Why a regular writing practice is essential for time-poor people 

By Sarah Cannata

Today’s fast-paced and demanding world means most of us have more on our to-do list than we have time. While adding another task (writing or journaling) to our list may seem counterintuitive, establishing a regular writing routine can provide time-poor people with much-needed mental space.

Here are five ways writing regularly (define what that looks like for you) can help anyone navigate the challenges of a jam-packed life.

Stress and anxiety reduction

Over time, bearing the weight of several responsibilities leads to heightened stress and anxiety levels. Everyone has their limit. While we may look like we are mastering the art of multi-tasking from the outside looking in, being constantly switched ‘on’ compromises our mental health and well-being in the long term.

Taking five to 10 minutes daily to sit and be present with yourself allows you to unload your thoughts on pen and paper (use a mobile device if that’s more convenient).

Writing provides a safe space to reconnect with our inner thoughts, feelings, emotions and alleviates some of the mental burden we typically carry throughout our day.

Improved time management and priority setting

What on my to-do list can wait until tomorrow?

This question has become one of my favourite prompts. Contrary to popular belief, not everything has to be done yesterday.

If you are anything like me, you’re juggling multiple calendars. I have a work calendar, business calendar, personal calendar and likely other calendars I can’t remember while writing. This struggle to manage demanding schedules is almost universal.

When we find tiny pockets of time to write, something amazing happens. We become more aware, and this elevated awareness promotes discipline in other areas of our lives.

Staring down at our priorities on a piece of paper (or mobile device) shines a light on where we routinely spend our time. Consequently, writing can become a valuable tool for honing our time management skills.

Enhanced mental space

In the past, I’ve often felt like I have no mental space. Between work, my business and trying to squeeze a social life in somewhere, I felt like a super highway with no ‘off’ button.

I write for a living, so writing is familiar to me. Writing or journaling as a daily practice is completely different. Over time, I noticed I had mental space where I was previously at capacity.

Upon reflection, writing daily has provided me with a powerful outlet for self-expression for my eyes only. I especially enjoy shredding my writing post-session (this is particularly handy if you are concerned about anyone else reading your writing).

Intentional reflection and understanding of oneself 

We all have those days we’d rather not have! Writing is especially helpful during times of conflict. Over the years, I’ve noticed I naturally write about challenges from different perspectives the more I write about them.

Above all else, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of myself. Sometimes, I’ve written down things that shocked me when reading them back the next day (I don’t shred all my writing). The more I write, the more whatever I need to express emerges naturally.

Habit stacking

Habit stacking involves ‘stacking’ a new behaviour onto a current behaviour to help make it stick. Once I established a daily writing practice, other things I’d been working on became easier.

I now pair writing with any new behaviours I seek to adopt, and it works a treat.

Do you have a regular writing practice? If so, I’d love to hear how writing or journaling regularly has benefitted you.

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