Platform Building 102: Arrest Time Thieves

Janalyn Voigt continues the series on Platform Building.

As we define and draw goals from our life purposes, it’s important to take stock of resources at our disposal. Time is a tool that will help us if we treat it right but work against us if we do not. 
I asked a group of writers to identify what disrupts, interrupts and wastes their time.  The results, in no particular order:

  • Online games
  • Obsessive social networking
  • Daydreaming
  • Excessive researching
  • Excessive reading of blogs
  • Household chores
  • Texting
  • Writer forums
  • Phone calls
  • Computer and technical problems
  • Stress
  • Tiredness
  • Television

Perhaps you can identify with and even add to the list. Understand that these behaviors are only symptoms. Identify your motivators to change your life for the better. When you cure the underlying causes you find real solutions. 
There’s a difference between wasting and spending time. Successful time management is about balance.  
Writing, as a passion, can consume time and attention that rightfully belongs elsewhere. As a ministry and/or occupation, it should fall below family relationships in priority. If you believe others are genuinely wasting your time, then establish healthy boundaries. A book, BOUNDARIES, may help you.  
Depression can masquerade as tiredness.  See if you can find the root cause(s) and give your burden to the Lord. Tell someone you trust what’s going on. It can take courage, will power and God’s help to pull out of a depression. It also takes time. Give yourself grace while you recover. 
Excessive social networking, television viewing and online games may facilitate procrastination. You might have feelings of inadequacy or maybe you’ve taken a wrong turn in your plot and don’t know how to proceed.
Both procrastination and inspiration lead to daydreaming, though. If you can find no motive for procrastination, perhaps you should embrace these interruptions.  Just listen. Take notes. 
Some things, like computer and technical problems, lie beyond your control. Teach yourself to roll with the punches. For instance, I become disoriented when my computer stalls or my email glitches.  But if I accept things I can’t control, I can reformat my day and move on. Maintaining my emotional equilibrium helps balance a disrupted day. 
Once you know your motives and triggers, you can address habitual behavior that holds you back. Habits take time to form, and to break. You will have greater success if you substitute a positive behavior for a negative one.

Ask yourself: What am I getting out of playing Facebook games? If the answer is a reward for hard work, maybe you can set a limit for play time. Or, try reading a chapter in a book instead. 
Change motivators. Remind yourself of God’s purposes for your life and you’ll bring your goals into sharp focus. Don’t pursue them with rigidity but with genuine desire for God’s will.  


Identify time thieves in your life.

Examine motives for allowing them.

Set limits where needed.

Stop non-productive activities. Replace with activities that support your life purposes.


This post first appeared on Author HavenNovember 3, 2009. Used by kind permission.

Janalyn writes adventures kissed by romance in the fantasy and historical fiction genres. 

DAWNSINGER, book one of her TALES OF FAERAVEN trilogy, will release with Port Yonder press. Her publication credits include Focus on the Family, Scripture Press and Pentecostal Evangel. Janalyn is affiliated with ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and NCWA (Northwest Christian Writers Association).  Visit her website at


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