The alarm goes off at 5:15 AM, and my cat is the first one up, trotting up and down the duvet until I swing my legs over the bed and my feet hit the carpet. I stretch and get up to turn on the Keurig, my first priority and one true love.
After washing my face, making coffee and breakfast, doing my makeup, double checking everything I need is packed in my leather backpack, I’m rushing out the door to catch my 6:52 bus that meets me a block over. And the day begins.
Office by 8:30, work until 5:30/5:45 (if I’m lucky), bus by 6:15 (if it leaves on time), home by 7:45/8 (if I’m lucky). Gym, eat, shower, attempt to give myself an hour of downtime–YouTube, Netflix show, face mask, stretch, read. Bed. Repeat for the next 4/5 days (unless I work from home on Friday, which cuts this strict routine down a bit).
It. Is. Exhausting. I love it, but I’m more tired than I’ve ever been before in life (and I don’t even have kids yet – parents, how do you do it all?!). I sometimes (eh, most of the time) completely forget about my personal dreams outside of work and instead, in that spare time, obsess about my monetary goals of eventually owning property, paying off my credit card and student loan debt, and putting aside money for trip destinations/vacations I need in order to recharge.
But I do still have my own personal dreams. I want to write a book that makes a difference in someone’s life, something that sticks with them and resonates deeply. Even if that published work is the fictional story I’ve daydreamed in my head over the last few years, besides my standard nonfiction essays/short stories I’m more comfortable writing, I want that to be able to evoke a strong emotion from my audience. I want to write something so beautiful, and it become well-known enough that I can adapt it into the film. A visual connection.
I want to start filming shorts, putting them on YouTube, add more photography to this blog, build up this blog, and really just have a creative outlet where I can connect with people. I want to bring back the color in my life, have a little creative corner for myself that brings light in when the world seems cruel or mundane.
But in reality, I think these things, maybe stick to it for a week, and fall back into my routine where I’m not giving enough (or any) time to my dreams. I’m not prioritizing them. And I need to. So what do I do? What do I recommend to prioritize your dreams?
Create a Motivational Work Space – I don’t have a proper space in my home where I can sit down and really get lost in work. As I’m writing this blog post I’m sitting on my couch and I’m uncomfortable and getting frustrated. So I need to create a motivational work space. This space can be different for everyone, depending on comforts that you have, the dreams you’re chasing, and what you have available to you. Me, I have an empty corner in my living room I’ve never quite known what to do with. Wayfair and IKEA are about to be my best friends.
Create a Dream Schedule (Forgiving-ly) – if I don’t have it scheduled, I won’t do it. I am not someone who will just randomly pick up my laptop and write and write–well, that’s kind of a lie, but it’s rare after my busy days that I will. However, I’m also super resistant to making my writing and dreams become something that I dread. So that’s why I say schedule the time forgiving-ly. Tell yourself you want to dedicate 2-4 hours (or whatever you feel you need – more or less) towards your dreams a week and try to fit that in without setting a hard time frame–you don’t want this to become something you resent. Forgive yourself if you don’t adhere to it, but continue to put the effort in.
Remind Yourself Why You Want It – I have yellow sticky notes with inspirational quotes and my dreams posted on my wall. Idea courtesy of the show Being Mary Jane. This reminds me daily what I want and inspires me to dedicate time to my Dream Schedule.
Track Your Progress Visually – My yellow sticky notes? Yeah, I need to use those to track my progress also. I have a sheet of paper with outlined steps and goals for a writing piece, and each time I scratch off another chapter, or edit, I will put another sticky note in a line down the page, or highlight it to show it’s completed. This will be visually satisfying and keep you motivated.
Give Your Muses Attention – what inspires you? What drives you and makes you want to create or work towards your dreams? For me, a good film or book can have me itching to write and create my own. Music is a very powerful muse for me, taking me back to moments in time I want to write about and emulate. Spend time with your muses. Give them attention. Your dreams will grow.