An incredibly talented colleague of mine, Ron Hattar, asked me this question a few days ago. We were chatting about this blogging initiative, and he was asking how I fit this in amidst the incredibly full days we already have. I didn’t really have a great answer (we decided that it was likely because I don’t watch much television, which is true), so I thought a bit about it. Here’s what I came up with:
- I find that I do my most efficient writing first thing in the morning or late at night. Right now, I’m typing this up before my day truly begins. My mind is clear, I don’t have a lot to get distracted with, and I know that I can work through this post without interruption (I’m not a very good interrupted writer; I find that I reflect best when I have a consistent span of time to do so).
- I also find I enjoy the writing. So, the time that it would take away from other parts of my life doesn’t feel as “chore-like.” I find I’m able to “time-swap” best when I truly enjoy the work that I am engaged in.
- Time rules all. I’ve had to take away twenty minutes from other activities I might engage in (toying around with my phone, watching television, reading) to make this work. There is an upside here of gaining better practice in time management; the downside is that all three of those activities, for instance, are ones I love. It isn’t a win-win.
For me, though, this is an activity that prompts reflection, and as I shared with Ron, reflecting is something that I need to spend more time doing. I enjoy it, but don’t always find the time to do it. This blogging initiative forces me to make that time.
The question Ron asked is an important one. In our personal and professional lives we always wish for more time. And, even if given it, we would likely want more. I don’t think I am a particularly great time manager; my Type A personality forces me to manage time, but I always wonder if I could be ever more efficient. I tend to be distractible, love to engage in conversation, and like to try too many new things. That makes it harder for me to really rule time, rather than having it rule me.
Still, I recognize the importance of being ruled by time, every so often. A goal of mine is to get to bed a bit earlier. If I gained about fifteen to twenty minutes of sleep each night, I feel like I would be in the sleep sweet spot. But, I use that time to relax. Which is more valuable? The “found time” or the time we could choose not to find?
I’m not sure of this answer, and it is a consistent struggle for me. In all the work that we do, time is always an underlying factor. While I can’t imagine I will ever truly master it, I do hope to be able to one day say I can manage it effectively, if for no other reason than to be able to answer the question, “How Do You Find the Time?”