Author’s Note: This post was written and scheduled before the global pandemic. Obviously our daily tasks are different now. Regardless, the principles of this post remain valid, even if you’re no longer commuting nor waiting through soccer practice.
Ever since I decided to find 10-minute increments here and there to write, I’ve viewed the time in my day differently.
I’d like to suggest that in the area of time management, conscientious writers need to consider the latte factor.
I did not coin the term Latte Factor. It was, however, coined by financial guru David Bach. In his book, The Automatic Millionaire, Bach claims that consumers spend little bits of money here and there, say, buying daily designer drinks.
He claims, and rightfully I think, that these little bits add up. Wise consumers should see that this “money leak” is a problem in the long term. His suggestion is that consumers take active steps to stop those money leaks so that they can save money, perhaps significant amounts.
I’d like to suggest that we do the same with time.
We get only 24 hours in a day and we have to spend it somewhere. This may take some soul searching, but if you are really serious about pursuing your writing dreams, you’re going to have to make time for it.
I am a firm believer in writing in 10-minute increments. Like Bach’s Latte Factor, I believe I can find more time in my day if I look hard for it. Perhaps you can too, if you are willing to ask yourself hard questions.
- Can you lower your expectations for the amount of writing you can do in a day?
2. Can you be brutally honest with yourself about those optional activities that you could eliminate, like PTA or that birthday party this weekend?
3. Can you get rid of time wasters, like mindless television?
4. Can you consider everything that you do, from the time you get out of bed each morning to the time you go to bed at night — where the time could be slipping from you?
5. Can you get up a bit earlier? Or go to bed a bit later without affecting your body’s needs?
6. Can you streamline tasks like meals and chores so that they take less time? Can you plan or prepare meals in advance?
7. Can you delegate to your family members any appropriate tasks, like cleaning, laundry or cooking?
8. Can you organize the clutter so that you don’t waste time looking for things?
9. Can you lower your expectations for holidays, extracurricular activities, or family events so that you can have more time?
10. Can you say “no” to people around who need your time and energy?
If you can write 10 minutes extra a day, every day for a week, that’s 70 extra minutes you can devote to writing this week. That’s 280 minutes more this month. That’s 14,560 minutes, (or 242.66 hours!) that you can write this year!
Our time is valuable and no matter how hard we try to hold on to it, it marches forward. Rather than giving up altogether, just look for those latte factor moments, make a few changes in your schedule and make the most of it writing!