Over the past five years, I’ve become busy. Really busy. I manage a large business, work well over 40 hours per week, sustain a daily Ashtanga Yoga practice, maintain a home and small property with my fiance, AND I like to eat well AND have a social life. I’ve often thought of cutting things out. Maybe I should get a different job, or cut back on yoga, or move into a smaller house or apartment.
But the thing is, I don’t want to. Why should I have to give up things in my life just because there aren’t enough hours in the day?
I’ll be honest; I used to get exceedingly overwhelmed, almost to the point of burnout. I would be waist deep in things I needed to get done that I'd miss out on things I love to do, time with my fiancé, and sleep. So last year, I began experimenting with ways to manage my time. Some things worked well, and some things were epic failures. I want to share what works well for me, so that you can make it to your next yoga class or actually enjoy a happy hour with friends!
1. Use a calendar and keep it up to date.
Whether it's an old-fashioned paper one, or a fancy one with bells and whistles in your phone, use it. Most electronic calendars allow you to color code, make multiple calendars in one, share events, and sync up with all of your devices. Schedule appointments for yourself, such as: grocery shopping, cleaning, yoga/gym time, cooking, computer time, etc. This will give you a snapshot of what you need to get done.
2. Make lists.
Every evening before I get ready for bed, I quickly jot down the things I need to get done the next day. Add things to the list during the day and make sure to cross things off as you complete them.
3. Prepare, prepare, prepare.
Pick one or two times per week when you prepare items for something you might need during the same week. For example, if you go grocery shopping, cut up all of your vegetables, or portion out food into containers right after shopping. This will save you tons of time when you're ready to make meals. Some grocery stores will even cut up fruits and veggies to your liking for a modest fee.
4. Limit your time online.
How often to we get sucked into an internet time warp? Answer: very often. Determine when and how much time per day you need to be online for personal reasons outside of work. If you need to, schedule your internet time in your calendar, and if you’re really bad (like me) set a timer for your allotted time and don’t let yourself go beyond it!
5. Ask for help.
I recruit my fiancé to help out with chores around the house and reach out for support at work when my assignments become unmanageable. People are usually more than willing to help out, but just be sure to say thank you. Don’t take advantage of the extra hand, and be ready to return the favor in the future!
6. Learn to say no.
This is perhaps the hardest of the six. Saying yes to everything and overcommitting yourself will lead to burnout. Make sure before agreeing to any event, meeting, or appointment you check your calendar to make sure you're available.