Often when I talk about being an author, people say, “With your busy life, I can’t believe you find time to write.” And when I start talking about how I love to read, people will invariably say something like, “I don’t have time for reading. I’m just too busy.”
Both statements stem from a similar presupposition–that it’s nearly impossible to find time to write or read amidst the crazy chaos of life.
The problem with such a presupposition is that usually it gives off the impression that somehow the person who’s writing or reading is lazy or else has more free time than the rest of mankind. Why else would they have the time for such “frivolous endeavors” when the rest of the population struggles through each day with overly busy schedules?
Of course it usually irks me when someone thinks that somehow I magically have more time in my life and that’s why I can accomplish all that I do and still have time for reading. It’s during those moments, I want to print out a daily log of what my life looks like as a juggle my large family, home-educate my kids, and manage a full time writing career.
I can certainly go toe to toe with anyone who says they’re “just too busy.” My life is a far cry from couch-potato bliss.
Most people who say they don’t have time for writing or reading (or really anything they enjoy doing), are just making an excuse. (Note I said most people. I realize there are situations where people legitimately can’t make the time.)
The truth is the large majority of us can make time for the things we want to do.
In fact, an article in New York Daily News from 2014 said: The average American watches more than five hours of live television every day . . . plus another 32 minutes a day on time-shifted television, an hour using the Internet on a computer, an hour and seven minutes on a smartphone.
Add up those numbers and that means the average American clocks in about seven and a half hours a day on electronic devices of some kind. That’s almost as much time as many people spend working at a their place of employment!
By the end of a person’s life, they will average NINE YEARS of watching television according to StatisticBraincom. (Sidenote: The average American youth spends 900 hours a year in school but spends 1,200 hours watching TV. Scary, huh?)
Those who say they’re too busy for reading or writing usually aren’t too busy to watch their favorite shows or spend an hour playing Candy Crush. Instead of saying, “I don’t have time” people should just honestly admit, “I choose not to make the time.”
I choose to make the time for reading and writing. But I also do several other things that help me carve out the time:
1. Prioritize. I figure out what I need to get done each day, do the most urgent, and then tackle whatever else I can in the leftover time.
2. Budget time wisely. The buzz word around our house is, “Budget your time wisely.” We’re all given the same amount of hours in a day. It’s up to us how we spend them. We can piddle our time away putzing around doing diddle. Or we can work diligently.
3. Make time for personal well-being. I’ve learned over the years, I need to make time in my life for the things that make me healthy. Writing satisfies my soul. And reading is relaxing and stress-reducing.
So has anyone ever told you that they’re too busy for reading (or writing)? What have you told them (or wanted to tell them)?
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