I get asked often what my Twitter handle, @10MinuteWriter means. If I’m feeling generous, I say, “it means I have to write in the smallest bits of time that I can.” If I’m feeling a bit snarky, I say, “it means I have five children who like to eat and have clean clothes.”
I call myself @10MinuteWriter because I’ve decided my writing dreams were worth finding time for.
I think it’s possible for the busiest of people to carve out a little time daily to do something they love — it just takes vision, creative use of time and space, and discipline, but it can be done.
I also discovered that most domestic chores can be done in less than ten minutes. Like the following:
Sort the laundry and start one load.
Fold one basket of clean laundry.
Clean the bathroom.
Vacuum one room in my house.
Dust one room in my house.
Clean out the refrigerator.
Unload the dishwasher and fill it again.
Wipe all the kitchen counters and sweep the floor.
Compile a shopping list.
Start (but not complete) dinner.
This isn’t an exhaustive list. There are many more tasks around the house that, if broken down in small chunks, can be done every other ten minutes. If I stay focused on these little tasks, for ten minutes at a time, then I’ve only worked an hour and a half. I have the rest of the day to do what I need to do for myself for my family.
If I have a lengthy list, things like call for dental appointments, or write an article or go to the library, I break it down in to the smallest tasks possible, enlist the help of my children and keep setting my timer.
But there’s even more ways to find time! (It helps if your family is cooperative!)
1. Delegate Your Responsibilities: You don’t have to do everything! This is exactly why I have a lot of children, so we can share the love that is household chores. It’s only too bad that I didn’t give birth to fully grown tween girls (my girls are the best and work almost as hard as I do!)
2. Reward Yourself After An Unpleasant Task With A Little Writing Time I find that I’m a lot more efficient with my housecleaning when I realize that at the end of it, I get to write. So race yourself. Can you fold that basket of laundry in ten minutes? Can you clean that bathroom in seven? It’s not about quality here, people, it’s about getting the chores done so the creative stuff can take place!
3. Train Your Children To Respect Your Passions Little ones can grasp that Mom needs ten minutes, but they can’t get that Mom needs two hours. Make it manageable for them, and it will pay off big for you later.
4. Be selective in returning calls and answering texts right away. If your friends can’t understand this, perhaps they need to become an unsavory character in your novel.
5. Rethink Television Back when I started my quest for ten minutes a day, the most technology I had at my fingertips was DVR. Now, really, there just isn’t any excuse for claiming that your network TV schedule has interfered with your writing time.
6. Limit Your Internet Time. Be brutal in which blogs you regularly follow in your reader. Spend less time than I do on Facebook. Avoid Pinterest.
7. Make Meal Prep Time Efficient Advance planning, make-ahead cooking, use of crock pots, bread machines and rice cookers – all of this can make you necessary job of eating (and hopefully eating well) less time consuming and allow you more time for writing.
8. Plan Your Laundry Like death and taxes, there will always be dirty clothes to wash, so create a daily strategy in which to handle it. By having a plan in place, you will save precious minutes. We’re looking to find small bits of time, right? Not to save the world.
9. Have A Plan Before You Sleep If you wake up in the morning with no surprises (or at least a minimum) then you will save time, guaranteed. It’s also helpful to get the necessities out of the way as soon as you can and free up time later.
10. Have All You Need, Right Where You Need It. The more organized you are, the more time you will save.
Granted, I’m a Stay-At-Home Mom, my daily responsibilities are limited to the domestic. But I’d like to suggest that anyone can find ten minutes. In fact, members of my Facebook Group, who are not all Moms like me have offered their suggestions on how they found the time:
The busiest person CAN find time to meet their writing goals. Ten minutes a day is better than nothing at all.
Got any more ideas? Leave them in a comment below!
Or, better still, join us on Twitter every Thursday night, 9PM EST for a chat. Follow this hashtag #10MinuteNovelists and join the fun!