Time is Precious—Are We Investing Wisely?

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We always here that phrase about time. You know the one. “Well, we all have the same 24 hours.” DaVinci, Mozart, Newton, Elvis all had 24 hours.  It’s true. Yet why is it some people seem to make so much of their time and others have little or nothing (or even negative fruits) to show for it?

Today might be an uncomfortable topic, but if it helps any, it makes me uncomfortable too.

I don’t know if any of you are like me. Your attitude is, “Instructions are for SISSIES.” So I pull the pieces out of the box and just intuitively put stuff where it goes. Being an ENFP, we love doing stuff by gut. It’s comfortable…until it’s uncomfortable.

Because when I get to the end and am ready to plug in that lamp-endtable combo? It wobbles. Ah, hell, and there are these extra parts. I just thought they were being sweet and giving me backup screws in case I lost a few in the carpet.

So I have three choices. 1) Deal with/ignore wobbly lamb that leans like the Tower of Pisa 2) take the sucker apart and THIS time read the *rolls eyes * instructions and START OVER 3) PAY someone else to do it.

When we fail to plan we plan to fail, and there will generally be three outcomes:

1. Subpar thing/situation we just deal with and cringe a little every time we see it.

2. Cost us MORE time.

3. Cost us TIME and then MONEY (to buy someone else’s time).

See, if we don’t appreciate time and how it works or doesn’t work, we can leave ourselves open to chance, pain, misery, rework, etc.

Now, there are no right and wrong answers here. Why? Because you aren’t me and I’m not you. We ALL have different lives, challenges, gifts, constraints and past experiences. We all want different things out of life.

Thus today, these are some broad strokes that I hope will help you in writing, but also in ALL areas of life, because we need to be balanced.

Balance

Having any FUN lately?

Having any FUN lately?

I’ve been the person who had a LOT of money. When I was 28 years old, I was in sales and made more money than any twenty-something should make.

But…

I drove an average of 2500 miles a week. I didn’t date, spent no time with family or on my spiritual or physical health and guess what? It cost me my job and nearly my life. I almost died from pneumonia. AND, because I had no friends, no support network, and no close relationships with family, no one was there to think to check on me (and I was too proud to ask).

Thank God for pesky mothers.

I recall lying on the couch unable to breathe and realizing that I’d invested SO MUCH TIME into being “successful” that I could die and the only way someone would know the pneumonia finally beat me would probably be a from neighbor reporting a bad smell to the manager.

Low, low, looooow place to be. But, in retrospect? The best place to be and the greatest gift I was ever given.

Only We Can LIVE Our Dreams

Image with Twig the Fairy

Image with Twig the Fairy

My father was brilliant. He wanted to be a writer, but instead he tried to fit into what family and culture said was “successful.” He died making $8 an hour fixing bicycles. Well, I didn’t want to be a “failure” like my father, so I took a job I hated because it provided the title, the car, the money, and the outward appearances of happiness.

Those of you who’ve read this blog for a while know I won an Air Force scholarship to become a doctor, because I thought it would impress my family. It didn’t. Then, I earned a premiere degree from a top university. Four people attended my graduation and I got a cake from a grocery store. So, I moved on to sales. If I made a LOT of money, surely they’d be proud. They weren’t. Then, I got into LAW SCHOOL.

Wait, do I even want to BE a lawyer?

Good thing for me the Brilliant Law School Plan came after the Near Death Experience with pneumonia. I wanted to be a writer, had known it since I was four, but I had to make others happy, right? I mean, when I said I was a writer they laughed, but if I had a LAW degree, that was writing….right?

And don’t get me wrong, I believe nothing is wasted in God’s economy. As a writer, I have used that three years as a Neuroscience major (the med school thing), and that degree in Political Economy of the Middle East and North Africa (the pre-law thing), and the many hard lessons from sales (namely that I SUCK at it).

But look at all the TIME, MONEY, and REVISION because I wasn’t brave enough to go after MY dream. Other people’s dreams cost us less, but also cost us everything.

Because my father wanted to be a writer and failed, being a writer=FAILURE. I never stopped to think he failed to plan so he planned to fail. Since I was spread all over the map trying to make everyone but me “happy” I had no focus. When it came to my end goal of being a NYTBSA, I had a LOT of lost time to make up for.

We CANNOT Have Everything

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Time is finite. The media will tell us we can have six-pack abs, cook gourmet foods, have a Martha Stewart house, perfect kids and can be everything to everyone all the time.

WRONG.

We MUST choose. If we don’t, we will live the equivalent of the cheap All You Can Eat Buffet. Lots of choices, most that gets tossed away and never really satisfies (and might even make us sick).

When we realize we can’t HAVE everything, we stop trying to DO everything. EVERYTHING is NOTHING.

And this is a lesson some of us will revisit many times. Y’all know I have been battling Shingles. Here’s the deal. We can have the carrot or the stick. I chose the stick…again *head desk*

Hey, it was ORANGE. It fooled me.

In trying to do all the cooking, cleaning, washing, yard work, homeschooling, blogging, writing, traveling, running two businesses and caring for ill and dying family members? Guess what?

I FORGOT the painful lesson I’d learned with pneumonia…so I got a refresher with SHINGLES.

And it has cost me three months of work. I’ve nearly had a nervous breakdown with all the things I couldn’t do, and things I still can’t do. But, when I pan back? This has given me the opportunity to ask:

Just because I can do it, does it mean I should do it?

In trying to repair my relationship with time, I’ve realized (PAINFULLY) that time must jive with reality.

Looking back, there was no way I could keep that pace and it not catch up. But, time is tricky. It’s like taking a toddler to the mall. We MUST keep an eye on it or it WILL get away (and we might not ever find it again).

Priorities Take Priority

Original image via NASA Blueshift courtesy of Flickr Commons

Original image via NASA Blueshift courtesy of Flickr Commons

Catchy😀 . The problem is it is SO easy to mistake the urgent for the important (thank you, Mr. Covey). We wash the dishes, clean out the e-mail, volunteer for crap we don’t even WANT to do to impress people we don’t know or even like or are just too chicken to say no…and priorities take the hit.

Priorities will also shift over time…especially if you are hardheaded and been dumb like me. Since I DID NOT make rest a priority? Guess what I got to do THREE MIND-WRECKING months of? Sleep. Trust me. It is no trick for a workaholic to work more. Make them take a nap and wait for the weeping sounds.

Thus, I’ve gone back to my original list of priorities:

My Spirit—For me? I try to start every day with God. I love Andy Stanley, Joyce Meyer, and Craig Groeschel the most. I listen to their lessons while I’m waking up and getting caffeine in my system. I believe God will give me back the time I spend getting spiritually centered. I also take at least ONE FULL day off a week. Resting is now a HUGE priority.

Refreshing our souls is vital, especially creative people. Whether it is a walk, meditation, yoga, reading, or however you get spiritually grounded, ALL things spring from our well. Is our well refreshed and flowing? Or is it stagnant, stinky and floating with bugs?

My Family—My husband takes priority because the best thing for Spawn is to feel safe. Mommy and Daddy in love, working as a team is the best investment in his future. Also, I am enjoying the little boy Spawn is. I can have an aneurism over the 9 zillion Army men on the floor or that he’s sprinkled Chex like fairy dust through the house…or I can enjoy him being little. He will only be FIVE once.

My Writing—Self-explanatory. Yep, laundry needs to be done…after I make a certain word count. My mantra these days?

IT CAN WAIT. If an item isn’t in the first three of YOUR priorities? Odds are, it can wait. It’s urgent masquerading as important😉 .

My legs went to sleep an hour ago...

My legs went to sleep an hour ago…

Everything in our lives, our relationship with time, should ideally come after the first three. Writing is not my hobby, my “thing”, my fun. It is fun, but it’s my JOB. If my JOB takes over my spirit and family, bad things happen. If other “priorities” like a perfect yard, crocheting, volunteering, helping others with “their lives” creep into that top three? Time to revisit and recenter.

Time is finite, which means focus is vital. You matter. Your dreams matter. Thing is, only YOU can make them a priority. So take some time and invest in YOU. Brainstorm all the things you want then circle the top three and THAT is where I’d consider placing energy and time.

What are your thoughts? Do you feel like too little butter scraped over too much bread? Is it hard to say no? Have you lost your center and don’t even know what you want? Have you defined your priorities or are you letting others command the agenda? Do you lose too much time in helping others at the expense of YOU? Have you been through burnout? What did you do? Are you there now? Have you kept the same priorities out of habit and not thought about revising the plan? Have you ever gotten SO off-track you made yourself ill? Are you now more vigilant?

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of DECEMBER, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE, pick up a copy of my latest social media/branding book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World on AMAZON, iBooks, or Nook

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  1. #1 by Normandie Fischer (@WritingOnBoard) on December 8, 2014 - 12:41 pm

    Powerful post on priorities, Kristen. How much time we waste before we figure this out–or at least, how much time I wasted.

  2. #2 by pattynicnac on December 8, 2014 - 12:48 pm

    In my twenties, at a Community Organizing Seminar, I was told: “not everything is worth doing, and not everything worth doing is worth doing well.” This has been my mantra for years. It sure relieved me of a lot of guilt over not being able to do everything I felt I “should” be doing, and doing everything excellently!

  3. #3 by Jackie Vick on December 8, 2014 - 12:50 pm

    I thought because volunteering at my parish was a GOOD thing, then I should keep piling it on. It took a year (or two) but I’ve gotten to the place where I don’t say yes to everything and realize that just because I CAN do it doesn’t mean I SHOULD.

  4. #4 by kvictoriasmith on December 8, 2014 - 12:51 pm

    A very timely reminder. I can feel the burnout building. Just told someone today, I need to park myself on a beach, even if it is only a mental beach.

  5. #5 by Trey Willis on December 8, 2014 - 12:58 pm

    Priorities are the only thing that keeps us (and by that, I absolutely mean ‘me’) from working ourselves to death and never sleeping and finding just one more thing to do before relaxing. Having a child made my wife and I slow down and really think about how important our time was and where it is best spent.

  6. #6 by suesconsideredtrifles on December 8, 2014 - 1:02 pm

    I agree that God doesn’t waste our experiences and rest is included in the grand scheme of things – in the 10 commandments for a start. I’m not good at resting either. Sue

  7. #7 by Suzanne Lucero (@S_Lucero) on December 8, 2014 - 1:03 pm

    Now I understand why you decided to not go with the extra blog posts. It’s like the safety spiel the airlines give: If you are flying with small children and the oxygen masks drop in front of you, secure your mask properly first, BEFORE you help the children.

    Take care of yourself, Kristen, so eventually you’ll be able to help us again … although your posts have been doing an excellent job so far.

    • #8 by Author Kristen Lamb on December 8, 2014 - 1:08 pm

      I haven’t been able to stay completely away. You guys are my happy place and happy people heal faster😀 . ((HUGS))

  8. #9 by Jessica White on December 8, 2014 - 1:13 pm

    Loved this post Kristen. It falls right in line with what God is doing in my life. Praying my season of resting is over mid-January. Need to finish reading your book, too. I put it down for NaNo, just when I was starting to write down what I needed to focus on. I started working on my 2015 Writing Plan which has morphed into not just the writing aspect, but the learning, marketing, platform building. I think it will end up my 5 year plan once I space everything out to a reasonable expectation level.

  9. #10 by shopheirs on December 8, 2014 - 1:15 pm

    I enjoyed this post. Great food for thought about prioritizing time.

  10. #11 by kirizar on December 8, 2014 - 1:15 pm

    It’s as though you’ve been eavesdropping on my life. I so needed this reminder. Thank you.

  11. #12 by creaturefromtheblogoon on December 8, 2014 - 1:16 pm

    It’s like you read my mind with this post! Even if you can get over learning to say no to other people, it’s hard to balance the pressure you put on yourself with what you can realistically do.

  12. #13 by tammyjpalmer on December 8, 2014 - 1:20 pm

    I’m kind of obsessed with ‘me time’ which is mostly writing time. I guard it fiercely, and then feel guilty for all the things I don’t do, like volunteer, go into work when they call, and spend more time with extended family. But no one else is going to write my stories! Hope you’re feeling better Kristen and thanks for a great post!

    • #14 by Kylie Betzner on December 8, 2014 - 4:30 pm

      Oh my gosh! I am the same way. Me-time is precious and others are always trying to take it from you. Though, probably should go to work. Haha! But yeah, I don’t feel guilty at all when I turn down invites from friends. They don’t help pay my bills, nor do they entertain me as much as writing:)

  13. #15 by olganm on December 8, 2014 - 1:30 pm

    Thanks Kirsten. It’s easy to get trapped on other people’s (and our own) expectations. It’s true. I remember the first time I left the job I was doing to go back to university and study something I wanted to study people asked me why was I leaving when I was “so good” at that job. I wasn’t leaving because I couldn’t do the job but because I wanted other things…But sometimes we forget.

  14. #16 by sharonhughson on December 8, 2014 - 1:34 pm

    This year has taught me that the WAY I prioritize family may need some revamping. I have poured all my time into my husband and (now adult) sons, and didn’t value either my mother or grandmother, until they passed on to glory and weren’t available for a chat or hug. Now, am I doing the same with my only sister?
    Writing is more than my job, but it is my job. Because I love it, it’s easier to give it more weight on the “to do” list than it really merits. After all, it can’t love me, hug me, go shopping with me or sing Christmas carols alongside the family.
    We always need to reevaluate our priorities. Some seasons in life need different priorities. My sons don’t need as much of me now as they did when they were five or ten or thirteen (although would never have admitted they needed me then).
    Take care of you, Kristen, because us noobie writers need your guiding light.

  15. #17 by Catherine Brockette on December 8, 2014 - 2:36 pm

    Hi Kristen – this blog really hit home for me. I am a “do-er,” which means I end up doing a lot for others. Some things I like, others, not so much. Usually (and sadly), writing and some other dreams and goals get pushed onto the backburner. Why? Sometimes it is procrastination, sometimes it is just easier to fill up life rather than take a step toward reaching that goal. Usually I end up agitated and angry. And yes, much like your wake up calls, I have had a number of taps on the shoulder as well. At any rate – thanks for posting this. It is a great time of year to re-evaluate life, goals, and priorities.

  16. #18 by Clara Bush on December 8, 2014 - 2:41 pm

    You made me cry. And then you made me think. Thank you.

  17. #19 by Brittany Boyce on December 8, 2014 - 2:41 pm

    The perfectness of the timing of me reading this blog: Devine!

    Thank you for this reminder!

  18. #20 by Brittany Boyce on December 8, 2014 - 2:43 pm

    Reblogged this on To Write With a Broken Pencil is Pointless and commented:
    When I hit a rough patch in my life I tend to go a reading spree – as luck (divine intervention) would have it I of course read this blog first. Perfect. And exactly what I needed, a reminder that it’s all about balance – what works for me and not what society says I should want/need/do. Or what my boss says.

  19. #21 by lylenicholson on December 8, 2014 - 2:48 pm

    Hi Kristen, you are so right about priorities. If we start in the right place, like with Meditation in the morning before we start our day, then we start off on…let’s say on the right breath, instead of on the right foot.

  20. #22 by impossiblebebong on December 8, 2014 - 2:49 pm

    What are your thoughts? Do you feel like too little butter scraped over too much bread? Is it hard to say no? Have you lost your center and don’t even know what you want? Have you defined your priorities or “are you letting others command the agenda? Do you lose too much time in helping others at the expense of YOU? Have you been through burnout? What did you do? Are you there now? Have you kept the same priorities out of habit and not thought about revising the plan? Have you ever gotten SO off-track you made yourself ill? Are you now more vigilant?”

    I am now busy climbing out of the pit and trying for the first time to live for me and myself. I am not there yet since I cannot undone in one day (so to speak) the damaged that have been done these last 30 years. Since my mother died last year I came to realized that I studied, got a job, married and lived for my family all these years. It took me this long to understand all of that. But better late than never. I am now on the right track and hopefully manage to stay there.

    I am INTJ by the way🙂

  21. #23 by TLJeffcoat on December 8, 2014 - 3:37 pm

    This is what I needed to hear today. I’ve piled so much in front of my writing time that it seems like I’m getting no where at all. Time to just walk away from some things. Even if it makes me a selfish jerk in some eyes.

  22. #24 by Adam Collings on December 8, 2014 - 3:51 pm

    Powerful article. Thank you for sharing your journey so openly.
    My biggest struggle is balancing my day job (which sucks a lot of mental energy out of me) with my writing. I’m taking the whole of January as long service leave so I can 1) rest, 2) have some fun with my family, 3) Get serious about my writing.

    I’ve put together a little time sheet to encourage me to write a little every day.
    Now I’m off to write a short scene before work🙂

  23. #25 by Kit Dunsmore on December 8, 2014 - 3:56 pm

    Awesome post! I think about these issues a lot. On a day where I feel like I really fell down, I look back and ask “Did I write today?” If not, I squeeze it in before the day is over. I always feel better knowing that I paid attention to my dream, even if it was only for a few minutes.

  24. #26 by HA O'Connor on December 8, 2014 - 4:08 pm

    Thank you, Kristen, for being so inspiring once again! Your blog post couldn’t have come at a better time for me (and many other people, it seems). I, too, find myself piling chores and activities in front of my writing. For me, since I haven’t yet begun to earn much from my stories or poems, it feels like time spent at the keyboard is an indulgence, rather than a step in the direction I’ve long wanted to go. I actually made a point of sharing your blog with my husband today, not because he isn’t supportive, but more to help him see how important his support is to me. Thank you for putting things in perspective! I wish you much success in your writing and in maintaining a balance that works well for your life.

  25. #27 by Kylie Betzner on December 8, 2014 - 4:28 pm

    Great article. After my mom and sister, writing is my priority. I wish I could replace my full-time job with writing. I work towards that goal as though it is possible. I don’t date or spend much time with friends because time is precious and I want to be a writer who puts out one great book a year. I’d rather be a successful author than have social time.

  26. #28 by Susan P on December 8, 2014 - 4:56 pm

    I asked myself that recently, and have been trying to be more aware of it.

  27. #29 by conniecockrell on December 8, 2014 - 5:08 pm

    It does, once in awhile, take a huge swat up side the head for me to take a breath and say “no” once in awhile. Hope you’re feeling better.

  28. #30 by EDW on December 8, 2014 - 5:26 pm

    I appreciate your vulnerability in this post! Hope you feel better soon.

  29. #31 by Kerry Gans on December 8, 2014 - 5:27 pm

    Great reminder, Kristen. I have spent so much time beating myself up over what I’m NOT getting done. But suddenly I realized I had to stop doing that because I’m not getting everything done because I CAN’T. It’s not lack of willpower or drive, it’s that I’m trying to do too much. So I did just what you did–sat back and looked at what I HAD to do, and set some priorities. I’m hoping that leads to less self-beating and more peace.

  30. #32 by Deborah Makarios on December 8, 2014 - 6:08 pm

    There are more important things in life than housework – the Bible says so! Seriously! Luke 11: 38-42😀
    That said, my plan for today is to putter around catching up on what I left undone in last week’s sprint to The End of my first draft. But having a goal in mind makes putter better🙂

  31. #33 by sarasallydavis on December 8, 2014 - 6:49 pm

    If we’re lucky, we learn to know ourselves, who we are, what we want, what we need. And we learn to tweak all these as we grow and change over time, learning from mistaken beliefs and choices. Your piece shows such insight and wisdom. Take care.
    Sally

  32. #34 by Liz Matis on December 8, 2014 - 6:55 pm

    You’ll never get the time back with the little one! You are right to enjoy each moment!

  33. #35 by Mary Jo on December 8, 2014 - 7:40 pm

    Just what I needed to hear in your article! Spirit, family and ___ make the world go round. There’s a blank there because sometimes writing yields to other things like, for example, laundry right now.

  34. #36 by Lynda Jo on December 8, 2014 - 9:01 pm

    Beautiful priorities and a great reminder that we need to STOP and think about our priorities, then revisit them often to make sure we are on the right track for ourselves -not for someone outside that self.

  35. #37 by Mike Fuller Author on December 8, 2014 - 9:08 pm

    No one can guarantee you tomorrow. Someone smart said that and some smart a$$ borrowed it. But it’s true. I caved and started following assembly directions at 2:30 AM Christmas eve 1983. It was in the living room amid a pile of parts and pieces of stove, refrigerator and kitchen sink Strawberry Shortcake furniture. If I was going to get any sleep I had to put tab A into Slot B and secure with the 1 1/2″ screw and nut. My daughter was giddy with joy the next morning and Daddy got a nap after breakfast.

    Now I put together a lot less fake furniture and have the luxury to devote a part of each day to my writing. But I’m retired and can screw off if I want to. It took nearly forty years to get here and I damn sure intend to enjoy every hour of every day. There are a lot fewer tomorrows and I have much to do. It’s OK, I’ll leave a list of things I didn’t get done and someone else can figure out who gets stuck doing it.

  36. #38 by ashokbhatia on December 8, 2014 - 9:32 pm

    So very apt. The challenge is that of controlling our mind, thoughts and ambitions. Thoughts go at the speed of light; execution follows a different logic. Prioritizing is the key.
    Even at the risk of digressing, allow me to share this post with you:
    https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/12/08/bertie-social-media-and-blogging-blues

  37. #39 by alicamckennajohnson on December 8, 2014 - 9:54 pm

    Great post and much hugs! I always feel spread too thin between my paying job, my family, writing, and sleeping-showering-eating-cleaning and the occasion trip tot eh gym so I don’t turn into jabba the hut. I am very very picky with my time, and do my best to keep as organized as possible on the things that matter. The rest I let go of.
    I think that’s why the holiday’s drive me nuts, there is SO MUCH extra stuff to do!!!

  38. #40 by Nin Ashmore on December 8, 2014 - 10:05 pm

    Kristen, bless your heart! Shingles are the pits, I too had that nasty malady. I’m glad though it helped you to make some vital adjustments. Your son and hubby need you well. You need you well! Life is too short to not make life changing priorities.
    As for me, time alone with the Lord is imperative. Jesus had to come “apart,” from the crowds to renew His spirit. I don’t make it well for long without this priority. I’m blessed to live near the ocean. I love to go there and “renew.”
    Thank you for this timely post. You are so real, so open, so vulnerable. Please don’t forget what you learned. Rest as needed. Keep loving hubby and baby. Charity begins at home.

  39. #41 by ontyrepassages on December 8, 2014 - 10:12 pm

    I dearly hope that your health continues to improve, and you’re right to set the priorities you have. It’s amazing how often we sometimes must learn these same lessons. In October I yet again allowed myself to become overwhelmed, burned out, and lost. That tumbled me into the dark place where depression was waiting with its sick smile to welcome me back. Climbing back out, again, is a struggle, but I’m improving. My best to you and many thanks for all you’ve done.

  40. #42 by Jess Witkins on December 8, 2014 - 10:14 pm

    I LOVED this post Kristen! It was very timely (pun intended) for me. The holidays has me muddled in all sorts of issues that seem urgent, but aren’t all that important. I love your straight up style to set me back on course with a plan of action that is real and better for me in the long run. Thank you!!!

  41. #43 by saralitchfield on December 8, 2014 - 11:58 pm

    I like the idea of burning it down to 3 priorities. And the phrase ‘too little butter scraped over too much bread’ rings true. I’ve cut out a whole bunch of time-suck, but I’m struggling through a breakup and trying and trying to make it through a barrier of feeling broken. Some things take the time they take. I’ve had shingles and understand your pain – I hope you’re completely better soon. Know that the time you put in here make people do better and feel better themselves.

  42. #44 by a gray on December 9, 2014 - 2:02 am

    Thank you.

  43. #45 by The Dedicated Vet on December 9, 2014 - 2:55 am

    Well said Kristen. I have recently been through a hectic couple of years and that is where i am at too. I have sold my vet clinic, am staying at home to look after my two boys and trying to write the novel i have been working on for years. Life is too short, dreams are too fragile – no one can help you but you. My dad too had dreams that crashed and burned and i think he also failed to plan.
    SPIRIT/FAMILY/WRITING – love it!

  44. #46 by crazyhon on December 9, 2014 - 3:05 am

    It’s all about priorities.

  45. #47 by Abi on December 9, 2014 - 6:02 am

    Thanks Kristen for this great post. It has ministered to me and I will remember these words of wisdom you have planted in my heart. I wish you a full recovery…. please keep getting the rest you need!

  46. #48 by Rachel Thompson on December 9, 2014 - 9:56 am

    I have a similar story. Poor family, creative parents on a tread mill pushing me away from the arts. I stayed artsy in a side long way, and, I loved my 35 years in construction management until panic attacks and nervous breakdowns forced me out. I was good at it, but sucked at the money-is-everything part. It took crashing a motorcycle, getting run over by a truck, and set on fire to get serious about writing. For my writing’s end, I even gave up painting and drawing. I still play guitar but more for a mental break than anything else. Yes, we can’t do it all. So I firmly glued all my eggs into the writer’s basket. I barely see family anymore, and thankfully being atheist frees my Sundays to write.

  47. #49 by Glynis Jolly on December 9, 2014 - 11:03 am

    My most current post is about this too. I have 6 goals I want to shoot for in the new year. I know you are saying 3 is plenty, but I feel that my 6 are worthy on notice for me.

    With that said though, I do think many people misunderstand what prioritizing is all about. And some have it in their heads that they just must be the best at all that they do, which complicates their problem.

  48. #50 by Ahren on December 9, 2014 - 1:27 pm

    Love the post! I’m in the middle of figuring out what my priorities are. Splitting my time between a few different loves gives me that rushed, overwhelmed feeling that causes anxiety and little sleep. But which one to cut out? Which loved one do I let fall down the mountain to save the other? It’s not an easy choice.

  49. #51 by Christy Engelhart on December 9, 2014 - 3:07 pm

    I really enjoyed this post! It is definitely an area that I am working on myself. Sometime it feels like I’m too busy to even sit down and figure out what those “most important” things are. But I know it will be so worth it! And I certainly don’t want a case of the shingles to help force me into that process! Feel better and thanks for your words.🙂

  50. #52 by Daniel Waltz on December 9, 2014 - 3:23 pm

    Reblogged this on daniel waltz and commented:
    Time is the unseen element that drives us all crazy at some point.

  51. #53 by Daniel Waltz on December 9, 2014 - 3:29 pm

    I truly have a hard time with never being good enough. Although I’ll argue it, because I don’t think I do enough, I probably have a pretty good case of being a workaholic. We do only have 24 hours a day, and my agenda is always expanding. As a result, if I’m being honest, I cut out things like relaxing, rest, taking moments to sit, and so on in order to work. I just want to do well and do what I love, but at times the same ambition that drives me is the one that constantly reminds me.

    Thanks for the post. Working on it.

    – Daniel Waltz

    Author of The Water Travelers series

    http://www.amazon.com/Water-Travelers-Heir-Daniel-Waltz-ebook/dp/B00LSSEF18/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1418135446&sr=8-1&keywords=the+water+travelers

    Smashwords: $0.99 (Or FREE sample) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/498708

  52. #54 by nicolovetro on December 9, 2014 - 5:17 pm

    Thank you for your insight. Over the past year as I have opened my own heart centered business, time has become a major focal point. When working for others on their goals and wealth to much time was spent on distractions. Priorities change when you care on an intimate level about what you produce and how ready to produce you are. Thanks again and I hope you get some rest.

  53. #55 by barbarabarbex on December 9, 2014 - 6:55 pm

    Very fitting post as I agonized over time and how I waste it just today. For me, a lot has to do with honesty. I have time, I’m making time for things, just not for my writing. That is a decision and I have to find out why I’m making it.

  54. #56 by barbarabarbex on December 9, 2014 - 6:56 pm

    Reblogged this on The 960 Writers and commented:
    Looks like it’s not only me who wonders about time and writing.

  55. #57 by Linda Koch on December 9, 2014 - 10:04 pm

    Writing, and goals, and learning, and blogs, and social media are all new for me, and though I don’t know you, I instantly like you a lot. This was a very powerful article.

  56. #58 by Joe Richardson on December 10, 2014 - 12:04 am

    Some lessons you have to learn anew each time you need them. Thanks for sharing this one. It’s a lovely, lovely post, and reading it was time well spent.

  57. #59 by carolynrae1 on December 10, 2014 - 10:39 am

    Great article, Kristen. It seemed easier to set priorities when I worked full time. I could write a book a year, and housework got done eventually. Now that I’m retired, I need to reorganize my plan for time because I have so much more available. I still spend at least three hours or more daily on writing, but need to work in e-mail, facebook, and publicity for my new book, Romancing the Gold. E-mail and facebook can gobble up plenty of time, so I need to do other things first, including more exercise and enjoyment of museums. I probably could work in time for playing the piano and painting as well. You have challenged me to make new plans, but now I need to get back to writing my next book. Carolyn Rae Williamson, writing as Carolyn Rae

  58. #60 by Michelle R. Eastman on December 10, 2014 - 11:19 am

    I can always count on the massive (not quite John Merrick category, but close) cold-sore that erupts any time the butter runs low!

  59. #61 by Michelle Morrison on December 10, 2014 - 2:25 pm

    This is a powerful post about the importance of priorities and not spending a lot of time and energy trying to please other people. Life is a series of choices and learning experiences. I’m sorry you’ve had so much trouble with shingles and hope you’re completely better soon.

  60. #62 by Laurie Logan on December 11, 2014 - 11:03 am

    I’ve been thinking about this topic for awhile now, I waste a lot of time doing little things and then stress myself out trying to get the big stuff done. Even knowing that about myself, I found it overwhelming knowing where to start to fix the problem. I found a great book on Amazon called EAT THAT FROG by Brian Tracy, (I first got it at the library but liked it so much I purchased my own copy). The premise is based on the Mark Twain quote:

    If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.
    Mark Twain

    I like the exercises in the book, they help the person that needs more direction… like me.😀

  61. #63 by ~▲Grim Reaper Servant Pierot23▲~ on December 11, 2014 - 1:22 pm

    Reblogged this on News And Secrets and commented:
    This is Really True!

  62. #64 by i8there4irun on December 11, 2014 - 6:09 pm

    This article really resonated for and within me. I appreciate your humor in your situation- but I recognize the terror in failing at a “dream”. I am just now starting to take those first baby steps back to writing- and am petrified at the thought of failure. But, if I don’t start walking I will always be in the same place, right?

  63. #65 by Lily Herewith on December 11, 2014 - 9:50 pm

    This is very true. I’ve had trouble with priorities, and then I had a week when I could only do two things in my free time because I didn’t have time to do anything else. The reason I could only do two things? I Had Put Both Of Them Off, and they both took a lot of time. This Christmas, I’m going to stick to a word count, designated Christmas-present time, and enjoying myself with family.

  64. #66 by Cat Lumb on December 12, 2014 - 9:40 am

    I totally agree! I was one of those ‘has to have it all to be successful’ people and it cost me my health. I now suffer with ME/CFS and am still struggling to get a balance that allows me to live within the challenges presented by this illness.
    However, I had the same revelation as you when I got ill – I wanted to be a writer and so now I am. I even wrote blog post along the same lines as the one you have here, called ‘The long winding road of how to be a writer’ – http://catlumb.com/2012/11/08/the-long-winding-road-of-how-to-be-a-writer/

    It took me too long to realise: if it’s important to you, it’s important!

    Great post!

  65. #67 by Lynn Reynolds on December 12, 2014 - 1:46 pm

    Definitely a problem I keep having. Over and over again. In fact, I just about gave myself an ulcer (not an exaggeration) earlier this year when I took what I thought would be my “dream job,” because it involved writing and lots of money.

    After six months of writing 25-page-long lists of tweets on brand strategy and 30-page reports analyzing topics like Big Data and the Internet of Things, I realized not ALL writing is ENJOYABLE writing. And the more it pays, the more dispiriting it seems to be. Back to freelancing and fiction and feeling much healthier now, despite the reduced income. Interestingly, though, the experience led me to attack freelancing and fiction with renewed vigor, so I’m not nearly as broke as I thought I’d be.

  66. #68 by Lynn Reynolds on December 12, 2014 - 1:47 pm

    Reblogged this on Lynn Reynolds – Author and commented:
    Words of wisdom during this hectic holiday season from the very talented Kristen Lamb. Remember what really matters. And it’s not who can buy the most toys or do the most stuff…

  67. #69 by Michelle Morrison on December 12, 2014 - 2:55 pm

    Reblogged this on mchllmdm and commented:
    Some good thoughts….And this lady has a wonderful sense of humor.

  68. #70 by Raani York on December 13, 2014 - 2:16 pm

    I just love your posts, Kristen.
    And no, when I’m tired I won’t be able to write anything that really still makes sense the next day. I therefore prefer to take my time and write when I’m relaxed but awake and I’m not in a hurry or pressure.🙂

  69. #71 by David N. Alderman on December 15, 2014 - 5:05 pm

    Great post, Kristen. I never tire of being reminded the writing is my career, not just my hobby anymore. I watch my son during the day while my wife is at work and I work on my writing projects while he is on nap and in the evenings, and some days I am just worn out from juggling both. But, writing is my career, so I have to treat it as such and do it even if I don’t ‘feel’ like doing it. And it needs to be a priority. My priority list looks identical to yours – God, Family, Writing. I think I need to work a bit harder to make sure Writing is in the third place there and not the twentieth.

  70. #72 by Greg on December 16, 2014 - 5:02 pm

    Kristen, I am finding much of myself living within you writings. You have me pegged in the reflection of your writing. I am trying to find the strength to re-prioritize what my needs are while I overcome my fears that my writing is not good enough to be a priority. Thank you for this blog. I look forward to more.

    • #73 by Author Kristen Lamb on December 16, 2014 - 9:16 pm

      Hon, we all share a similar life and a LOT of the same struggles. I am just honest enough to lay mine bare, and have no sense of shame…which is why I am not allowed in public much😀

  71. #74 by M T McGuire on December 17, 2014 - 5:25 pm

    Great post. I’ve had shingles so I sympathise. I think I had mine instead of a nervous break down.😉

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