How to Save Time, Work Ahead, and Be More Awesome.

Chapter, Fashionably Light

Sep 03 2013

Gold Tape

How to Save Time, Work Ahead, and Be More Awesome.

The little things we do every day make a bigger difference than the big things we do once in a while. (tweet this!)

I’ve been making tiny tweaks to my daily routine each month via this thing I call The Sparkle Steps. I even wrote a guide on how to form lasting habits. Taking these baby steps has been the most effective way to conquer the things that annoy me about me. Actually, let’s go with “the most effective way to make me more awesome”. After all, “thinking positivity” is my runner-up strategy.

Let’s talk September habit-building.

My goal: Do more work that makes me feel happy and accomplished.

I want to write and work on this site more often [for you readers you!]. When I founded this site, I posted daily, because I knew that writing and publishing consistently would be the best way to boost my creative energy. Now I post less, but with more content (quality > quantity!), so I’ve lost my daily rhythm. Over this summer, I’ve also faced the challenge of scheduling weeks of posts ahead of time to go on fabulous internet-free adventures. But actually, I got a rush from these hustles to get ahead. Which made me realise…

I want to break out of the bare minimum.

Blogging is not just about posting every day, but about the whole picture. Like making sure everything looks pretty. It’s super fun, and I have paaages of ideas for collaborations, design features, little extras [I’m stilling writing my book]- but they always take second priority to the posts. As they should, I think, but let’s stop putting off the extra credit and start earning those internal gold stars!

But hey, this isn’t just about me! Listen up.

My passion is this page. These words, the cutesy starry background, all of it. But if you’re Billy Elliot, do the same with ballet. [Tangent: if you’re looking for some motivation, I recommend the West End’s Billy Elliot]. We all have those extra things we want to do – ugh – if we had time. Well, time to make time or spring will turn to fall in just no time at all! [Um. More Broadway references.].

But seriously. Here’s the secret.

You don’t actually need that much time. If you chip away at something for just five extra minutes each day, that adds up to thirty-five minutes each week of, let’s be honest, something that you weren’t going to do at all. Thirty-five minutes is about the time it takes to watch a TV episode, so what if you watched fewer Gossip Girl reruns and put in that much more extra time? (Okay, self, good point. Guilty.). Time isn’t usually the problem, I find. The problem is saying “I have no time”.

Try this.

Say, “I have time”. You do. Your time is yours, so choose how to use it wisely. The hardest part of most tasks is starting. That first step. So important, and so difficult. Seriously, the time I spend talking myself out of things [like getting out of bed. going for runs. tackling emails.] should be saved up in a piggy bank and spent on getting stuff “I wish I had time for”.

How I figured this out: Confession time.

Right now, for the first time in ten years, I have no responsibilities to school or work. Even in summers I would have at least one Summer Reading book [that I would put off until the last minute because otherwise I would forget what it was about. And because I wanted to read Harry Potter more.]. I went to summer camps [that gave me homework, because yeah okay I’m Hermione]. I volunteered, I worked – there was always someone checking in on me for doing what I was supposed to. Well right now That Person is me. I have 24 hours free each day. Back from my travels, moved into London, what if I considered today my first day of working for myself? Until the end of this month, when my masters degree starts, I am free to Follow My Dreams. And that is the biggest responsibility of all.

Know thyself. Me? I like structured fun.

I probably get this from my mother, who gets stressed out in spas, but I simply cannot enjoy myself if I don’t do something productive first. I cash in my work hours for adventures, made all the sweeter when earned rather than given. [To be clear: I’m talking the currency of time, not money here. Time’s where it’s at.]. Even if I do five minutes of working ahead, I will feel that much more on top of the world when it comes time to stop. And usually, if I do those five minutes, I won’t want to stop for another hour or four.

So here’s to focused fun, to hard work that makes me happy, and to big smiles,

miss xandra bee

P.S. This post was made better by chipping away at it over a few days. Case in point.

P.P.S. Check out my rockin habit-building archive.

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