Time: Our Most Valuable Resource

We all have 24 hours in a day. 

“There aren’t enough hours in a day.  I just don’t have enough time.”

One of the biggest complaints I hear from students, family, and friends.  

Time is a tricky beast.  It passes by so slowly when you hate what you’re doing.  It drags on and on and on.   And yet, when we’re doing something fun, creative, engaging, it flies by in the blink of an eye. 

I was thinking back to some of the unfinished projects I have.  (And there are quite a few!)  Why are they unfinished?  At what point did it stop being fun and start to become a drag?

I do realize that sometimes in the middle of a project, I hit a roadblock.  Came up against something I didn’t know how to do, or the project became a complex system with lots of layers.  

Usually there’s a part of the project I dread, so I’ll work on all of the fun aspects of it and leave the crappy bit to the end.  

Fast forward a few years and I’m left with lots of really cool pieces but no finished project.  I now get to decide:  Do I finish the original project, or figure out a new way to put them together that still serves it’s original purpose?

Stephen King talked about “kill your darlings” in his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.  He writes his first draft and then locks it away for months.  When he returns to do  the rewrite, he starts to cut, edit and scrap some of the original work, to make space to polish what’s left. 

It seems harsh looking from an outside perspective, but having done this technique, I must say it’s one of my favourite strategies.  

I get to create like a mad woman, and then leave it alone and move onto something else.  In moments like this, when I go into a reflective state and go back to see what’s unfinished, I have a new admiration for my work, and a fresh perspective.  

So why do people that care about us tend to throw our shortcomings back in our faces?  

I ignore the comments from people that say I never finish anything.  That’s not true.  I do have many incomplete works-in-progress but I also have a huge portfolio and resume of accomplishments.  

I think about how they spend their time and how I spend mine.  I am usually doing all kinds of weird things, sleeping at odd hours and daydreaming of the next big project.  They can recap all of their favourite tv shows, are caught up on all the gossip, current events and are usually scrolling through social media for hours on end. 

I’m not a saint, and I sometimes spend my time that way too. 

I’ll indulge in a Netflix binge when I need to recharge.      I’ll scroll on social media with the intent to escape, when it suddenly hits me.  

There will be a spark of inspiration.  A program or tool advertised to me that solves a problem I’ve been having.  I’ll see something someone’s showing off and I’ll have an idea to create something my student’s could use.  

The difference between me and most other people:  I’ll get off my ass and start taking action!  Make the most of each minute in between commitments, obligations and sleep.  I figure out how to get what I want done.  

While others are complaining about how much time they don’t have, I’m squeezing everything I can into every spare minute to get shit done.  

It’s not always pretty.  It’s not always polished.  Sometimes its cranking out a bunch of first drafts so I can kill the darlings later.  

It’s all good.  

Action leads to more action.  Progress.  Evolving as I go. 

I’d rather get shit done than waste time complaining. 

That’s all I’ve got time for today!

xo Brandi

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