My last blog post dealt with how to give yourself permission to write, and how to say no to those guilty feelings that say you just can’t justify spending the time. But what happens when you really don’t feel like you have the time to fit it in, and it’s no longer guilt but a reality? Here are a few small ideas to claw back those nuggets of time. In fact, I like to think of it like when you’ve nearly used up a bar of soap, and thrifty people stick all the little shards together to make one reasonable sized bit. And that’s what I suggest you do with your time. Here’s how to salvage a whole hour, without having to stop doing much of anything.

1. Simple, but easy, get up ten minutes earlier. It isn’t a lot of time, and you don’t have to spend those ten minutes writing, but you can make your time easier for later on in the day. Chop vegetables for dinner and keep them in the fridge, write a to do list which saves you running around like a maniac later or bung the washing in. Just make sure you make your day ten minutes easier.

Time saved: 10 minutes

2. Cook dinner for two nights instead of one. This works particularly well if you live alone, but I see no reason why it couldn’t work for a couple or larger group too. Save yourself half an hour over two days by just having to microwave a portion instead of cooking it from scratch.

Time saved: 15 minutes a day

3. Ditch mindless TV. Instead of having a TV dinner, every so often, have a writing dinner instead. If you don’t fancy the idea of jotting down ideas whilst you munch, just sit there quietly and think, jotting them down when you’ve finished. The amount of truly bad episodes of who knows what we watch is quite astonishing, and often we don’t even enjoy it. Claw back that time by writing for at least 1/3 of the program – so let’s say 10 minutes.

Time saved: 10 minutes a day

4. Take a pad on the train or the tube. Or if you drive or cycle (or something else during which writing is less than recommended), claim back that time you spend sat at your desk before your shift technically starts. It is yours to keep after all.

Time saved: at least 5 minutes

5. When cooking dinner, unless you’re incredibly chefy, you probably won’t need to spend every second staring at the pan. In fact, for most of us, dinner does quite nice on its own in the oven. So pull up a pew, and have 10 minutes to yourself with your laptop or pad. And just write.

Time saved: 10 minutes

6. QI once taught me that people who sleep less than 8 hours live longer than those who sleep more than this figure. So by staying up just 10 minutes later to write, you might actually be lengthening your life span. Emphasis on the might.

Time saved: 10 minutes

7. Finally, have a self-indulgent 10 minutes on me. 10 minutes that probably would be better spent washing up, revising, or planning for tomorrow’s meeting. But 10 minutes that you are going to disgustingly spend on yourself. And 10 minutes that you are going to enjoy.


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