Most of us are constantly on the go. Between work, gym, errands, chores, church, family and friends, it seems like just getting home, showered and fed before 10 p.m. is an accomplishment. With so little time in the day, how can we find space for anything creative, let alone build a sustainable, profitable dream?
It’s easy to face feelings of overwhelm when there are so many ideas in our hearts to do, yet so many days that pass without any time to foster them. But with a little effort and intentionality, it IS possible to find time where you thought you had none. Here are six ways to carve out time in the day and start building your dreams:
- Set attainable goals.
To a detriment, if I have an idea (and lets be honest, there are usually 18 of them), I won’t settle for anything less than its grandest and wildest form…which usually results in feeling overwhelmed and never doing anything at all. Anyone else feel me on that one?
Simplifying goals into attainable, bite-sized chunks by picking just a few things to focus on at a time can be a total game changer for us big dreamers. If you want to blog, start with a site design. If you want to own a business, start with a networking event or meeting. Not doing everything at once means you’ll actually do something – and it’s amazing to look back and see the real progress that’s made with focus and intentionality.
- Kill time sucks.
A little R&R is critical to our mental, emotional and spiritual health – but how often does your time of rest turn into an hour of scrolling through Facebook or finding yourself five episodes deep into binging a show on Netflix? Cutting out time sucks and being intentional with both rest and hustle time can add hours to our days. When Netflix has to ask you if you’re still watching (#shametactics), it’s probably time to put the remote down!
- Learn the power of no.
I used to be the girl who did EVERYTHING. I went to every show, every dinner, every party, every event. I was in a small group, I signed up for every volunteer opportunity, I took on new projects, and I was generally sleep deprived. To this day, I am still a recovering “yes” addict.
Part of my “do it all” syndrome was just personality, but to be honest, part of it came from a really unhealthy place of being afraid of missing out and afraid of losing connections with people. It takes some real soul searching to set healthy boundaries, but learning to say “no”, without guilt, without excuse, and even without reason is one of the best skills you can learn as a dreamer or entrepreneur.
- Decide what you’re not willing to sacrifice.
At the heart of the struggle for time is really a struggle for balance. With so many good things vying for our time and attention, the feeling of guilt no matter what you do is so real. That’s why knowing what you’re NOT willing to sacrifice is just as important as knowing your goals. Is it your health? Then don’t feel bad that hour spent at the gym each day or shutting down before midnight and getting your beauty sleep. Is it your relationships? Then don’t apologize for evenings spent with friends, or setting aside quiet and undistracted time with your boyfriend or husband.
Knowing what you won’t sacrifice does several things: it keeps you centered, helps you figure out where you can make sacrifices, and alleviates guilt. After all, what’s the point of getting your dream but ending up miserable because you gave up your other values to get there?
- Schedule hustle time.
Rather than letting your planner be a painful reminder of how little time you have, schedule hustle time, just like you do other appointments or events. Think about it: if you set aside two lunch breaks a week, two weekday evenings a month and two weekend afternoons a month, that’s almost 20 hours of work towards your dream each month – while still having time for rest and for relationships. When you make your dream as important as your other commitments, you’ll be surprised at how much time you find.
- Don’t be afraid to quit things.
There are only three life-long commitments: God, your spouse and your family/children. Everything else, you have permission to quit. In case that didn’t sink in the first time: YOU. CAN. QUIT. Maybe it’s a project that has no traction, a job that causes too much stress, a toxic relationship, a hobby that takes up too much time or a habit that clutters your life. Whatever the “thing” is, give yourself permission to step away.
Loyalty and perseverance are amazing traits, but life comes in seasons, and clinging to a fading season because you’re too afraid to let go will keep you from the beautiful things God wants to bloom in your life. With your goals set, your values secure and your hustle hours set aside, take an honest and prayerful look at your life to consider where you might need to take a step back. Then go all Jerry McGuire and don’t look back!
Most importantly, remember that you are where you are for a reason. You never know if this job or that relationship or that project will be the stepping-stone that changes everything. Be a good steward of the time you have, and watch the “impossible” become possible.
Kristen Shoates is a freelance writer and full-time marketing strategist specializing in nonprofits, artists and small businesses. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and world changers turn their visions into reality, loves any chance for a new adventure, and believes the secret to greatness is lots (and lots) of coffee. To fuel her creativity, she blogs at www.9to5gypsy.com and helps her husband run a local music lessons and recording studio. You can find her at www.kristenshoates.com or on Insta and Facebook.