Creating Free Time (For Writers)

I pride myself on being a master at creating free time because that’s my mode of operation whenever I endeavor in something. How much chill time can I have while still getting work done? is a question I’ve constantly asked myself throughout my entire high school and college career and it has paid dividends (at least, I think it has).

The art of creating free time is to first orient yourself with all of your obligations. Then, you prioritize how important they are due to how conducive they are to your ultimate goal (i.e. graduating with a master’s, writing a bestselling novel, writing the novel in the first place, moving out of your parent’s house). Then, after you orient and prioritize, you simply eliminate the ones that make no difference if you did or didn’t do them in the first place.

How do you do all this? Here are some steps:

  1. Organize your schedule– if you have obligations taking up all your time and you’re just flowing from one thing to the next with no awareness of where one ends and the next one begins, that’a a problem. The only time you need to be in that state of flow is in writing, not things that have nothing to do with writing. If you organize your schedule, figure out how long each thing takes, find out what free days you have and what days you don’t, and space out the work appropriately according to deadlines you should be able to get some sort of handle on your life.
  2. Create Separation– this is the most important step. When creating free time, you’re not only creating time to relax but time to plan for the future, to set things up in such a way that it doesn’t work you to exhaustion. Creating separation enables you to sort the essential from the nonessential, the things you must do and the things that make no difference if you ignore them. If everything is crunch-time in your world, that means you’re doing too many trivial things: all of them urgent, few of them important.
  3. Prioritize– once you separate the things that have deadlines and the things that don’t, now you have to decide, truly decide, what’s important and what’s merely urgent. Don’t confuse urgent with important. Important are things that have some sort of value for you and you’re future, that play into your long term goals; urgent are things that feel like they need to be done in the moment but make no real difference in the end.
  4. Eliminate– this is self-explanatory but I’ll explain anyway. Once you prioritize, you have to eliminate the things that are urgent, erase them from existence. Do not under any circumstances go back to them. Only focus on the things that play into your goals and have a value that will translate into your future. If you do this correctly, you find yourself becoming an expert on creating free time.
  5. Learn to say NO– this refers to not taking on more than you can handle, which is the result of a crunch-time schedule in the first place. When you learn to say no and only take on tasks that play into your goals and long-term success, you find you’re able to maintain a steady flow of productivity while also having enough free time to relax if you need to. When you do too many things at once, you have no down time, no time to process the implications of what you’re doing, and you become a robot, an automaton, you become a slave to your work which is supposed to make you successful, not lead you to an early grave.

When you implement all this, you’re going to feel a bit lost, like you’re on a rowboat in the middle of the ocean and the shore is nowhere in sight. That’s okay, just fall into the instant relief and relax, just breath, just be for a moment. Embrace the fact you have free time and can do what you want for once in your life. Experience the liberation that comes with freedom, but don’t rest for too long or you’ll get lazy.

After you do all that, then you focus on what is important and screw everything else. And repeat for the rest of your life, it should go a lot smoother.

Well, as always, that’s my spiel on the subject.

Till next week. . .

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