“Someday, when I’ve got the time…”

Have you ever said that to yourself? Most of us are great at putting off what we really want to do for someday. When life is less busy, when we “have the time”, when we’ve reached a certain level of income or success.

But the truth is, someday always seems to stay in the near future. We can never quite make it … and we never quite get started following our passions and doing what we really want with our lives.

If you’re truly passionate about something, you need to get started now. It doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and go for it full-time. It doesn’t mean you need to neglect your family and responsibilities, and it doesn’t mean you need to become an expert overnight. But if you’re truly passionate, you need to carve out some regular time to do what you love.

The key in following your passion is consistency. You need to decide that you’re going to take action, and then take a small step forward on a regular basis. Maybe you’ve always wanted to play the piano. You don’t need to buy a grand piano and play 8 hours per day. Why not start by reading a book about playing the piano? Listening to recordings of expert pianists. Ask a friend to show you the basics. Buy a keyboard and play for 15 minutes every morning. It’s these small steps, done regularly, which will add up to huge results.

The most common excuse I hear about not following our dreams, is that we just don’t have the time. Here are 7 tips to help you make the time to follow your passion.

Start with a schedule reality-check.

If your days feel completely full and you can’t imagine finding any time to follow your passion, it’s time for a schedule reality-check.

For 3 days, carry a little notebook with you (or use the notepad on your phone) and every 30 minutes, just make a note of what you’re doing.

You’ll probably uncover a few gaps of ‘hidden’ time. Have you ever ‘quickly checked’ Facebook and found yourself surfing aimlessly 30 minutes later? What about watching a few minutes of TV that turns into a couple of hours? These are little chunks of time that can be used to work on your passion.

Learn to say no.

A completely full schedule can make you feel stuck and unable to follow your dreams. But do you really need to do everything in your schedule? We often take on commitments that we don’t really need to do, and we continue to do them out of habit or guilt. Look back over your schedule from the past month. What items are you really excited about doing and love to do? Those can stay. Everything else should be scrutinized. Do you really have to do this task or can it be delegated? Is there someone who would enjoy that responsibility, or who could do it better than you could? Can you hire someone to do it for you? Is there a way you can do it faster, ask for help, or do it less often? Eliminating even one or two unnecessary activities per month can free up time to follow your passion.

Join a class.

If you haven’t made it a priority to follow your passion before, you might find it hard to stick to your new goal. That’s where a class can be so useful. If you sign up for a class in your interest area, you’re more likely to attend on a regular basis because you’ve committed to a series, and there are other people going through it with you. Plus, you’ll meet other people who share your interests, which can encourage you to keep going long-term. And that leads us to…

Find a Buddy.

It’s easier to stick with a new habit or goal when you’re not alone. Finding a friend who is also interested in the same subject (or even one who has decided to make time to follow their own dreams and goals) can help you stick with it. You can meet up once a week to do an activity together, or even just have a phone call or a coffee to talk about how it’s going for you – and help each other stick to your goals of making time for your passion!

Maximize your between times.

Waiting at the doctor’s office. Standing in line at the grocery store. Waiting to meet a friend for coffee. There are lots of small bits of ‘between time’ in your day that you can put to use taking action on your passion. You might bookmark sites in your interest area to read during these down times, or a carry a related book that you can read, or even keep a notebook with you to do some planning in these between-times.

Ask for help.

This is a tough one for many of us, but you don’t have to do everything alone. If you’re really serious about following your passion, you need to tell you friends and family about it, and ask them to support you. They might volunteer to babysit so you have a couple of hours to study. Maybe your husband or wife could do the grocery shopping (or another chore) so you have time to work on your passion (and you can return the favor for them later). Telling your family and friends will also open up more connections who share your interests. You’ll never know who they could introduce you to!

Go slowly.

Some people make dramatic changes overnight and suddenly leap into pursuing their passions full-time. For most of us, our ideal life following our passions unfolds slowly, over time. And that’s OK. This slow and steady approach gives us time to learn and become experts, and to grow into our passion. If your goal is to become a television presenter, and you were offered your dream job tomorrow, how good of a presenter would you be? It’s better to learn, practice, and develop your confidence and skills in your new area of interest, continually moving into your dream life, rather than leaping into it unprepared. It all comes back to consistency. So while it probably feels like your dream life isn’t happening fast enough, try to appreciate the journey and be open to opportunities as they arise.

How do you make time in your busy life to pursue your passion? What has worked the best for you?

 

Featured photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/travisrockphotography/6560696273/ via flickr.com

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