Do you remember the day you decided to chase hard after the dream God put in your heart? I do. Full of hope and determination, I said yes to God.
It’s probably a good thing I did not know exactly what I was saying yes to. With my nest empty and my husband busy working weekends at his shop, I figured I had plenty of time outside of my work week to build a meaningful and profitable business.
But it wasn’t long before I found that my passion for helping creative women be more effective and productive made me feel ineffective and unproductive. I mean, I must be ineffective and unproductive if I can’t do all the things I see other people doing, right? Surely, I should be able to find an organizational system or colorful planner that will allow me to accomplish in my spare time the same work others do during my 40+ hours on the job.
I know that makes no sense, but that’s the way we think when we are full of hope and determination, isn’t it?
The hard truth is that there isn’t. At least, not for very long and not without sacrificing other important areas of my life.
That doesn’t mean we should quit. It just means we need to be extra intentional about our time. So whether you work full time outside the home or your other job is keeping up with two toddlers or you are a homeschooling hero, here are some tips for making the most of your time when you main dream can’t be your main thing.
Make a plan for each chunk of time
As you look out over your week, identify the chunks of time you will use for your dream-work and what you will do with each chunk. Depending on the tasks you have to do, it may help to batch similar tasks at one time, or you may need to do a little bit of everything each day through the week. With tasks assigned to each chunk of time, you won’t waste time when you sit down to work, trying to figure out what you need to do.
Reserve time for your passion.
As we have all learned, online ministry often feels like more “online” than “ministry.” We spend a lot of time doing things we don’t love. Maybe that’s creating graphics for your blog posts, or scheduling social media, or designing opt-in freebies to grow your email list. In fact, many experts recommend spending only 20% of your time creating content and 80% of your time promoting.
That’s probably true if growth or income are your primary goals. But it is our passion that fills our hope and determination cup. Without that fuel, we’ll burn out quickly. So as you plan out your time for each week, be sure to set aside a dedicated block of time for writing, creating, coaching or whatever it is that sets your soul on fire.
Resist chasing rabbits
When you sit down to work, does it look something like this?
Start loading your blog post into WordPress…
Now you need to create a graphic for the post.
Now you remember you wanted to start using a new font for your graphics. So off you go to Creative Market to find fonts…
And oh, wait! Someone posted a link to a good article about font pairings. I think it was in this Facebook group…
Oh crum! I forgot to finish my share thread comments in this group …..
Every.single.time. Resist chasing those thoughts. With your list of tasks in hand, do the things on the list and NOTHING else! As you think of those things that you “meant” to do, or “wanted” to do, assign them to a time chunk in the future and stay on task with your plan for the day.
Yea, I know …. discipline is sometimes in short supply for creative types. It’s much more fun to follow a whim and seize every new opportunity. But saying yes to your God dream often means saying no to other things. That is where the determination comes in.
When Jeff Goins shares his success story, he tells how he started out by getting up at 5am every morning and writing at least 500 words before going to his day job. That is determination, discipline and dedication.
Saying no may include some things that “everybody” says you need to do. A recent change in my work schedule took out a big block of time for me, so I’ve had to cut back on a lot of social media promotion and Facebook group activities to save time for supporting clients and creating helpful content … the things I’m passionate about … the things God called me to do. And you know what? God has honored those disciplines by opening opportunities I’ve never imagined, that fit my time constraints. Funny how obedience works that way, huh?
Hope and determination will take you a long way. Grit and obedience will get you through some tough days. But only God can take all those things and bring your dream to life.