I feed off of my various emotions to create. Almost all of them offer something different and useful to my process. If I’m depressed, time to start writing. Angry? I’ll sit down at the sketchbook.
Anxiety, however, is my kryptonite. And unfortunately, it is ever-present in the fast-paced world we live in. When I’m riding the anxiety wave, you’ll more than likely find me numbing out, binge-watching the most violent shit I can find on Netflix. And while it certainly does something to sooth the pain, it is not at all productive. And I can’t have that. You see, without a schedule we are all at the mercy of our laziness.
Now, if you’re not a naturally lazy person, good for you. You’re obviously better than everybody in the world and deserve a medal for all your efforts. However, more than likely you are a flawed bag of flesh like the rest of us. Given the chance, you will no doubt leap at the opportunity to watch Netflix or play video games or furiously masturbate to the thought of your wasted childhood.
The solution I’d like to offer may sound simple, but it takes the practice and precision of an evil surgeon.
I know. Scary. If the word “schedule” bothers you, feel free to use something more appropriate , like “obsessive compulsive arrangement of tasks” or “eternal damnation in everlasting hellfire.” Whatever you choose, I’m here to guide you through it, kicking and screaming.
Step 1: Keep your priorities straight
Let’s start simple so your tiny brain can handle it. Make a list of everything you would like to do on a daily or weekly basis. Keep in mind, you are only listing the things that do not already take up space in your schedule. So work, school, and you’re weekly visit to the therapist are not listed here. Not in this step anyway. Only include the hobbies/activities you want to make time for. You’d think this would be obvious, but alas, you’re a pitiful human.
Since I learn through example, I’m going to force you to do the same. This is my list.
- Drawing practice
- Video games
And right now you’re thinking Holy shenanigans! How does one make time for all that?
Let me show you.
For each task, you are going to allow 5 (and only 5) minutes to do it. So if it helps, write the number 5 next to each task in the list. Dance, monkey, dance.
Step 2: Schedule
If you haven’t already created a schedule for your daily routine, you’re going to need to do that first. Just use your favorite calendar app to schedule the things that take up your time currently. Before adding your new tasks, you’re list should look something like mine.
- 7–8am Morning Routine
- 8–9am Commute
- 9–5pm Work
- 5–30–7:30pm Class
Now schedule the tasks you listed in step 1. Schedule only one occurrence of 5 minutes for each task per day.
- 6:55–7am Write
- 7–8am Morning Routing
- 8–9am Commute
- 9–5pm Work
- 5:30–7:30pm Class
- 8–8:05pm Drawing Practice
- 8:40–8:45pm Video Games
As you can see, I chose to do the majority of my added hobbies in the evening. Despite my best efforts to become a morning person, the night calls to me. It’s quiet. Like a dead person. So I get to pretend all of you are dead.
Looking further, you can see I even made time between Drawing Practice and Code for a nice shit! You can try scheduling your shits if you like, but with the spontaneous nature of shitting, I find it best to just wing it.
Keep up with this schedule for at least one week, preferably two. It will help greatly with the next step, and that’s really where the magic of this system kicks in, so read on.
Step 3: Learn what you love
The schedule you created in step 2 guides you into how you’re going to proceed.
Inevitably, you’re going to end up wanting to continue past your allowed five minutes for certain tasks in your list. For example, I found myself wanting to draw and code for longer than 5 minutes. So for step 3 you’re going to extend the time of those tasks.
You may have also learned that you’re not into certain things as much as you initially thought. You’re welcome to remove these completely from your schedule. Or better yet, just keep them scheduled for 5 minute chunks until you know for sure that you want to eliminate them. Think of it as slow torture.
Step 4: Adapt
Continue doing things this way until you feel like you want more or less time for certain tasks. When that happens, change it up. Feel free to cut back the amount of time spent on self-mutilation sessions from 20 to 5 minutes. This allows you extend the time on a hobby you’re more interested in, like sending me hate-mail.
And that’s really all there is to it. That’s how I make sure I don’t waste my evenings on TV and do the things that matter to me.
All this being said, part of my personal schedule includes 1 hour allotted to playing video games. This activity is a very important part of my day. Without video games, I’d probably be a serial killer. So don’t let other peeps tell you what’s important and what’s not. This is all about you!