“I thank the universe for taking everything it has taken
and giving to me everything it is giving – balance” – Rupi Kaur, Milk and Honey
I think I can safely assume that there are many of us that would agree that we wish that there was more time in the day. More time to accomplish things and check off our “To-Do” list, more time to enjoy our family and pets, more time to do what we love. We all have the same amount of time in a day – unless, I suppose, you are one of those ‘elite’ members of our population that can function optimally and happily on much less sleep than the average person like myself (in which case, I am a little bit envious of you!). So, let’s find ways to better utilize and make the most of our available hours in the day.
More effective use of my time is something I’m CONSTANTLY striving for, primarily so that when I have time with my kids I can be a more relaxed and happier mom (specifically – be more present in the moment with them and yell less, as god knows that 1. Spending time with them but not being ‘present’ and ‘in the moment’ and 2. yelling, leaves me feeling terribly guilty and regretful!). The LAST thing I want for my life is to have a regret that I didn’t spend the time I had with my little ones, while being fully ‘present and in the moment’, especially while they are at the stage they are right now where they actually want to be in my presence!
While I certainly can’t claim time mastery myself, I have culminated several tips related to time management and self-actualization as the result of formal and informal training I have received, vast things I have read, and personal experience that I wish to share here in hopes that it will bring some value to your life and help you be more present, balanced, and at peace with yourself and those around you.
Time Management and Other Tips to Help You Achieve Balance
- Recognize what you need and want to achieve in a week (work, personal, family, etc.) and prioritize these items. One way could be to stratify all of your to-dos into the following categories of achievement for that day or week: what is ‘urgent and essential to achieve,’ ‘essential but not urgent to achieve,’ ‘urgent but not essential to achieve,’ and finally, ‘not urgent and not essential.’ While I won’t go into detail explaining the difference between these categories (as there are many good online resources that already do), I think many of us could agree that we spend too much time in the ‘apparently urgent but not essential’ category. As an example, many of us feel the need to immediately read and respond to every incoming email and text, which distracts us from the task at hand, requires us to come back to the original task, reset ourselves by reading back a paragraph or two to gain our bearings again before moving on, etc. Rather, if we allocated specific time to read and respond to emails at the beginning, middle, and end of our work day our time may be more well utilized.
- Be more self-aware of how we are currently utilizing our time and adjust. With the above list, start taking notice of where you are spending your time, where each of your items falls on the priority list, what isn’t getting done on a daily or weekly list that needs to be, ways you could improve, and when you are most productive during the day. One of my 2018 New Year’s resolutions was to ‘time block’ my week – to take my available time in the week and first infill with the ‘urgent and necessary’ tasks, followed by the ‘not urgent but necessary’ items like business planning, time for learning and self-growth, etc, followed by leaving time for the other items.
- Start each day by tackling one of your big ‘urgent and essential to achieve’ items. You won’t believe how much that will lift weight from your shoulders and the huge sense of accomplishment you will feel at the start of the day. This is particularly important if the morning is your most productive time of the day.
- Be reasonable with yourself. Only create a to do list for the day that is achievable, with 1-2 big urgent and essential items and a few more smaller items. If it is a list that isn’t practical to accomplish within the day, you won’t feel that sense of success if you are still left with items not stroked off at the end of the day.
- To achieve balance between work and family, I am a huge believer that if at all possible, it is essential to have a set period of time set aside for your family each day where you focus on them, solely. From personal experience, I know that it can be incredibly hard to hold yourself accountable to this maintaining this “blackout period” because our phones are constantly dinging with text messages, and Instagram and Facebook notifications, and your curiosity can often get the better of you. Turning my phone on silent and intentionally turning off the notifications for some of these applications has been helpful, to some extent for me, but what I find best is to intentionally put my phone on the opposite floor of where I am playing with my kids. I would mindlessly walk across the room to check my phone, but you become more conscious about intentionally walking upstairs to check your phone while enjoying your family time.
- Use your time efficiently and avoid ‘busy work’ and procrastinating. We all have our default when it comes to procrastination. Mine is checking and responding to emails so that I feel like I am still ‘working’ and accomplishing something. But my day can quickly fill up with that and lead me to not checking one of my ‘big urgent and essential’ items off my list, which wasn’t a good feeling when I hadn’t stroked anything off of my urgent and essential to do list for the day. Recognize your procrastination default and implement the above strategies and hold yourself accountable to them to use your time most effectively.
- Make time for yourself and something you enjoy. Embrace opportunities for self-growth. This could look like a long bath with a book or even just 5 minutes while driving listening to something you enjoy.
- Delegation and outsourcing – Is there something in your life right now that is causing you stress and/or consuming your time unnecessarily that you are able to delegate / outsource to someone else who would actually enjoy and appreciate doing it? If so, what are you waiting for? Know that we can’t all do everything and that it IS OK TO SAY NO and know when it is OK to say no. Don’t spread yourself too thin.
- Most of all – implement, implement, implement! You actually need to put some of the above into play in order to see an improvement in your life balance, peace, and happiness 🙂 Start somewhere, start now and you will be on your way to finding more balance. Make changes and improvements, evaluate how they worked, adjust as necessary, and re-evaluate as you move forward!
If you wish to discuss these and other ways to improve balance, time management, and happiness, please find the post in the Facebook group and feel free to comment (positive comments accepted only please)!
Disclaimer – while all of the above content has been written by me, it has been formed as a result of formal and informal training I have received, vast things I have read, and personal experience and therefore are likely not original!