Where's The Time?

Posted: Monday, March 22, 2010
I was asked a question recently while eating lunch at the E Squared Cafe.  "How in the world do you find the time to work, spend time with your family, and make films?"  That is a very good question.  I have a day job, my own video production business, a family, and then this passion for filmmaking that seems to keep me from ever being bored.   Sometimes I'm not sure where all the time comes from (or where it goes), but I do my best to keep track of it.


I need to use some tools to keep me on track.  The old memory just isn't what it used to be.  I have tried tons of task management, or "to do" programs, ranging from really simple to having many features.  ToDo, Toodledo, Awesome Note, and Remember the Milk are just a few.  For one reason or another, I would quit using the programs and go back to just using my Mac's iCal. One of my big issues had always been syncing everything between home, work, and my ipod touch.  This should be easy.  It should just work.  Perhaps it's one of those "you need to be smarter than the equipment" type of things.  Lately, I've been using google calendar, and I really like it.  I can put in tasks, and, no matter what computer I use, it's always there and up to date.

Plan the Obvious

I'm going to write for a while today.  Do I really need to put that on my list?  Why, yes. Yes, I do.  I know it's not like a meeting or something with a specific time, but it should be.  I need to put a specific time on it, or it might not get done.  There are many things that I could be doing with my day, and, if I don't put on my list that I will be writing from 7-8, what's to stop me from doing something else?  I can get involved in a project, and the blinders go on.  Without setting aside time to do some of the basic things, I might get unbalanced and start ignoring what's really important.  This may sound really stupid, but I specifically set aside time to spend with my kids.  They are important to me.  Why shouldn't I give them at least the same respect I give someone I have a lunch meeting with?  But if I have time set aside to do certain tasks, what happens if something pops up, you know, surprise-style?

Plan Spontaneity

Can you really plan to be spontaneous?  I think so.  For starters, I try not to jam too many tasks into one day.  I realize that it can't always be helped, but ,for the most part, you don't have to be 100 mph all the time.  This does two things for me.  One, it's nice to get to the end of the day and know that you were able to finish everything you were hoping to accomplish.  I don't care who you are - that's a good feeling.  And two, (here's the spontaneous part) if I don't have my entire day mapped out, it leaves time for those things that just "pop up."  I can go outside and play with the kids, work on a new idea, work on the what I feel artistically pulled to at the moment, or even just sit back and listen to the latest episode of Film Courage (@FilmCourage).

I may be busy, but I'm living a life.  I also know I'm not the only one who has to tackle these time issues.  How do you do it?


  1. Jeremy Doyle March 22, 2010 at 9:43 PM

    You didn't mention it, but it probably helps that you don't sleep.

  2. Jeanne Veillette Bowerman March 23, 2010 at 7:51 AM

    Yes, Jeremy, I do believe Phil is a vampire. ;)

    I have a jam-packed life like you, Phil. One thing I started doing is lowering my expectations... it helps a lot. Seriously, I used to put 50 things on my "to do" list everyday, then beat myself up for only accomplishing 12. Now, I set realistic goals so I have time at the end of the day for the ever-so-important glass of tequila. It keeps me sane.

    I don't know what I'd do without my blackberry and iCal. Unlike you, I do have enough skill to sync *heehee*. I need my calendar with me at all times, being a mom and all. We are responsible for dentist, hair and doctor's appointments. Oh crap... I forgot to make doctor appointments for the kids' physicals!

    Yes, even as organized as we can all be, some things still slip through the cracks. The trick to sanity though, is to roll with it and shove it somewhere else in the calendar. Flexibility.

    I'll have to check out some of those programs, Phil. Thanks!


  3. rlackeyjr March 23, 2010 at 8:00 AM

    Awesome post. I'm in the same place. Full time as a post production co-coordinator for a post facility, a husband and father, filmmaker and running a production company on the side (or mostly post actually)... sleep is what is sacrificed.

    Balance is difficult but I think one key point is managing expectations of yourself and setting realistic goals and deadlines.

  4. Philontilt March 23, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    Thanks everyone. And yes, I am able to survive with less sleep than most people. I'm kind of a super-hero that way.

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