A few years ago I transitioned from being a stay at home mom with 1 kiddo whose solid sleep left me with loads of free time to a working mom with 2 young kids, the youngest of whom is apparently a vampire. Needless to say, my ability to freely spend time working on creative endeavors changed drastically.
As my time become very constrained, I became obsessed with productivity strategies and learning how to make the most of my life given my hectic weekdays. I wanted to make time for the things I loved, but just didn’t see how I could do it. I was leaving our home at 4:30am each day to get on the road before traffic started and didn’t get home until after 6pm. And add a baby who was still waking up in the middle of the night.
Yet all the productivity experts I read said similar things – “wake up before the rest of your household” – “you MAKE time for what is important to you” – “carve out 3 hours a day for uninterrupted time.” I’m sorry, what?!
We knew, of course, that my weekday schedule was not sustainable and were actively considering lifestyle changes (e.g. relocating) so that I could live a more manageable life. But big changes like that take time, and I was left with a couple of years managing that grueling schedule while listening to bright eyed “experts” tell me to just have a nanny stay a little bit later each day so that my husband and I could have a date night. Oh that’s right! Our imaginary nanny was the solution to the problem.
What I wish I would have known (in addition to knowing it’s ok and sometimes necessary to ignore all the “experts” who are trying to force prescription advice on people) is that it’s ok to START SMALL.
Even 5 or 10 minutes a day is enough. When I think back on that time, especially when I was waking up not to an alarm clock but rather to a baby’s 3am crying, I don’t know that even waking up 5 minutes before my family would have been effective, since I wasn’t woken up on a totally predictable schedule. But I could have spent 5 minutes at lunch every day reading something inspirational. 5 minutes a day, over and over, would have added up to a lot.
It’s easy to end up feeling like you can’t life your best life because you don’t have enough time as other people do. And the message of “you make time for what is important to you” is only partially correct. You can make the time….it just might not be as much time as you would like…and that is ok. What you have is enough – enough to get started on your goal; enough to know that you are the type of person who doesn’t let your purported lack of time stand in your way.