A snapshot of where the time really goes

Writers are always talking about time. I wish it were because we’re a metaphysical lot exploring the multiverse. It’s true, some of us are, but most often, we're time-obsessed because we’re looking for ways to gather up enough minutes to work on our projects.

We’re busy, right? That’s clear enough. But how busy, really?

Here’s a toy to play with for a day or two, just to give you a true picture of your days. It’s an ultra simple (and free) time tracker called Toggl. Visiting the website will give you an immediate sense of how you use your minutes. A click to the welcome screen starts a timer labeled: “Reading Toggl.com.” That's your life in real time, ticking past.

Launch the application—on a small desktop window or a mobile app—and the screen asks: What are you working on? Label your activity, press the start button, and press stop when you’re done. Do it again with the next activity and the next.

When you use the desktop version, a “timeline” feature, activated the day after you sign up, automatically records the time you spend on the Web, and tells you where you went.

Spend a day, even an afternoon, gathering raw data showing how you use your life, and you’ll probably see missed more than a few opportunities for creating what you want to create.

This moment is what we have to work with, beautiful writer person. It’s our opportunity to see and feel and connect with what’s most important. And the choice we make about what we do with it is the difference between seeing minutes or days filled up with “worried about not writing” and filling up pages. Writing our books. Knowing our creative selves.

Pay close attention to the way you use time this week. Track it, even. Then take some of it back for your writing.