But by the time Deacon joined us here in Virginia and finally started sleeping, life had started to fill. We had a house that is a home, we met neighbors, established routines, school schedules, church, and other commitments. And, blessedly, Daniel is home exponentially more than he was. So these pockets—times in the day before everyone is up or after they go to bed at night, or when Deacon is napping and the girls are at school—are fairly predictable and usually rather short. It is in these times I can make progress on writing or housework or exercise or rest or really do anything that requires my full attention that wouldn’t be possible while I’m also ensuring my daredevil toddler isn’t defying death in the next room.
Now that I’m working on my first book, I find those pockets are woefully small. Here’s what I’m trying to do about it.
Be More Intentional - I’ve also learned, though, that I have more time than I think I do. I waste time sitting around, embarrassingly, often scrolling through stuff I don’t care about on my phone. I’m not demonizing the sitting around, or the phone. But trying to fit this much productivity in the same amount of time I’ve always had has driven me to be more intentional about the choices I make. So when I’m faced with a pocket now, I try to make a conscious decision, as opposed to vegging out and letting the time get away from me. People are more important than things, even dreams, so sometimes pockets are spent having coffee with a friend while our kids play or acquiring things my family needs or helping someone out. When this happens, I remind myself that I am focusing on the most important thing at that time.
Make a Plan- I am able to predict the time I’ll have each day. Our life is fairly ordered most days. So there’s no reason I need to wait until the clock starts ticking to decide what I’m going to do with the time. I have always rejected the idea of “balance;” I’ve always been resentful that I grew up truly believing I could do it all. I never really had to choose. I feel like so many people my age—women in particular—are feeling the ill effects of that lie. Maybe it’s true that you can have it all, but you definitely can’t have it all at the same time. Opportunity cost is a real thing. So I choose how to spend my time, and I make peace with all the things I can’t be doing at the same time. Each day I make a rough plan for how I will spend the time I’ve got. I try to stick to it, but if I don’t, I give myself grace.
Create More Pockets- It’s becoming painfully obvious to me that, using only the time I already have each day, this book will probably take a decade to complete. I am working with Daniel to determine how I can steal away from the family to create more time. I don’t know what it’s going to look like yet, other than it’s probably going to require sacrifice, either financial or in terms of family time. It would not be worth it were it not my dream. But dreams don’t get themselves done any more than the laundry that is always on my couch can fold itself.
How do you work with the pockets of time you have? What does it look like for you to be intentional about the way you spend them?