Time: We All Get the Same 24/7/365

MarilynDavisatTIERSStarred Page By MarilynDavisatTIERS, 30th Apr 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

“One of the very worst uses of time is to do something very well that need not be done at all.” ― Brian Tracy, Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

Valuing and Respecting Time

For more than 20 years, I ran a women’s recovery home. With up to 17 residents, there was always a crisis, emergency, or unanticipated chaotic behaviors, usually before 9 AM.

I learned to squeeze in my curriculum writing when I had 15 minutes or the luxury of the three hours allocated to it according to my schedule. The adage of not written in stone factored into when I wrote; I was flexible because writing the curriculum was a priority.

One of the obvious traits of addicts is that we neither valued nor respected time in our use. Therefore, I made this a priority in life lessons for the women of the house. Besides remaining chemically abstinent, the women needed to learn not just time management, but also learning that we have choices in how we allocate our time.

While this might seem like something that we should have learned early in life, unfortunately, most of us had squandered time, money and energy in our addictions. Therefore, we had to use time more wisely.

Where Does the Time Go?

Many of the women complained that I expected them to do too much. I would hear in therapy sessions, “You expect us to do too much – read our curriculum, work off property, do our daily worksheets, and attend recovery support meetings or group. We don’t have enough time.”

How I Spend My Time

My solution to this was to create a “How I Spend My Time” to let the residents see exactly how they allocated the resource of time. The surprising results were that over 1000 women spanning 20 years had discretionary time after fulfilling all of their obligations - sometimes as much as 4 hours, but rarely less than two. I was jealous, as I did not think I had that much discretionary time.

Fast Forward: How Time Flies

Since the house closed in 2011, I have edited a 400,000-word curriculum, trained counselors in the TIERS curriculum, conducted workshops on recovery, facilitated recovery groups for an HIV positive group and at a women’s recovery home. While I was doing all of these things, people were telling me I should find a writing site and share recovery and addiction information.

Now I Have the Time to Write and What Do I Do?

I appreciated the encouragement and interest; however, I did not know how to be a productive writer and use my time wisely. Much of the material that I had written over the years was a reaction to a situation and I falsely believed that inspiration was the key to effective writing.

Finally, a friend that was writing on Hub Pages sat me down and challenged me to write an article. This of course meant that I would have to evaluate other articles. I spent considerable time reading articles on addiction on Hub Pages. In fact, I spent months:

• Reviewing all other articles on addiction and recovery
• Printing out the articles and comparing them to mine
• Reading all the articles on how to write effectively

Then I spent a few more months:

• Re-reading all 59 of my original Personal Discovery Guides
• Narrowing it down to 15 to consider rewriting for Hub Pages
• Rewriting my fifteen original articles to conform to 1800 word suggested count
• Revising my rewritten Hub
• Editing my rewritten and revised Hub

I Have to Take the Time to Do it Right for Online

In retrospect, it is amazing to me that I got anything written and published. I created the illusion that all this busy work was writing:

Finding better images, taking the time to research all the options
• Re-reviewing my finished piece
• Buying some new books on the topics – I needed to stay informed
• Reading some of the books
• Going to the basement, finding out of print books, and re-reading them

Choices: This OR That

Getting a picture – I was scattered, running in circles and wasting time for about seven months stating that I was researching writing and getting no writing accomplished.

I Cannot Write, I Have to Move

Then I made a decision to move; well that ate up about five more months of sorting, sifting, selecting and serious anxiety and how could I possibly write in that frame of mind? Besides, I was so tired at the end of the day that I knew nothing would make sense, and I really needed to spend quality time with my dog going on long walks that I was sure would prove inspirational to my new vocation of writer.

There you have a perfect example of rationalization and justification for not writing.

Time to Take Charge of the Writing

When I switched my writing to Wikinut, I decided that I would write - not talk about it, spend hours on images for yet another article, or play with fonts to decide which font displayed the words more attractively.

Moreover, if I was going to write, I needed a schedule and structure that reinforced writing.

Schedules, Structure and Separating the Home and Office

I am someone that likes organization and order. It is a family thing, like so many of our personal quirks. It is not debilitating, has not cost me a relationship, nor is it illegal, so it is just a personal quirk.

I also realized that I would have to make my environment more than a home office. That conflict with home and office meant that I might not take it as seriously. Therefore, I made it as organized as I did my office in the recovery home.

It would be the writing desk, not for paying bills, or reading a magazine, or a catch-all for stray items. Following the words of Benjamin Franklin, “A place for everything, everything in its place” meant all of my writing books needed to be accessible so I did not have to get up and hunt for them, become distracted by the plants that need watering in the living room, or decide to unload the dishwasher.

All of those household things would be there when I was finished writing.

Making Writing the Priority and Using Time Wisely

The reality is that until writing was a priority, finishing articles was a goal, and there was a designated time for the writing, the writing rarely was done. I get up at 5 AM to write and take a break for 10 minutes at 7 AM, then back to it until 9 AM.

I still do recovery groups, add to the TIERS Curriculum, walk the dog, and play with the grand kids, however, when I say I am a writer now, I say it with conviction and know that I do make it a priority.

When I make excuses for not writing, I know it is because writing is not my priority that day. It is always a choice; I do not kid myself anymore. If I do not write one day that is scheduled for writing, I double up the next day. It is that important to me.

Challenge

I get comments from other writers that sound much like the women of the house - not enough time, other things interfere with writing, there's a new show on TV, there are too many online distractions, I have a job, I have family obligations,etc.

I am sometimes tempted to offer the "How I Spend My Time Table" to let people see where they are using their time, and that with some planning, they might have more time to write. However, I wonder:

• Are you making writing a priority?
• Do you still find yourself making excuses for why you are not writing?
• Is writing important enough to you to get up early or stay up late to write?


I would like to hear your thoughts in comments. For a Tuesday, it has been a good writing day, and now I am off to my grandson’s chorus concert. I'll check this article one more time on Wednesday and publish, take a break and get started on another. And how was your writing today?



For additional articles by Marilyn Davis

Each person has a unique voice and Wikinut is a place for you to share your wisdom, humor, insight and knowledge. Join, write and become connected to others who share a passion for writing, supporting one another, and learning on Wikinut.


Credits
How I Spend my Time, Scattered Word cloud, and Writing Schedule: Marilyn Davis
Time Flies: badideaindeed.wordpress.com
All other images: Wikimedia Commons

Tags

Allocating Time, Priorities, Procrastination, Productive Use Of Time, Time Is A Resource, Time Wasting, Using Time Effectively, Using Time Wisely, What Is Important, Writing As A Priority

Meet the author

author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
A Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist, with 25 years of abstinence-based recovery. I write about addictions, recovery, life lessons and general writing tips.

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
30th Apr 2014 (#)

so interesting this ...how you get to the heart of the matter.Marilyn..me I just sit and start writing whatever comes up for me...perhaps that is why I write such strange things...whilst yours are full of wisdoms to be used in this world...thank you for your wisdoms

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
1st May 2014 (#)

Good morning, Carolina, thank you for the comment; I think we are all different in our approaches - one is not better than the other is. I cannot create what you do, though. Start whenever and wherever you usually do, it is a good use of your time - and we get to enjoy your efforts. ~Marilyn cannot create what you do, though. Start whenever and where ever

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
30th Apr 2014 (#)

Ah -- this kind of research. Finding the right images and things you know you have "X". I am still procrastinating and justifying. And it's hard to be hard on myself -- many things ARE getting done. Are they the right things or the laundry -- well, that's a really subjective question -- a great article topic, etc -- all in one!!

Well written, this, and I'm glad you shared. Whether we are living, making mistakes, or learning from them we are spending time. I spend more time commenting on articles (over a given week) than I do writing my own, for example. I want to devote more time to writing and less time to commenting, but how can I deny someone who worked as hard as I do -- and I know you do -- to create something the chance to see the effect it had on me?

Anyway -- proud of you. Keep up the good work.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
1st May 2014 (#)

Good morning, Phyl - it is a problem for writers in this community. I think I am going to start trying to use the weekends to read and comment. I do not want to stop that for the reasons that you gave. Many articles/poems do resonate and I would like the writer to know. It's been on my mind trying to budget time for my own writing and for the responsibility of encouraging within Wikinut. If you figure it out, let me know :)

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
1st May 2014 (#)

Great post my dear Marilyn, excellent in every word written with your seal of pure wisdom!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
1st May 2014 (#)

Good morning, Fern, thank you. It is putting some of it into practice that gets hard :) Read comment from Phy - commenting is important for all of us, yet does take time. Again, thanks for your support. ~Marilyn

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author avatar C.D. Moore
1st May 2014 (#)

Great Article! I have saved a space for my writing on Mondays and Tuesdays for editing and publishing, but the inspiration might come at any time.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
1st May 2014 (#)

Good morning, C. D. notice I did not schedule time for inspiration as that does come at any time as you point out. I just let the muses know when I am writing and if they would grace me with an idea, great. So far, they are cooperative but not always reliable. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Retired
1st May 2014 (#)

Good share.
A lot of people do not value time anymore.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
1st May 2014 (#)

Good morning, Angel, thank you. I also think that age may factor into our appreciation of time. At 66, I am more aware of it than at 26, definitely. ~Marilyn

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author avatar spirited
1st May 2014 (#)

Very insightful info for everyone here, Marilyn.

We all have the same amount of time in our years, but some put more years into their time. LOL

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
1st May 2014 (#)

Good morning, Spirited, there is a lot of living done for some in a short span of years - good point, thank you. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Connie McKinney
1st May 2014 (#)

Marilyn, I guess I am not using my time effectively either. Thanks for the wake up call. I need to make writing a priority and schedule set times for it. This article will help a lot of writers do better work. Well done, Marilyn.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
1st May 2014 (#)

Good morning, Connie, I hope so. We have some excellent writers here and selfishly, I would like to read more - course that means they have to write more - I also realize that I am fortunate to be able to allocate all of my other responsibilities to times that work for the writing. Not everyone has that. With my addiction web site closer, I am hoping that I can still keep up this schedule. Thanks for the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
1st May 2014 (#)

Good morning, Peter, thank you for moderating and the Star. I appreciate both. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
1st May 2014 (#)

This looks like a great article. I'll have to sit down and read it when I have more time...

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd May 2014 (#)

Good evening, Steve...would write more, but I'm out of time myself....:) ~Marilyn

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author avatar snerfu
2nd May 2014 (#)

Hello Ms Marilyn, great article, time is precious to us all. Sometimes I wonder what to do and sometimes I wonder when I will do it. Keep up the good work.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
2nd May 2014 (#)

Good morning, Snerfu, I know exactly what you mean. And then there are the days that we have too much to do and days that seem to lag...the trick is balance, and if I truly find it, I will write about it :) Thanks for your comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Carol
4th May 2014 (#)

A very wise article, I never have enough time, would love to prioritise my writing, but my home and family matter too, I just don't have enough hours in the day to fit it all in at times. I am never bored.

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author avatar n.c.radomes
4th May 2014 (#)

You possess a deluge of ideas and materials for writing. Take a bit of them each time you write and enriched them with surprises. Laurels!

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
4th May 2014 (#)

Good evening, N. C. What a kind thing to say. I appreciate the comment. ~Marilyn

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
4th May 2014 (#)

Good evening, Carol, enjoy that trip and thanks for stopping by and commenting. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Ptrikha
8th May 2014 (#)

Excellent time planning, and I would also like to take something from here.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
8th May 2014 (#)

Good morning, Ptrikha, take what you need and thank you for the comment. Organizing our time and utilzing it wisely just takes planning and if this article helps you, I've done my job :) ~Marilyn

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
13th May 2014 (#)

Writing is a challenge when it comes to sharing something worth the time for others. Commenting on what others write is the easier part and I enjoy the variety. You are indeed very meticulous in your lifestyle Marilyn and also in producing quality articles that prove a good guide to others - siva

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
13th May 2014 (#)

Good morning, Siva, that is a good point. Reading and commenting on others is the fun and easier part. It has taken time to enjoy the routines and be structured in my life as my addiction did not allow for that. I appreciate your time and attention to your articles and your comments, too. ~Marilyn

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author avatar Marzeus von Hemelen
25th Sep 2015 (#)

Mmmmmm... probalby something I could do too. I need to make a list and see where all my time goes. Coz I never have enough time. Never. Never!!!

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