What is the biggest challenge you think many of my new and aspiring writer clients say they face? Hint: They are often people who earn their living in another way than writing, are raising families, and describe their lives as having a lot on their plate. You likely guessed it: They say their biggest challenge in reaching their writing goals is finding time to write. I write they “say” it is their biggest challenge for a reason.
The truth is that when something is important enough we find the time. That said, with busy schedules it takes commitment to find that time.
One of the most useful tools I have used to help clients identify chunks of time was devised by psychologist Neil Fiore. He calls it “Un-Scheduling.”
The first step to Un-Scheduling is to lay out your calendar for each hour of the day for each day of the next week. Write in all the things you know you will be doing, e.g., sleeping, eating breakfast, taking kids to school, not the things you think you’d like to be doing or that you think you “should” be doing.
As author and writing coach Jennifer Blanchard writes, “For example, don’t write on the schedule ‘exercise’ or ‘write’ unless you know for sure you will be doing that activity at the time you wrote it. If, however, you want to make time for exercise, but aren’t already committed to it, leave it off the un-schedule.”
If you fill out an honest un-schedule, you will find slots of time for that project, or that thing that you want to get to but don’t – I guarantee it.
Then the challenge becomes actually taking that time. I’ve found that when it comes to a writing project, the time identified in the un-schedule needs to be treated as sacred time. At the very least, it needs to be treated like a very important meeting you would never miss.
And to never miss it means commitment to treating the time as super important. Every time you follow through with writing time in the un-scheduled time, you keep a very important agreement with yourself, and that only fuels, the strength of the commitment to following through with the next un-schedule time marked as writing time.
Un-scheduling can be done for anything you want to find time to do. When you do, you’ll find just how much you really want to find the time to do it! Because believe or not, there is time.
Have you ever used un-scheduling as an exercise to find time for things you really want to do? Other strategies?