When I discuss this topic, I think of a great boss I had, John Ladley, who liked to fly airplanes. People always asked him how he found the time and money to do it. He said it was simple. One merely pruned out the things they didn't adore from life in order to focus on one's true passion.
We all have 24 hours in our day. Every one of us. For much of mankind's history a person might be lucky to live to age 25 - we are incredibly blessed in our modern age that we can live, with brain intact and active, to the age of 75 or older. We have far more time available to us than most people in history. If we CHOOSE to spend this time poorly, imagine how those Roman Empire people would think about it. To them, we would be supernatural beings. Surely we can spend SOME of that time on the things we dream about the most.
My niece recently sent around a Facebook image joking that people waste years of their life driving to and from work, and work in jobs they don't like, all to afford a house they barely see. I imagine this is why so many of my friends in high tech have "dropped out" to work from home in jobs they adore. I did this, myself, in 1999 and every day I give thanks for that decision. Life is precious. We have those 24 hours in a day and then they're gone. If we really want to, we can usually rearrange our life, and make different decisions, to focus on what really is a priority.
Many famous writers had full time jobs, families to care for, and historic obligations that had stacked up over time to now feel like "requirements" without an option. Those writers sat down, ruthlessly evaluated each item on their schedule for the week, and then set aside a block of time for their writing. It was as important to them - this time for "their own renewal" - as time for a child's soccer game or a business meeting.
Remember how in airplanes they say to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others with theirs? Your own mental state needs care just as much as other things do. If you become overly stressed and worn down, you can't help others properly. Every hour you spend is less effective. To be fully helpful to others, you must meet your own needs, too.
So, here's the key. For a week, map out what actually happens each day. Don't assume you know - you might be surprised what time sinks exist that you forget about. Then examine the results. See what can be rearranged, consolidated, reassigned, or removed. Block in YOUR chosen time and stand by it. Put up a "do not disturb" sign. Be firm. The more you make this an important part of your normal schedule, the more that others will respect your efforts and support you.
One week at a time, one step at a time, your dreams will become a reality.
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