The world today is kind of trash. There are so many demands to be the perfect person. You’re “supposed” to get married and have kids, travel the world, get a good job, chase your dreams, and practice self-care. That’s a lot to balance! Over the years I’ve found some ways to balance most of these things (kids are for later). Here are a few of the things I do to keep my life from spiraling into a pit of despair.
This sounds contradictory to what you may have heard. We suck at multitasking even though we swear up and down that we do it really well. I’m still guilty of this sometimes even though I know better.
There are scientific studies that show we can’t really multitask. Here’s two: Case 1, Case 2. What we do is switch between tasks really fast which makes it feel like we’re getting a lot done.
What’s actually happening is we are working inefficiently. You cannot do five things at once and expect them to be well done. Focus on one thing at a time so that you get it right the first time.
You’ll skip all of the redoing and updating because you took the time to focus and do it right the first time. So pick ONE thing and work on it until you COMPLETELY finish it. Not almost finish, but completely finish it.
Get an accountability partner.
Aside from working on one thing at a time, I always have at least one person that holds me accountable. For example, when I was starting Flipped Coding, I had to check in with one of my entrepreneur friends at the end of every week with a progress report.
It really makes a difference when you know someone is going to give you crap if you don’t get your stuff done. You could ask a friend or a family member to do this for you. Or if you are looking for more like-minded people that understand what you are going through, you could always find support online.
Check in with your person at least once a week and you’ll start to work with consistency. Knowing that someone is going to ask you what you did all week is more motivation than you think.
Stop letting other people waste your time.
I used to be one of those people that responded to my emails and texts no matter what I was doing. I could be in the middle of eating or trying to figure out a problem and stop immediately to reply to whatever was on my phone. This is a prime example of letting other people waste your time. Those little distractions add up when you’re trying to focus on what you need to do. They are just enough to break your concentration and make your mind start wandering and at that point you might as well get up and take a break.
Put your phone in do not disturb mode for a while. You can change the settings to let your important people reach you, but any other notifications need to be off. Social media is off limits during this time too because it is a huge time sink. Scrolling through your timeline is not productive (even if it’s entertaining).
Stop making long to-do lists for the day.
This is just a bad habit. There was a time where I would have to-do lists that had over 20 things to do in a day after work. Looking at that list just made me tired. The thing I had to realize is that progress is the only thing that matters with these lists.
Try to write 3–5 things on your list for the day, but keep them all focused on things that will move you forward. For example, one of my tasks for today is to update my website. That will help me make it more user-friendly which will help people find what they need. That helps my business grow.
Getting stuck in the little things is where a lot of people go wrong. Make up your mind on what your priorities are and figure out what 3–5 things you can do today to get closer to what you’re trying to accomplish.
Take time to rest.
Rest is by far the most overlooked thing in our culture. If you are constantly working yourself to the bone, you don’t get the time you need to recover. When you don’t recover, you won’t be able to function at your best.
I try to make at least 1 day a week where I don’t do anything productive unless I want to. I mean no work, no cleaning, no planning, nothing. Even if it means staring at a wall for a few hours, get some rest.
Don’t worry about what you have to do tomorrow or what you didn’t do yesterday because you know what? It’s not going anywhere and after you are rested up you’ll get it done faster than you thought you could.
I hope that these few tips help you get closer to what you want. Finding your balance is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. Even though it sounds corny, it’s true. If you don’t manage your time, someone else will gladly do it for you.