I’ve been asked a lot recently how I have time to do everything.
To give a little bit of background, I work a full-time job in digital marketing, I recently moved into and completely redecorated a new condo, I started recording an album as a passion project, I regularly visit the gym, I started leading a group of women on Monday nights, and I see friends multiple nights a week.
What’s the answer? I wish I could say I conjure time out of thin air because that would be cool. But the answer is much more boring than that: I just find the time. We all have the same twenty-four hours each day, and for the most part it’s our choice how we spend them. If something is important to you, I’m telling you that you can find the time for it.
Balance is a major ingredient for managing time. Less than a year ago I felt as if I were drowning and living with negative time. I was working and answering e-mails into the night, checking my Outlook app every hour on the weekends, and filling my mind with all the work I still needed to get done before I fell asleep. I had no balance and I was paying for it. How was it that just ONE thing was taking up all my time? How was I going to act as a leader in my company while I was driving with my life on empty?
I finally reached a breaking point and knew that something (or really, some things) needed to change. I started setting boundaries for myself and unplugged on nights and weekends. I took a greater interest in my physical health and joined a gym. I refocused on hobbies and passions that fueled me. And I made sure I was fully present with the important people in my life—not constantly staring down at my phone apologizing once again for working.
I think you already know where I’m going with this.
As I added more “life” to my days and less “work,” I actually found more time.
But, of course, it’s a balancing act. I do my best each day 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to stay focused on the tasks at hand and get done what needs to get done. I found that by giving myself time for life outside of work, I opened up my mind to work harder when it counts. I feel more refreshed and more focused, even though I am adding more to my schedule.
How can you take one step in this next week toward a better work-life balance? Need some ideas? Here are four to jumpstart your thinking:
- Pick one morning to wake up an hour earlier and go to the gym
- Each night before you go to sleep, read one chapter of a book you are interested in
- Organize a night out with a friend or spouse for a fun or unique activity in the city you live in
- For the weekend turn off the notifications for your e-mail app
Save yourself from the inevitable burnout of constant work and start down the road to a more balanced life.
Want to take things a step further? Grab a copy of Extreme Productivity: Boost Your Results, Reduce Your Hours.