a stocking stuffer, it's something you have to live and breathe every day if you truly want to be honest with yourself!

Erin F.
Erin F. moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

@John_Trader1 Indeed. Accountability is something that's important to me, but you probably figured that out based on the post.

Funny how those kinds of words come up when I'm around. :)

Latest blog post: Write Right Meets Aslan

TomWillis
TomWillis like.author.displayName 1 Like

Very nice, Erin!  Thank you.  The old saying, "If it's to be, it's up to me" came rattling back through my brain.  A life of intention  - what a concept.  Funny how when you choose a life of intention, you allow serendipity to work for you. Funny how discipline. exercised in the manner you describe, leads to freedom - freedom from worry, frustration, regret.  Another old saying just came to mind - "If you are hard on yourself, life is easy.  If you are easy on yourself., life is hard."

Erin F.
Erin F. moderator

@TomWillis Thank you! I like that - "a life of intention." 

Your words also make me think of creativity and constraints. Discipline is such a key ingredient, too.

Latest blog post: National Poetry Month 2013

KDillabough
KDillabough like.author.displayName 1 Like

We are birds of a feather on this Erin, although I took a slightly different tack in the post that I wrote here  http://www.kaarinadillabough.com/cant-manage-time/

I said: "Life isn’t about a bunch of time blocks. It’s about experiences. It’s about results. And since you can’t make time: there are only 24 hours in each day. And you can’t find time: it’s not hiding under a rock. You’ve got to take time to be in the moment, and fully experience each moment. Just something to think about."

Great topic that's dear to my heart. Cheers! Kaarina

Erin F.
Erin F. moderator like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@KDillabough Different perspectives are what make the world go round, right? 

I suppose I meant "making" in the sense of setting aside time. And, yes, we seem to be on the same page at the very least but perhaps in different paragraphs. ;)

KDillabough
KDillabough like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@Erin F. I was going to say that I believe it's more a matter of semantics and positioning than difference of opinion, because I believe we're on the same page in terms of intention. :)

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

Wow Erin!!! Excellent post! Not just about how the "I'm too busy" excuse is BS, but also about taking accountability for your choices. Really excellent work! And an issue I always struggle with. Oh and this part? GENIUS! 

"My work life and its related freneticism or calm is up to me. It’s the result of choices I make in regard to time. If I want a more stable work life and more play time, I can’t “find” time. I have to make it."

Erin F.
Erin F. moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

@RebeccaTodd Let's just say I got a little irritated when people kept telling me if I had the time or found the time. It was like they were excusing my behavior, and I don't like that.

I may have to save that quote. One of my friends suggested pinning quotes from posts - with attached links, of course - to Pinterest. I just have to make the time to do it...

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd

@Erin F. @RebeccaTodd Hah indeed! Do love that idea A LOT though. I have struggled with the why of pinning blogs. BUT- if you did up one nice phrase or quote in a sort of "inspirational meme" format, I think it would get good traction! Yay for long-distance brain storming! 

Erin F.
Erin F. moderator

@RebeccaTodd How'd you get inside my head? That's exactly how I would approach it.

RebeccaTodd
RebeccaTodd like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Erin F. @RebeccaTodd I like that a lot! In my mind, ideally the quote would be sharable and gain traction even without the accompanying post, and would also be enticing enough that people would want to dig deeper. 

Erin F.
Erin F. moderator like.author.displayName 1 Like

@RebeccaTodd I only pin posts that use my art or are extra special in some way or another - a more lyrical post, say. 

My friend's seen a good return in Analytics through posting quotes from her posts as well as her presentation fashion board. I'm thinking I'd just use the Write Right character and have the quote frame her in some way.

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