What You, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Edgar Allan Poe Have in Common

Despite the fact that we seem to think otherwise, we have the same amount of time in a week as the greats, one hundred and sixty eight hours.

We may have more distractions today, but they had cholera and diphtheria.

Often we blame the lack of time for not getting things done, but I’d like to argue that we have all the time we need, if we use it appropriately.

This past week I decided to sit down and parcel out my time. I was determined to prove to myself that my writing projects were suffering because of my lack of time and not lack of commitment. So I made an Excel spreadsheet.

After I divided up everything, spending time with my wife and kids, eating, and the occasional shower and teeth brushing, I had 1.75 hours left in each week day. I have weekends but sometimes we are traveling or out of town. I used weekdays because I wanted time I could count on to create a solid schedule.

At first I was depressed. How can I have that little? Life is busy and full and I love it, but that was a punch to the gut.

Then I added it up. 8.75 hours.

I sat back. I have ample time to write 3 blog posts, and work on my books. Add in the occasional free weekend and that time rises to 11.25 without using an afternoon or two.

So I failed. I wanted to prove to myself that I did not have sufficient time to write. Now, I realize I have all the time I need just like every writer before me. It’s up to me to use it well.

Do you have things that suck your time away that don’t match the goals you have for your life?

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4 thoughts on “What You, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, and Edgar Allan Poe Have in Common

  1. You’re absolutely right. Time management is a struggle for many of us, but rather than blaming our lack of progress on time, we should be focusing on organization and priorities. Time is a precious commodity so easily wasted. Thanks for this reminder!

  2. Beginning in October I started a spreadsheet to track my weekly word production. I set a goal of 1500 words. Should be doable. For the first few weeks, I was in the red but I finally exceeded my weekly goal this week. It’s all about using the time you have wisely. It’s not easy, but it feels good to see a black rather than a red number. If I can consistently make 1500, I’ll raise the notch to 2000.

    1. Nice Jeff. Good trick to use so you don’t burn out. Glad you are not stopping there and will raise the bar. That’s really healthy.

      I need to get somethig like that going. My wife is expecting a baby any day so that may make things a little bumpy going forward. Keep up the good work!

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