Me: I’m writing a book!
People: Where do you get the TIME?
Me: Every morning!
People: WHERE DO YOU GET THE TIIIIIMMEEEEEEE?!
Me: It's in my schedule. Every morning, from 5am to 8am.
People: But I could never cooooommmmmiiiiiittttttt to thaaaaatttttttt.
Me: So what do you do when you have a client that needs something, or your boss?
People: I do it on their time.
Me: So do I.
Me: I AM the client.
This is a conversation that happens at least once a day.
Someone wants to know where I find the time to be writing a book, or to go running, or to write for the blog as often as I do…while still running a business, keeping up with client work, and doing things like remembering people's birthdays. (Just kidding, I don't remember anyone's birthday.)
It seems that most people view these items as “bonus activities”—things you only do “when you have the time.” But I discovered a long time ago, if you wait for that unicorn of a date? The stuff you want to do with your life will become a unicorn, too. And we all know how dependable unicorns fucking are.
If you’re not actively working on the most important things in the world to you, what’s the point of your work at all?
You know I’m all about priorities.
That said, sometimes it’s easier said than done. (Kind of like when you tell yourself you’re only going to have one glass of wine. How cute!)
But perhaps the biggest reason why I'm able to get these kinds of things done, no matter what else is going on, is because I don't view these things as “things I'll try to get around to,” or “things I'll try to fit in,” or “things I secretly resent because I can never seem to do them ever ever ever EVER, SO HELP ME WINE BOTTLE,” but instead, designate them as non-negotiable things that must be done—come hell or high water—as if they were client deliverables.
In other words, I treat myself as my biggest client—so much so, that I even track all of my time spent on internal projects like book writing. (Some people even go as far as to pay themselves an hourly rate. That’s not something I do, since I have myself on salary, but it might help you if you need an extra boost in motivation!)
Bottom line: That old phrase, “what gets measured, gets done,” might not just be one big boring, fat cliché, after all.
Try it out.
Put your biggest project on your deliverable list, and schedule (and log) time for it like you would any other paid project. I think you’ll find that not only do you actually get meaningful work done (it’s a miracle!), you also feel way better about yourself in an incredibly satisfying way.
By the way, my favorite all-time tool to use for this (not an affiliate link–I just love them): Freckle Time Tracking. (And not just because they’re out of my very own Philly, though the brotherly love is absolutely radiating off of these words, my friend.)
This app is so fun to use that I actually WANT to track my time. I loveeeeee the Mac app in particular. It’s stupid easy to use, and even lets you “tag time” with a hashtag, so you can get a nice pulse of where you’re spending the majority of your billable hours. You can even turn your time into invoices later, if you want. Very handy, indeed.
Bonus: You’ll feel all sorts of smug seeing how many hours you log working toward the stuff that matters each week–instead of shoving it under the carpet and hope it magically gets done. Somehow. Someday. Sometime.
And you know what? Knowing that you’re doing something—anything—to nudge that needle forward? That’s power.
Because sometimes, in a world that's so unpredictable, having a little bit of power over what you do get done?
Makes up for the rest you never will.
P.S. Curious how I'm writing my book?
Been using this book proposal resource for lots of sharp, snappy step-by-step wisdom.