My good writing friend, Sherryl, and I were Skyping about a seriously time-consuming writing project we’d like to take on together. Since we both spend our lives constantly trying to squeeze out five more spare minutes, we realized that something in our schedules would have to give.

“Where’s the dead wood in your life?” we asked each other. “What can be cut?”

Take a Closer Look

I thought about it a lot last night and couldn’t come up with much of anything. I have a couple of writing jobs, I hold offices in a couple organizations, and I lead a couple of church groups. Some are new responsibilities this year, and some I’ve helped with for years. I was clueless about what to cut.

Then I heard someone on the radio this morning say:

“If the horse has been dead ten years, it’s time to dismount.”

Put It Out to Pasture

I made a list of my paid and unpaid jobs then. Which lifeless “horse” was I still trying to make gallop? Which job or position that once was fun and satisfying and productive was now just an unproductive time drain? Which things had run their course? Where should I “dismount”?

Some of our time drains are just habits we’ve had for years. Or they’re community or school obligations we took on, and somehow we feel they’re life-time commitments.

Take a close look at your stable of horses. I hope this month to dismount a couple of dead horses so that I have time to ride a new one!


This is a re-posted blog–and here’s the follow-up.  I did resign from two of my long-term volunteer activities. In both cases, people who were on the sidelines stepped forward to take the positions. I stopped doing free book critiques too.

The changes took nearly a year, but I now have five hours per day to work on my writing, compared to the one hour I had when I first wrote this blog post. It was hard saying “I can’t” and “no, thanks” many, many times. But I love the outcome! I love looking forward to my work days now. Our lives are all different, but I bet you could get rid of some dead horses too.

Can you name ONE that could be eliminated from your over-crowded life?

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