3 Things I Eliminated or Minimized Doing Once I Started Writing Daily
And How My Life Has Improved As a Direct Result
Who we are and become is a direct result of how we spend our time and who we spend it with — that’s no secret. It’s been well documented here on Medium and elsewhere. But making time for the things we care about often involves cutting down on the time we waste on the frivolous. At least if it’s a pursuit you’re serious about or a craft you truly intend on mastering or significantly improving at.
If you’re an aspiring writer who spends two to four hours a day playing video games — I don’t judge but I question how serious you are about writing.
If you spend two to four hours a day playing video games past a certain age, it should be because you’re trying to become a professional gamer.
Before I decided to take writing serious, I wasted a tragic amount of time on things that added little, if any value at all to my life. In fact, it wasn’t until I replaced these time wasting activities with a regular writing habit that I saw how unhappy so many of the things I spent my time doing made me.
Below are the things I’ve given up doing, or at least significantly cut down on since taking up writing everyday and how my life is better for it.
1.) Watching Television in a “Seeing What’s On” Fashion
I have nothing against watching television. But I used to waste an ungodly amount of time, mindlessly channel surfing. Rarely would I even find something worth watching. I often settled for the best offering found in a few minutes time. My time would have been better spent doing just about anything else. Thing is, I sadly didn’t have much better to do with my time.
As I said, today I write instead. I also spend much of the time I once wasted watching shows I didn’t even care for, reading about things I’m interested in. Books that literally improve the quality of my life and expand my ways of thinking, rather than tuning into mindless sports talk shows for hours at a time. Again, I still occasionally watch SportsCenter to catch up on highlights — it’s just in moderation today and writing and reading come first.
I still have a handful of favorite shows I watch but thanks to today’s technology, I do so on my own schedule. It’s controlled television intake, if you will. I love Billions, Better Call Saul, Game of Thrones, Ray Donovan and a handful of Netflix originals as well — just to name a few.
But as I said, with features like DVR and On Demand, I dictate when I watch shows as opposed to vice versa, as it once was. I use technology to help progress towards my goals and make my life as convenient as possible, as opposed to letting it control me and hinder the progress I make towards achieving those goals.
When I sit down in front of the TV, I typically know precisely what I’m going to watch. If I’m browsing Netflix — it’s my way of relaxing after a day of reading, running, writing and working. Put simply, I’d rather read or write than mindlessly browse channels to “see what’s on”. That’s just me though.
This has improved my life in painfully obvious ways. I don’t think many people would try to honestly dispute the fact you have a much better chance of improving the overall quality of your life by reading a book than you do by aimlessly watching television. I once watched excessive amounts of TV to take my mind off the fact I never wrote, as badly as I told myself I wanted to.
2.) Involving Myself in Other People’s Priorities & Drama
Before taking up writing everyday and seriously pursuing it as a means of supporting myself, I was pretty aimless in life. I worked whatever job was offered, accepted whatever pay was given for it and just generally had no real meaningful direction in life.
This resulted in me working a lot of jobs I didn’t care about, spending a tragic amount of my time at the bar and drinking a lot in general and thus being laid off often, out of work frequently and having too much free time on my hands.
As I’ve said, I believe I spent a lot of time trying to take my mind off the fact I wasn’t doing the one thing I genuinely wanted to be doing in life — writing
When I wasn’t spending this free time needlessly involving myself in other peoples nonsense or drama, it was often spent helping them carry out their priorities — or assisting them with their affairs. Listen, I get it. We take help where we can get it. I was often free at the time. So people would ask me to; help them move, watch their kids and their pets and houses, take care of sick family members, fill in for the laborer who didn’t show up to the side job, run to the store with them, run the errand with them — and so on and so forth.
While I try to be there for friends and family in every way possible, I have my own life today. One that involves a lot of reading and writing. I have my own aims, ambitions, priorities and vision for my life, career and future.
With that being said, their priorities are exactly that — their priorities.
I thankfully have my own today. While I’m glad to help out loved ones, their priorities don’t take precedent over mine, on my list of things to do today. Just as I wouldn’t expect any of them to put mine above theirs, on their list.
3.) Anything That Doesn’t Add Value To My Life or Doesn’t Allow Me To Add Value To The Lives of Those Who Matter To Me
Before finally deciding to write everyday and actually following through, I wasted more time than some people are ever even granted on this earth. I threw it away on negative people, what they wanted to do and things that would distract me from how far off track my life had become from the one I wanted. I complained a lot — but didn’t do much to change any of it.
I brought little value to anyone’s table and had no real idea of where I was headed. I didn’t value myself, to be honest. Because I wasn’t being honest with myself or anyone else about what I wanted to be doing. I wanted to write — I just didn’t. For reasons, even I don’t quite understand.
Today, I’m very mindful and conscious of how I spend my time, as well as who I spend it with. I keep the “hanging out” to a minimum, though I still make time for friends and those I care about, obviously. I spend very little time, if any at all, mindlessly scrolling Facebook or social media in general.
Again, I’m okay with it in moderation and have by no stretch of the imagination eliminated social media from my life entirely — it’s just more of a controlled input — as I do with TV. I use it to share and market my writing, rather than needlessly fill my mind with other people’s negativity, drama and nonsense. I don’t have time for your political opinions and gossip — thankfully, I’m too busy writing and pursuing the life I actually want for myself.
Afterword: These are all things probably best to avoid doing or to do at a bare minimum, even if you never write a day in your life.