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)