It’s effortless for our time to derail. Often we get swept up by the waves of life’s affairs, forgetting what is important to us. Guard your time. That time is vital for you to grow and to enjoy. Whether you’re a writer, athlete, musician, practicing a new language, or whatever, this core concept applies to all aspects of life, especially those you are passionate about.
Welcome to Another Edition of Unprocessed Thoughts
Everyone’s life is tailored differently with the challenges we face daily. Most of us work for a living, which will take up ten hours a day if you’re lucky (this includes commute and overtime). We also have responsibilities outside of our jobs, such as families or perhaps you’re crazy enough to pursue a creative outlet. Let’s not forget about social obligations, friends, and day-to-day chores. You also need sleep. These components chew up a lot of the time we have within twenty-four hours.
Don’t Skip Out on Sleep.
Seriously, get your required amount of hours in. Some people require seven hours, while others need eight or nine. Don’t fool yourself, as the chances of you being within the 1% who are biologically dispositioned to needing less sleep are unlikely. If you are, good for you! The rest of us need sleep. You’re doing yourself a real disservice long term. A well-rested mind can function far more effectively than a mind on half a tank of sleep.
The Juggle is Real
Even if you get less than six hours of sleep, you have to guard your time. Of the twenty-four hours, we chew up a big chunk of it with work and sleep. There are all the mundane tasks we have to do as adults, too, like eating and hygiene. I’m sure you probably love most of these aspects of your life. Like your family, you should love your family.
Still, there is something within each of us that we must do for ourselves. There’s plenty of good advice out there on why we need to spend time alone. Solitude by Michael Harris is an excellent introduction to the topic.
If time is sabotaged by the chaos of each day, how do you guard your time?
Routines and Rituals
Routines are usually a predictable and stale concept that doesn’t strike excitement. Rituals sound more fun. Ultimately, they mean the same thing about blocking off segments of your day for you. Guard your time with a rigid section(s) of the day that you will not be interrupted by any means so you can dedicate that time for yourself.
In this case, we’ll say dedicating the time to art.
Close the door, turn off the phone and social media, stay up a little later, or get out of bed earlier (not both). You could also watch less TV or play fewer video games to guard your time and focus on your craft. Ever hear of moderation? Maybe watch half an hour of the TV instead of binging four episodes.
As the day progresses, balancing the revolving door of events is more challenging, creating an actual juggling act. Personally, that is why a morning ritual works for me. Some people prefer to work on their craft at night once all the day’s chaos is done. I’m generally burnt out creatively by then. Everyone goes to a different beat, and you need to find what works for you.
Guard Your Time Even From Yourself
Here’s the twist . . . you’re the culprit! Sometimes the outside forces of life aren’t the problem when making time for your craft. Sometimes it is you. This may be due to procrastination, resulting in distractions, or you’re stuck in your own head. This is your time, don’t let others take it from you, including yourself.
Those tasks you may be worried about or the ones you think need attention right now most likely can wait. As long as someone isn’t dying or is in danger. If some unnecessary toxic thought enters your mind during your ritual, put it in a jar. That thought can be re-visited later because mind chatter is a real demon to conquer. Stay focused on your own interest and get into that trance for your craft.
Speaking of mystical terminology . . .
Fuel Your Soul
Why guard your time? Well, the points already brought up are valid enough. But if you actively partake in your ritual to focus on your craft, you will be fuelling your spirit, invigorating you once more. We’re not here for a long time, so it’s wise to invest what you do daily into what makes you happy. If it is writing, then great. Want to learn a new musical instrument? Wish you could get more exercise in? Well, guard your time by blocking it out each day, especially if you want to make progress in it.
In a perfect world, you could block out an entire morning or afternoon to focus on what truly drives you. In the real world, we can likely block out half an hour to an hour at any given point in time. If you can block out two hours, you’re golden!
Many people might not have that ability and can only squeeze in small spurts. That’s okay; block off your time into segments. Maybe you can block off your lunch hour and a little bit before dinner. Doing little steps within your craft is another method to guard your time
Specifically, with writing, the cliché is we are running the marathon. Those baby steps of half an hour here or an hour there throughout the week adds up over the month and you will be amazed at how far you have gone on your project and craft. The same goes with learning any sort of new skill, working on a big project, or introducing a new habit – like committing to guarding your time. It takes consistency to engrave this habit into your mind.
Here’s another cliché, the tortoise and the hair tale. If you aren’t familiar with the story, you really need to look it up. Most of us are and know that (spoilers) the tortoise wins. So, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do massive stretch goals and conquer the world each and every day.
The First step is . . . Guard Your Time Today!
Homework! Who doesn’t love getting that? Lucky for you, I’m in no place of authority to enforce this homework with punishment. Still, the benefit of participating in this homework is you get to guard your time.
Today, section off ten minutes, or half an hour, and work on that project you wanted to. Or instead of the project, warm yourself up with new exercise by writing a new seen or new musical riff, or actual exercise in the physical sense. That’s all that you need to do to birth a new daily ritual.
Remember to do it again tomorrow to nurture it.
These small steps can lead to a much more fulfilling life if you are willing to make an effort. Remember, long-term habits are challenging to create. Once you make them, they stick with you, and they’ll evolve and adapt if you make it a ritual as you go through life. Go easy on yourself at the beginning and gradually progress.
The work world is filled with sharks, and same with personal lives. If we don’t guard our time, we’ll be swept away in the lives of others who might not have your best interest at heart. Then you’ll wake up one day and wonder why you’re not happy.
Here’s a positive spin on it, if you invest in yourself, you’ll be a better person because you’ll feel more fulfilled. Being a better you is intoxicating and will attract the right people into your lives. You’ll also find it is a lot more fun doing what you enjoy, which is the point of life, isn’t it?
Beer Note: Dandy Brewing Company Wild Sour Ale
I tried the Dandy Brewing Company Wild Sour Ale for this month’s Unprocessed Thoughts. It sits at a 7% alcohol level, classifying it as a strong beer. My former IPA days have shifted into sours, and this one is all the tastes I enjoy. It’s not overly sour by keeping some yeast flavour in it. A second or third would go nicely . . . a little concerning with that 7% note but well worth it!