Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

If You're Serious About It, Schedule It

A paper day planner

We all have ideas, plans, things we want to do. Some of those are small, while others are larger and more complex things that will take quite a bit of time.

Many of us (myself included!) often use the excuse of not having enough time to dodge making those ideas a reality. To dodge carrying out our plans. To dodge doing things. Why? Sometimes, fear paralyzes us. Sometimes, we don’t know where to begin. Sometimes, we just get pulled away by the many distractions around us.

If something is important to you, if you’re serious about it, don’t let it languish in notebook or on a Someday/Maybe list or in an application like Evernote.

If it’s important to you, schedule it.

That’s easier said that done, I know. But unless you make the time to do, unless you make the time to learn, all of your wonderful ideas and plans are worthless.

So, how do you make the time? Start by thinking about what you want to do. Maybe you want to exercise regularly. Maybe you want to learn how to build web pages or learn a foreign language. Maybe you just want time to read or write more.

Then, think about how long you want to do it for each day. I suggest starting with half an hour. As you get more comfortable, as you get into the routine then gradually increase the amount of time you spend. When you’re starting out, though, 30 minutes is a good goal.

When you’ve done that, go to the calendar. That can be a calendar on your computer, on your phone or tablet, on the web, or just an old-fashioned wall calendar or day planner. On that calendar, block out time each day for doing what you want to do. You’ll need to decide the best time. Just make sure it’s a time of day when you’ll have enough energy and focus to do what you want to do.

Remember that time is your time. It’s sacrosanct. It’s inviolable. You’ll need to tell everyone in your life — family, friends, boyfriend or girlfriend — that you’re not available during that time. Tell them, to quote the lyrics of a song by Sheryl Crow, if you want to reach me, leave me alone.

It’s not easy to schedule that time. Yes, I’m speaking from experience. You’ll have to give something up — like a round of drinks at the local pub with friends or binge-watching that series on Netflix. Those are small sacrifices, but they’re small sacrifices that are worth making. What’s more important in the longer run, a fleeting distraction or something that will enrich you personally or professionally?

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