2 Tips to Maximize Your Time
Work-life balance. It sounds good, like most lofty ideals do. But, how many of us have a good work-life balance? The term “work-life balance” assumes there is a life in there somewhere among all the work. However, for many of us, actually getting to the “life” part (or getting there with enough energy to enjoy it) is our biggest challenge. How often are you too exhausted by the end of the workweek to really enjoy Saturday morning spent with the kids because you are too busy catching up on laundry or working in the yard? There simply wasn’t enough time to do your chores during the week. Or, you worked 10 plus hours per day at the office/job and still brought work home with you, so you could catch up.
The solution is simple. We need to manage time better, right?
Wrong. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
For a long time, I tried to be the “Super Achiever” of the year because I felt like I had to prove something to myself and to everyone else. I wanted to make up for the lost years growing up when I had lived with my parents, virtually as a prisoner of my dad’s abuse and his controlling behaviors. I felt the need to prove I was worth something by accomplishing something.
In reality, no one can manage time. The problem is the most important things in life don’t fit neatly into a planner. There is always pressure to get more done, to be more, to do more, to have more, and to accomplish more. Believe me, I know. But, we can’t manage time, we must manage life.
I’ve learned it’s important to plan my priorities instead of prioritizing my planning.
There are two root causes that create the “whirlwind life” leaving you depleted, exhausted, and wondering where the “living” part of life went:
1) Not budgeting enough time for activities
2) Saying yes to everything
The first root cause is actually pretty easy to correct. Start allowing more time for each activity. The second, is more difficult to change because it requires a mindset shift. And, change like that is NEVER easy. We tend to think we should get better at planning, but in truth we must get better at setting priorities. And, then sticking to them. “Just Say No” to a overstuffed calendar. Plan your priorities instead of prioritizing your planning.
It’s simple, but not easy. I know it’s much easier said than done. But, it can be done. I have learned to do it. It’s how I managed to get through graduate school while working a full-time and a part-time job, while training for and running my first marathon, while training for and winning four state mountain biking championships, while also balancing my role as wife, step-mother, chief cook and bottle washer, while also volunteering as a secretary for a non-profit organization in my community and writing the grant application for a successful Recreational Trails Program $100,000 grant. I was doing all of this simultaneously.
It’s not because I’m superwoman. I simply learned how to manage my life. Then, I did it.