I recently had coffee with a friend who is an aspiring screenplay writer and self-admitted procrastinator. When I inquired if he had begun to pen his one-day famous screenplay, he answered no, he hadn’t.

“Why not?” I wanted to know.

“I don’t know. I think about starting and I imagine what the results will look like, but I can never seem to get started.”

“So you’re obsessing to the point of inaction?”

“Well, yes.”

“Why don’t you make a schedule to get yourself in the habit of writing? Make a commitment to write at certain times and set a page goal. Something like every two weeks you’ll write ten pages. If you don’t like what you’ve written you can edit it, but at least you’ll have gotten off the ground.”

It was agreed. He would buy a calendar and circle his bi-monthly deadlines. He would write at different times until he figured out when he was most productive.

Whether you are unemployed and looking for a job or have a job that pays the bills while pursuing a passion on the side, managing your time is a challenge. Sometimes, it’s harder to get started on the things we value the most – the consequence of our failure heightened by our emotional investment. Procrastination does not prevent stress – it just suppresses and delays it.

Create a schedule. Commit. Get started. You will discover time you didn’t realize you had.