Time Management

Ten Minutes a Day

I've said for a long time that I wanted to learn guitar. I thought I'd have time to do it when my husband and I lived in a National Park (where there was no internet, tv or cell reception). I certainly had the time, but I didn't dedicate the time. Last month, an event renewed my interest in making this goal happen. I voiced my interest to my dad, a musician, and within a few weeks, he turned up at my door with a guitar he'd bought for me. 

That evening, I kept in mind that I'd pick up the guitar and start learning as soon as I finished making dinner . . . as soon as dinner was cleaned up . . . as soon as I'd put my daughter to bed. And you can probably guess, I never got around to playing that evening. The time in the evenings is just too tight. 

So what did I do? I brought the guitar to work with me the next day and just pulled it out for ten minutes during my lunch break. I only practice about ten minutes a day, and only on week days, but it's beginning to pay off (thanks to YouTube tutorials and encouragement from my patient coworkers). 

So how does this relate to getting funded? If you wait until you HAVE the time to work on researching or preparing your application, it's never going to get done. You have a leg up in that you don't need to buy the instrument to get started. You already have what you need! So find that ten minutes in your day that you can use to make an investment in yourself. 

When Less (time) is More

Have you ever found that when you have a small amount of time to get something done, you're more motivated? This is certainly how it works for me. I used to block off whole days to get assignments done or designate a whole weekend to cleaning out the shed. But really, when I am pressed for time, I'm more efficient. 

When I was writing my book, Funded!, I gave myself half an hour to write every day. Within that half hour, I aimed to get 500 words written, but if I didn't get exactly that amount, I wouldn't fret. The next day, I would come back and do the same. Had I given myself an hour (or two) to do the same task, I would have sat there not working for half the time and then at the last minute, cranked out the daily limit. 

As my mom says, nothing would get done if there weren't deadlines. And it's true. So if you're looking for time to work on an application (or do the research for your perfect fellowship), give yourself a strict time limit. Designate twenty minutes a day, or use the twenty minutes between tasks to fit in some valuable fellowship time. Giving yourself all day to do this, or worse yet, waiting until you have a whole day free, will get you nowhere. Start today and take just a few minutes to get the ball rolling. Tell me how it goes!