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I’m aware that our modern world isn’t easy to negotiate through. I know people have jobs, bills to pay, the need to put food on the table, shuttle kids to and from school or band practice or play practice or that sports game. I get it. But, if you’re really good at time management, you can do all this and write scripts, make movies, and so forth.
I know it’s possible to write a screenplay in less than a week and get paid $15,000 for it. I know because that happened to me. But, I also know that I’m incredibly diligent in time management when it comes to something like that. If my goal is to write a script in a week or so, and I’m getting paid 15 grand for it, I know that there is no time to waste at the gym, or on the phone chatting with friends, or texting and tweeting the lastest news.
I don’t think twice about just shutting the phone off, or telling friends and family that I’m going back in the “writing cave” or the “editing cave” or whatever. Most people appreciate it and respect that, and understand the situation.
Other people don’t understand it, and that’s when it can become problematic. Everybody has a needy friend who has a personality that if you don’t return his or her call or text immediately, they take it personally and think you’re mad at them. Then, by the time you’ve re-emerged from the cave, your friend hates you and you don’t understand why.
Well, I’m here to say, screw ‘em. Needy people are trouble. Ask yourself which is more important? Do you want to finish your script, your edit, your work or your art—or do you want to make sure you’re holding on to social obligations that have nothing to do with supporting your goals? True friends, and people who support you and your goals, will always be there for you, regardless. So I say “screw ‘em” to the rest because they’ll eventually just start sucking out your life force like leeches.
Now, I understand it’s easy for me to go into a creative cave of any sort because I don’t have pets, I don’t’ have children, and I’m not keen on frivolous social obligations with people I barely know. But, I’ve made the decision that right now it’s the part of my life where I need to focus on myself. So I don’t have pets on purpose.
Scheduling is also an important part of managing one’s time. I can totally juggle the responsibilities of earning a living, putting food on the table, and also creating my art. But I might not be able to do them all at the same time. Sometimes it’s possible to block out two hours a day for writing, or six hours a day for earning a paycheck, or one hour a week to write a blog article. But, unless I write it down in my planner, and keep to the schedule, it becomes impossible to manage everything.
I know some of you might be gifted when it comes to time management and scheduling yourself. And I know that some of you might really struggle with it. My only advice is to make it a habit. I think it only takes something like two weeks to make something a habit. Start small, by getting a daily planner or learning how to operate the calendar on your smart phone. Set alerts for yourself.
Most importantly, ask yourself if there are any things in your current lifestyle that impede your ability to work on your art, or reach your goals. Are some of those things necessary? Can you do without them? Or, if you must have them (say you aren’t ready to send Fido to your neighbor’s house to live), can you think of ways to keep those things and also achieve your goals?
There’s no excuse to avoid achieving your goals. There is simply time management and figuring out HOW you can achieve them no matter what.