I honestly don't know which speed was greater--that of the accelerating car, or the palpitations of my heart.
My friend was running late. Again. This time for a Sunday morning service at church, where she was scheduled to be on the program. And I got more than I bargained for.
Producing as much adrenaline as an amusement park ride, she did it. We beat the traffic light, in spite of my protests.
She giggled at her death-defying moves, and thought I was being way too concerned about our safety. After all, she's done it before.
Although she is a dear person, whose friendship I value, I'm often on the receiving end of her tardiness, lack of planning, and "adjustments" to compensate for trying to fit everything in.
Unfortunately, she's one of those folks who views time with a distorted lens.
Perhaps you're the same way.
Here's something to consider...
How we value time says a lot about what we "value."
Though it's hard to place a value on intangibles, time is important.
It can add or detract from our quality of life.
And as writers, it's crucial that we manage it well, in order to reach our creative goals, realize our full potential, and not cheat those who deserve our best--be it our families, clients, or our readers.
Wouldn't you agree?
For me, this keen awareness results from the number of people I've known to die in their "prime" or completely unexpectedly. Sometimes due to a random act of violence; other times for health reasons. And sometimes for no "logical" reason that the mind can truly grasp.
Time is not promised.
A dear friend of mine, (Robin Williams) was a perfect example.
We met some years ago when she took a creative class I taught at a community center.
She was extremely bright, articulate, and held a day job as an English teacher.
We evolved into friends, and I had the pleasure of working with her to see some of her pieces published.
To make a long story short, like many folks, she and I lost contact, as our lives got busy and priorities changed. One day out of the blue, I got an email from her, to which I responded.
I promised to call her the next day to catch up, as we exchanged numbers again via email.
The next day, I got an email from one of her relatives stating she died during the night.
I was heart broken.
She left this world with so much promise. So much potential. So many dreams.
We lost a great talent in her. A voice worth hearing.
This serves as a reminder of just how precious and unpredictable life truly is.
In fact, even the Bible addresses the importance of time in various verses and chapters.
With this in mind, I'd like to share a few principles and practices to help you to govern yours more wisely.
1. Recognize that time is a commodity.
For best results, it should be "budgeted" just like money.
2. Do it right the first time.
Devote adequate time and attention to projects on the front-end, to avoid do overs and wasted effort.
3. Stop procrastinating.
"Some day" may never come. Make the most of each day. Check out the Procrastiwriter site for useful tips and tools.
4. Learn to work in conjunction with your body and peak performance times.
Are you an owl or a lark? Assess and address.
5. Recognize that being "busy" is not the same as being productive.
If your creative efforts on any given day don't result in a new client, more followers for your blog, breaking into a new market, finishing a chapter of your book, or increasing your bottom line, you may need a reality check. Should you really be spending 2 hours on Facebook or Twitter every 24 hours? Hello?
6. Seek balance.
Work hard, but play hard too. It will enable you to go the distance.
7. Use your "down time" wisely.
Whether it's waiting for your doctor's appointment, standing in line at the grocers, or your lunch break on your gig. Pen a poem. Read a "how-to" blog post. Write out your goals for next month.
Every little step can move you ahead in your writing journey.
8. Take care of your health.
Although it doesn't "guarantee" longevity, it can definitely increase the odds for a greater lifespan.
9. Learn to prioritize properly.
In these hectic times, it can seem impossible to get everything done within 24 hours. Which is why we need to look at things from a strategic perspective, identifying those tasks on our "to-do list" that are of the greatest importance.
10. Become an early riser.
You'd be amazed at how it can add to your level of productivity and enhance your functioning.
I rise with the birds.
Socrates said it best, "The unexamined life is not worth living."
When you look at yours, as it relates to how you spend your time as a writer, what does it say?
Which tip resonates with you?