Taking Time to Manage my Time

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I have to be honest, I’m not really the best at sticking to goals. I set them, and then things happen and life gets in the way and I allow myself to get lazy, and all of a sudden it’s six months later and all I have is an enormous list of shoulda-coulda-woulda’s. And what I have come to realise is that a lot of these failed goals have one thing in common; lack of time management.

I have this inability to use my time to my advantage, which is especially true since moving to the city. See, I don’t know how to just relax and take some time to myself. Instead, I fill all of my spare time (what there is of it) trying to fit in a billion things at once. And then I get overwhelmed and cranky, and then I lose all motivation. And therein lies the issue. I like to keep busy, but I try to keep myself too busy, and it is largely to my detriment.

Last year I set a goal to read 40 books for the year. Seemed like a reasonable goal, certainly not the most I’ve ever read, but enough to fill in some down time. By December 31st, I had read fifteen. Not exactly the goal I had in mind. This year, I have set the goal at 30. It is a number that better reflects the spare time I have, and isn’t overwhelming. And now that public transport is a necessary evil in my life once again, I have taken to bringing a book on the train/bus with me. It allows me at least 45 minutes of reading time a day, more if I can catch a seat on the ride home as well. And I’m not wasting my time just staring at my phone, scrolling though social media sites that actually hold no interest for me, so it’s a win-win.

Second is the writing. I had a lot of trouble trying to write last year. Despite signing on for NaNoWriMo and writing somewhere in the realm of 10,000 words – mostly due to bringing a notebook to work so I could fill in the long stretches of customerless time productively – I was still a long way off the 50,000 word goal set for the month. It was a good motivator at the time, though evidently not good enough, and my writing has been lax ever since. The reason for this has a lot to do with that thing I mentioned in the last post, about convincing myself I can’t do it. It’s easier to say I have no time than to actually sit down and try to get inspired. So my creative writing goal for this year is to write (a minimum of) 200 words a day. It’s a small number, I know. But 200 words a day, every day for a year is 73,000 words. Minimum. And I think if I can set aside enough time after work for just that, then I have a fair chance of keeping myself motivated.

And finally, I have set myself a sewing goal for the year. I have decided that I am going to make one new thing a month. Around any other sewing that I do, I am going to tackle something I have never done before, whether it’s using a different kind of fabric than the materials I’ve grown comfortable with, or making an item of clothing I haven’t made before. Maybe even both of those things at the same time! After sewing for two years(ish?), my skills have definitely improved. But I tend to keep making the same things over and over, and I think it’s time to expand my skill set and my repertoire. I had a few big commission projects last year, and even in the last twelve months, I’ve come a long way. But there’s so much to learn, and I want to get better. So I think allowing myself a month for a project is the best way to keep myself on track. That way I won’t have to worry about the pressure of trying to squeeze in a project on my day off. That month gives me time to draft and check fit and leisurely sew at a pace that I’m comfortable with. I don’t have to sew in every spare minute, but I have to make enough time for it to finish by the month’s end.

So there you have it. I mean, there are plenty more goals that I have that I would like to achieve, but for now I think making set time for three (and the creative ones are the most important for me anyway) is enough to ensure that I will actually stick to them, without getting slack. And I think, over the course of a whole year, I’ll be sure to have enough time to fit those goals into my schedule. I’ll keep you updated…well, I’ll try anyway. So here’s to time management, and to setting realistic goals! *raises glass*

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