Day 14: It’s hard to commit – what tips can you give me for sticking with it?
I don’t have time.
There isn’t enough time.
I don’t have ten minutes a day.
Any of these sound familiar?
Even if you’ve done the work to shift your mindset from time management to self-management, we still have pesky thoughts that keep us from our journals.
How about this one: I can’t get one more thing in my schedule.
And you know what?
You are totally right.
Most of us are running around with a schedule that is unsustainable. We pile buckets of stuff on our to-do list. More than can possibly be done in one day, or even in one week.
Why can’t it be done?
Because of all of the stuff that isn’t on our to-do list.
A sick kiddo. A flat tire. The rain making you sleepy, the crap you heard on the news, this list could go on for a long time.
And frankly, I could take the time spent listing all the stuff that can go wrong and use it to write in my journal instead.
On a grand scale, we make a choice each and everyday about where our attention goes. If it goes to worrying about the state of the world, we will experience being worried about the state of the world.
If it goes to our kids, we will be focused on our kids 24/7. (I’m not saying this is a bad thing…but maybe when they go to school we could think about other stuff for a little while? We are important too!)
And if we spend time looking at our own life and using tools to make it better, then our lives will get better. (And hey, maybe we could even change the world by starting right at home.)
On a smaller scale, taking a close look at how we spend our time seems like an activity that will take up too much time.
Remember that great line from Covey, “have you ever been too busy driving to get gas?”
I think about journal writing like that.
Yes, it is hard to squeeze one more commitment into my schedule.
But at the end of the day, there is a short list of things that I have to do in order to function at my highest level. If I don’t do these things I am not nearly as productive, not even remotely creative, and certainly nowhere near the patient parent I strive to be.
My list is: journal writing, exercise, and time spent connecting with other people.
What’s on your list?
Think about it. You have at least one thing that you know when you do, it makes you better.
You probably have multiple things and you could even categorize them into levels. Your have to haves. Nice to haves. And the luxury items that you only do once or twice a year.
Where does journal writing fall on your list?
Are you more productive when you write in your journal?
Does your mind make decisions just a little faster? Are you more clear on what you want and will focus on for the day? The month?
If so, than journal writing might need to be a have to have for you. And if it’s a have to have, than you will find a way to make time for it.
So, when we’re trying to find more time to focus on what is important to us, in this case journal writing, we start with the question of just how important is it?
What result will you get from it?
And will your days be better because you do it?
If the answer to that last question is a resounding YES, then its time to look at self-management tools that will help to fit journal writing into your day.
Pick a time in your schedule that is your journal writing time. Do not compromise that time unless there is an emergency. Set a timer for that chunk of time and do not respond to any emails, texts, etc. If your first scheduled time doesn’t work, find a new time.
Remember, you can journal for as little as five minutes, which is plenty of time to write a paragraph. And if all you can get to is a paragraph, that is a-okay. A paragraph is always going to be better than nothing.
If your kids interrupt you all the time, try getting them a journal and some new markers. Set a timer for ten minutes and tell them its quiet journaling time. It may take some practice, but stick with it and you’ll establish this as part of your routine.
Try writing at different times of day. For years I was a morning journaler. After I had kids, I have found that lunchtime is better. There is just too much going on in the morning.
Put your journal on top of your pillow to remind you right before bed that if you haven’t written yet today, now is the time.
Carry your journal with you or use a digital one you can access on your phone so that you can take advantage of a visit to the park or a wait at the soccer field.
Play with this and find what works for you.
One more thing. We all have things that are important to us that we don’t give as much attention to as we would like. It’s important for us to eat healthy, but fast food is just so easy in the moment, so we put off the veggies till our next meal.
And then what happens? We sigh and moan about how we have to make a change and in some cases we mentally and emotionally beat ourselves up for not taking more control of this or that aspect of our life.
(Any guilt-ridden Catholics out there? For some of us, they did a really great job when we were kids.)
It doesn’t mean that eating healthy is not important to you. Change is hard. And it takes time and serious commitment. The world is full of easy ways to make poor choices.
I don’t know why the better choices have to seem so difficult, but I think that when we don’t make them, the majority of us beat ourselves up about it.
Don’t keep a journal because I think you should. Or because you think your kids will want you to keep one.
Keep a journal because it makes you feel good.
Because it adds to your quality of life. And brings you joy!
And maybe even helps you forge a connection between your dreams and your reality and over time, fosters change in your life that brings you even more joy – woo-hoo!
But whatever you do, for goodness sake, don’t beat yourself up about not writing in your journal. There is enough stuff out there making us feel bad. Don’t feel guilty about this too.
Remember the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated? Sometimes I think we need to add to this: Treat yourself the way you want to be treated.
With kindness, respect, and love.
Which you can of course discover in the pages of your journal. Just sayin’ 🙂
Prompt for Day 14: What would it feel like to remove from your schedule the activity or event that you least like to do? What would that change for you?
Like this article? Please feel free to use it on your own blog or newsletter. I simply ask that you please include this blurb:
Sara Marchessault is a coach, writer, and mom who helps busy women use journaling to create more space in their life for being productive without feeling overwhelmed. Visit www.saramarchessault.com to get your FREE Journal Protection Plan and start using your journal to create more joy in your life.