Mom Writes First

2. How to Make Time for Writing

August 22, 2023 Jen
Mom Writes First
2. How to Make Time for Writing
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Do you struggle to make time to write? Do you want to make your writing a priority? 

 Let's explore together how to prioritize time and set a schedule to breathe life back into our writing. On this episode, I share my 5 best tools for actually making time to write every day!

Take the QUIZ! Discover how to use your mom superpower to reach your writing goals.

Ready to take back your time and add hours to the day so you can finally manage it all? Then you have to check out the FREE Time Audit Guide. You'll get coaching, worksheets, and tips on running your first time audit so that you can finally write your book without burning out. It's absolutely free, and it's my way of supporting and empowering YOU!

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Copyright 2024, Mom First Coaching

Speaker 1:

Welcome to MomWritesFirst, the podcast that helps moms make space in their busy lives to cultivate their passion for writing. Wherever you are in your journey as a writer and as a mom, you are welcome and supported here. I'm your host, jen Larmor. I'm a mom of five, a lawyer-turned-life coach and a writer. Together, we'll empower each other to unlock our creativity, ditch the overwhelm and finally make space for writing first. Are you ready? Take a breath, let's go. Hello and welcome to MomWritesFirst. I'm so glad that you're here and let's get real. I am seriously so proud of you for taking some time today to focus on making space for your passion for writing. Look, I get it.

Speaker 1:

As a mom myself, I know how much is on our plates. I know how easy it is to not make space for what lights us up, for our creative passions, for our hobbies. We make space for everything else. We make space for what our kids love to do. We make space for our spouses' hobbies. We make space for work, for friends, for extended family, for the PTO, for that neighbor who needs some help down the road. We make space for everybody else and for everything else, but not for ourselves. Well, guess what that stops now? I believe that taking time for our creative passions is the next level of self-care that we all need and that we all deserve. I want to help moms.

Speaker 1:

I see so many moms say that they don't have time for fun and joy. I have even had friends who I love. Love. I just love them. I've seen them look at me and tell me that their joy doesn't matter. All they want is for their kids to be happy. I guarantee you, though, that if you want your kids to be happy as grown-ups, then guess what you have to show them the path. You have to show them how to do it. You need to set the example. I've seen other moms get caught up in a vicious cycle of perfectionism, jealousy and judgment of themselves and of others. I want to help lift the veil on that and free moms of that kind of prison, and what I've found in my own life, in those that I serve, in my friends, is that having a creative passion an outlet, if you will helps to do all of that. It helps to free us of this cycle of perfectionism, it helps us to be curious and less judgmental, it increases our empathy and it increases our joy and zest for life. So that's what Mom writes first is all about, and that's why I'm so excited to be here today to share with you this episode in particular.

Speaker 1:

In this episode, I share with you my five best tools and tips for really making time and space for your hobby, in my case, writing. Wherever you are in your journey as a mom or as a writer, I hope that you'll come with me. Come with me on this journey where we both make space for our creativity, where we give time and energy to what fulfills us outside of our work, outside of our kids, outside of our homes. And let's kick off that journey with some real talk around time management and how to make time and space for writing. So again, I hear all the time about how busy we are as moms, how we're all like running in circles and taking kids to activities and picking up the groceries and going to work and managing all the activities. I get it.

Speaker 1:

I used to be just like that. I used to have no time for fun. It was a good day if I could shower. Taking a quick shower was like all the self-care that I had time for, and if I did somehow, by some miracle, find myself with extra time, it seemed like there was always lots of projects at home calling my name, like cleaning, organizing, decluttering, painting a room, redecorating, taking care of the yard, paying the bills. I also always felt like exercising or meal planning and prepping should definitely take priority over me.

Speaker 1:

Spending 10 minutes a day writing this was something that was really especially sensitive for me personally. I had a lot of shame and guilt around the weight I was carrying from having five beautiful babies. There was this part of me that was like, oh, I shouldn't make any time for writing, I shouldn't get to have any fun doing that, because what I really need to be doing is exercising and losing weight and punishing myself and figuring out what I'm gonna eat that's gonna help me to lose weight. And so, of course, now, when I say it out loud, it sounds so stupid, it sounds so ridiculous, but I wanna name it because that is where I was. I wanna be real because I want you to know that I'm gonna show up here today and on every other episode as my most authentic, truest self, that I'm not gonna lie to you and I'm gonna tell you the truth and I'm gonna share with you that being worried about my weight or exercising enough completely held me back from doing what I loved, which was writing, and I want to share that with you in case it resonates, in case that's where you are, because I've overcome that. I'm way past that now, and now I make time to live out loud and have fun, and I make time for the things I love, like writing.

Speaker 1:

Another thought that held me back from writing was that I would tell myself that my writing was not that important because I didn't make money doing it. As a lawyer, I traded my time for money and a lot of that time was spent writing. So there was this part of me that felt like if I was gonna write, I should definitely be making money doing it. But that wasn't the kind of writing that really lit me up and brought me a lot of joy. And it was the same thing as a coach I exchanged my time for money. And if my writing wasn't making me any money, I kind of thought you know what, it's not that important, I don't need to make time and space for it. Now, again, when I say that out loud, it seems so stupid, it seems so dumb, it seems so short-sighted and it seems so limiting. Now I write for joy and fun. I write to take care of myself. I write because it's a creative outlet.

Speaker 1:

Not everything in this life needs to be a side hustle or needs to be monetized Some things we get to do for bigger reasons. The thing is, there is always going to be something that gets in the way of you making time to do what you love. I know this from my first-hand experience, as I've just shared with you. I also know it from all the folks I coach. Many of the women that I coach are some of the smartest, most capable people I have ever met. They are kind and generous and driven and ambitious. They're amazing. As their coach, I see how these same exact kind of thoughts maybe a different flavor of them, but the same kind of thoughts stop them too, and part of my job as their coach is to help them to see past those limiting thoughts, to help them to embrace what they really love and what they really want to do. And I want to do that here for you today on this podcast.

Speaker 1:

I spent some time. I spent some time thinking and journaling and writing on what I can do to help you to make time and space for writing what I can offer to you, and I realized that I have five go-to tools that I use to help me to make time and space and really truly prioritize my love of writing. Now here they are, in short order. Number one basic needs. Always make sure my basic needs are met. Number two I use a tool called the minimum baseline to figure out what my commitment is going to be each and every single day to this particular topic writing. Number three I shift into curiosity with the idea of questioning and wondering what is possible for me. Number four I use two very specific coaching questions that help keep me on track. And number five I do regular time audits. So these are the top five tools that I use to develop any habit that I want to develop in my life, and I've started using it to develop a daily habit of writing so that I make time and space every single day to write, to do what I love. Now I have just started this daily habit, but I know that these five tools are going to help get me there where I am writing on a daily basis, every single day. How do I know? Because I've already built habits using these same tools.

Speaker 1:

So let's talk first about tool number one. Tool number one is your basic needs. We as moms get so focused on everything that we need to do that we forget to check in with ourselves and ask hey, have I gotten enough sleep? Am I getting enough food and water? Have I had a chance to shower? Am I getting some gentle and joyful and restorative movement? If your basic needs are not met, it is going to be difficult to build those habits that are focused around bringing in fun and joy, and that's because you're really focused in survival mode if your basic needs are not being met. So first focus on getting those basic needs met every single day. Once your daily basic needs are met, then that's the time to start thinking okay, I've met those basic needs, now what can I add into my life to really start to thrive?

Speaker 1:

So in order to do that, I like to use a tool called the minimum baseline. Now, seriously, this is one of my favorite concepts ever. I've known about it for about a decade, and when I first heard of it, I was such a perfectionist and such an overachiever that I actually didn't think that the concept of the minimum baseline would work at all. But having implemented it seriously dozens of times now over the last 10 years, and, having also done it with my clients, I know that it works.

Speaker 1:

The idea of the minimum baseline is that you make a commitment that is the least amount of something that you are absolutely willing to do when it comes to a habit, a personal goal or any other kind of action that you're trying to take. This, the minimum baseline, is the smallest commitment that you can make that you know that you will follow through on. You'll follow through on it regardless of the weather, regardless of the amount of sleep you get, regardless of what your kids or your partner does or what happens at work, no matter what you're going to do. That minimum baseline, if you're just starting out with this, and especially if you're coming off of some failed goals or broken resolutions, I recommend that you make your minimum baseline very, very small, like ridiculously small, so small that you think that it's never going to matter or it's never going to make a difference. Because the idea is is that you have to teach yourself how to keep a commitment to yourself. You have to prove that you can do it, and so the minimum baseline is not so much about the amount of what you're doing. It's really more about the integrity that you have with yourself.

Speaker 1:

So for me, when I first started out, my minimum baselines were really small. They were like I'm going to put my shoes on in order so that I can go for a walk. When I first started, I couldn't even consistently get myself to go for a daily walk, and so my baseline for the first week was really just putting on my shoes. Right now, I'm in a place where I can. Typically, if I have a goal or something that I want to work on, I can start with 10 minutes, and I can pretty much guarantee that I will carve out that 10 minutes for myself. That's a number that, just where I'm at right now, works really well for me. It doesn't mean that that's going to work out really well for you. You have to know yourself, you have to be willing to experiment. If you are aiming for 10 minutes and you're not doing that you're not meeting your minimum baseline then guess what? Then you need to dial it back.

Speaker 1:

Let me give you an example of how this works. So, for instance, something that I've been really successful at is establishing a daily yoga practice for myself. I started that by committing to doing 10 minutes of yoga three times a week, and I gradually built that up to 10 minutes each day, which is where I've been for about a year now. Now, honestly, a lot of days I do much more yoga than that, but I always do my minimum 10 minute commitment and if, for some reason, I miss it, like when I was traveling recently, I really feel it and I feel not so great about that. I feel it physically, I feel it mentally, and so I know that this 10 minute a day yoga habit is really truly ingrained in me. I'm doing the same thing right now, when I'm trying to build this writing habit. I commit to writing for 10 minutes a day, every single day. Again, it can be more than that If I have the time and I want to go over, that's great, that's awesome. But no matter what, it's 10 minutes every single day.

Speaker 1:

You can use this concept of the minimum baseline to establish any habit that works for you. The key is, again, not to go gangbusters and try to make the perfect routine and habit right out of the gate. No one hour minimum baselines when you're just starting out. Go small. This is the commitment that you're willing to do, no matter what. So if it's rainy or you're sick, or you're tired. Whatever you still show up, you still do it. It doesn't matter what happens. If you can't stick to it again, then that means that your minimum baseline is too big.

Speaker 1:

The third tool that I use is that I take time to shift into curiosity. So when I'm starting out on a path of trying to create a goal, I often get a lot of resistance that pops up and it'll be something along the lines of you'll never be able to do that. How are you going to find time for that? It's not possible for you. There's not enough time in the day to carve out another 10 minutes, for example, to combat all of those resistant, negative, judgmental thoughts.

Speaker 1:

I shift myself into a place of possibility, for instance when I think about the idea of writing. I am a mama five, I have a full time job, I do coaching as well and I run this podcast and we have a lot going on in our life and there's a part of me that kind of thinks you know what? There's not enough time for that, there's not enough time to make 10 minutes a day. It doesn't matter, don't do it. And what I do then in that case is I shift myself into a place of curiosity because I think to myself what if I could carve out just a little bit of time? What if there are people who are much more busy than I am who do carve out that time? What if actually I have plenty of time? And so I use these kinds of questions to keep myself in a space of curiosity and possibility. That way I don't derail myself. So you can see, that's a little bit of self coaching that I'm doing, but again, that's one of the tools that I use to help me achieve my goals and create these kinds of habits.

Speaker 1:

The fourth tool that I have for you is two questions that I use together to help me to really stay focused on what matters during the day, so that I make time and space for writing. So I'm sure, as a mom, you understand what it's like to have a lot of demands on your time. There's a lot of people who want a lot from you and there are always all kinds of things that are demanding your time and attention. When that happens, it can be really easy, especially if you're a perfectionist, especially if you're a people pleaser, to try to always be going above and beyond. But when you are constantly going above and beyond in all kinds of areas, there's not time and space to make room for what you love, for your creative passions. So here are two questions that I use to help me to stay aligned and focused on what really matters in my life and on what I'm trying to create, so I don't get distracted by all those demands and all those pressures on my time.

Speaker 1:

The first question is what is the actual expectation? So, instead of always going above and beyond, instead of doing doing a plus work all the time, sometimes the actual expectation of the situation is B plus work, and sometimes B plus work is just fine and just good enough. The second question I ask in the moment is what is the next best thing to do? And a lot of times, the very next best thing to do is to make time for the thing that I said I wanted to have be a priority, which is my writing. So to take that next 10 minutes and do the writing. These are two questions that I use when I feel like I don't have enough time to write, because when I'm feeling like that, it's often because I'm letting my tendencies toward perfectionism, people pleasing, overworking or just my overall insecurity get the best of me. So when I take a moment to ask myself wait, what's the actual expectation here and what is the next best thing to do in this moment? It helps me to have a chance to realign and reprioritize the many tasks that are on my to do list each day, including making time and space for writing.

Speaker 1:

Let me give you an example of how this might work. So yesterday I almost didn't write because my room was covered in laundry that needed to be folded and sorted. It looks like a truckload of washing machines exploded in my room. We've seen all those clothes everywhere meant that I almost didn't write because I was thinking no, I have to put away this laundry. But then I remembered no one is actually going to care about this laundry. No one's going to see it. This is about my expectations, and my actual expectation is that I write every day for 10 minutes, even if it means that the laundry does not get folded. So I dug my note pad out from underneath all those clothes on my desk, I scooched the pile of sheets away so that I could sit in my chair and I wrote for just 10 minutes, and it was glorious.

Speaker 1:

Another example is that I check my email pretty frequently. It's not the expectation that I check my email as often as I do. But sometimes I do, and even though I could actually be spending that time writing, I do sometimes spend it checking my email. So if I pause and I ask myself wait, what is the actual expectation here, it again helps me to realign and prioritize my writing. You can try this, too. Ask yourself the question what's the next best thing to do in this moment? And again, that's a question that I find really helps me to pause and make time and space for writing.

Speaker 1:

Finally, the last tool I have to mention for you is that I conduct regular time audits, or time studies on myself. This is something that helps me to really know and understand how I am actually using my time, so that I can make sure that I am living in alignment with my values and actually doing everything I can to create the kind of life that I say that I want. In my most recent time study, for example, I realized that I was taking emails for two hours a day on some weekends. That's completely out of alignment with my values. I also realized that I was actually spending way more time with my kids than I was giving myself credit for Having that kind of knowledge and insight is super good for helping to make sure that mom guilt does not rear its ugly head.

Speaker 1:

I've learned a lot over the last couple years from doing time studies. For example, at one point I realized I actually was not exercising anywhere near as much as I thought I was. I spent a lot of time thinking about exercise but not actually doing things that made me sweat. You're never going to have these kinds of insights if you don't keep track and collect data, and so one of the things that I do pretty regularly, at least once a quarter, is I conduct a time audit. There you have it. Those are my top five tools that I use to make sure that I can actually make time and space every single day to write. I've used these five tools to develop loads of habits over the last 10 years, and I know that they'll work for you because I've seen them work for myself and others.

Speaker 1:

So again, here they are. Number one basic needs check-in. Number two minimum baseline. Number three shift into curiosity with the idea of what is possible. Number four two specific coaching questions that take team together what is the actual expectation and what is the next best thing to do? And then number five a time audit. There you have it, my friends. Let me know what you think, and if you have specific tools that work for you when it comes to making time and space for what you love and for your writing, then I can't wait to hear from you. Find me over at momwritesfirst on Instagram. Okay, my friends, thank you so much for listening to this episode. Please be sure to hit subscribe so you don't miss a beat, and it would mean so much to me if you would help me to spread the word about this podcast, mom Writes First, by sharing this episode with just one friend, just one other mom who you think should take up some space and find her voice and start writing. Thank you so much, and I'll see you next time.

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