5 Ways to Find Time to Pursue Your Passion — Starting Today!

Stephenie Meyer was a stay-at-home mother to three young children when, inspired by a literal dream, she stole away, post-bedtime, to create what would become the Twilight franchise. During her White House years, Michelle Obama squeezed in a workout by starting each day at 4:30 a.m. Practicing dermatologists Dr. Kathy Fields and Dr. Katie Rodan retired on nights and weekends to Rodan’s kitchen to formulate the Proactiv skin-care line.

In all of these cases, and with all of these women, schedules were tight, but the passion to pursue their passions was greater. They found the time — and so can you. Here’s how:

1. Shift your mindset.

Your “hobby” isn’t a hobby, a thing to keep you occupied or distracted; it’s a passion, and it’s something you need to do — for you. A study presented in the Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine found that people who possess what was termed “a higher sense of purpose in life” were at decreased risks of death and cardiovascular disease. So, get serious about whatever it is that you find profoundly rewarding (if not fun).

2. Don’t find the time; make the time.  

Once you’ve elevated your hobby to a passion, then make sure your calendar follows. You should no longer view your dance class as an extra that you get around to now and then. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Obama revealed she came to a similar realization about her workouts. “I just started thinking, if I had to get up to go to work, I’d get up and go to work. If I had to get up to take care of my kids, I’d get up to do that. But when it comes to yourself, then it’s suddenly, ‘Oh, I can’t get up at 4:30.’ So I had to change that,” she said.

3. Turn off (or turn down) the TV.

Look, we get it, it’s a great time to be a TV-watcher. But too much of a good thing can be a time suck. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, TV-watching is, on average, our No. 1 leisure activity, taking up more than half of our day’s down time, or fully two hours and 47 minutes. Socializing (41 minutes), reading (19 minutes), and exercise and sports (18 minutes) can’t compete with the TV. Now, if your is passion to write recaps of your favorite TV shows, then watch (and analyze) away! But if it’s not, and you’re planting yourself in front of the screen instead of heading off to the pickleball court, then perhaps it’s time to review your intake. Or, if your passion doesn’t require going outdoors, then, sure, keep the TV on — so long as it’s in the background, and your passion’s in the foreground. While watching TV at night, Trudi Searles of GroupWorks’ own Sassy Stampers card-making club says she gets the coloring done on whatever stack of homemade cards she’s working on.

4. Make your passion part of your social world.

Joining a social group or activity club is a concrete way to embed your passion into your life. Janice Schindler, past president of the GroupWorks-affiliated Quilt Guild of Greater Houston, says she got hooked on quilting when her family moved from Texas to Australia, and she enrolled in a one-day class at a quilt shop. “It was a way to meet Australian women, to get out of my very small circle,” she says. “It was just what I needed.”

5. Stop worrying, start living.  

One of the potential benefits of tilting your schedule in favor of, or being more inclusive of, your passion is that you’ll feel less time-crunched. A study published in The Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences established a link between participation in recreational sports and not only happiness, but a feeling of freedom — a sense that the individual, not the clock, calendar or other outside force, was in charge of her leisure time.

Now, that’s something to get passionate about.