In high school, I took a full course load, took college credits, volunteered, and worked full-time.
In college (both undergraduate and graduate school), I took a full course load (read about how I graduated in 2.5 years with two undergraduate degrees), volunteered, lived on my own (I moved out a few days after I turned 18 and later bought a house at the age of 20), and worked full-time.
In graduate school I did all of the above plus I started my current business.
Because of my past, I often receive questions about how I'm able to do it all. Some like to tell me that I must have no social life, I'm all about working, or ridiculous reasons for why my life must suck.
However, I am able to do it all because I have improved my life balancing skills and I know how to manage tasks efficiently and effectively. Yes, it IS possible to balance work and life.
There might be pain in the beginning when trying to balance work and life.
Okay, I won't lie. In the beginning stages, there was definitely a lot of pain.
Managing everything all at the same time was tough, but it takes time to improve your work-life balancing skills.
There were countless days where I only received three or four hours of sleep. Actually, that happened for a few years. In the beginning stages, I was absolutely horrible at managing my life and work. I would procrastinate, forget what I was even supposed to do, engage in time sucks, and more.
However, I am much better at managing everything now, and all of my hard work paid off. If you have a major goal you want to reach, then balancing many areas of your life all at once may be needed.
Below is what I did and currently still do to make everything work and flow smoothly:
I have a schedule and to-do list to help with work-life balance.
I don't know where I would be without my schedule and to-do list. I have a fairly bad memory, and I forget things almost immediately. Without my to-do list, I would be completely lost and I would spend way too much time trying to remember what I'm supposed to do.
My to-do list and schedule keeps me on track, and it also keeps me motivated. I also enjoy crossing items off my to-do list because I am a huge nerd.
I make sure the timing for everything works out perfectly.
When I was in college, I always made sure that the timing for all of my classes worked perfectly with my work schedule. This required some research and planning, but it was well worth it in the end.
I made sure all the classes I took ran together well. This meant no wasted time in-between classes, and just enough time for me to work my normal 8-5 job so that I could start my 5:30 p.m. classes without any wasted time after work as well.
You would be surprised if you stopped to think about how much time people waste. I know people who sign up for college classes and just take whatever they think they need without thinking about their schedule. This might mean having hour or longer breaks each day between each of their classes. I also know people who take a class, go to work, and then come back for another class (wasted driving time), and more.
I'm not in college anymore, but I do still make sure everything is timed perfectly. I guess it's a habit of mine that will never die.
Don't try to multi-task everything.
Some people are good at multi-tasking, whereas most are not. There is proof out there that multi-tasking can actually result in you wasting time. This is because it takes time to get yourself ready every time you stop and start a task.
I recently read something that said whenever you start and stop a task, you are wasting at least 25 minutes. That adds up over time!
Instead, choose a task and stick to it for a certain amount of time. Don't try to do work, while talking on the phone, while watching TV, while doing dishes, while also Facebook stalking in the background all at the same exact time.
I outsource certain tasks.
Even though there are several tasks I COULD do, I outsource them. I have multiple websites, and I have staff writers and virtual assistants for a few of them.
This could also apply to household tasks. This may sound silly, but I am guilty of procrastinating by cleaning occasionally. I hate cleaning, so that really says something. If you don't have the time to do certain household tasks, such as mowing the lawn, raking leaves, cleaning your home, etc., then you may want to see if there is any value in hiring out some of these tasks.
You need to place a value on tasks and see if your time is better spent elsewhere.
I have a specific order for completing tasks.
For me, I like to order the tasks I have to do. I like to do more complicated or urgent tasks first so that I can clear my schedule and the rest of my day or week can be a little bit more carefree.
Others like to do the easier or quicker tasks first so their to-do list isn't as long. Some days I do that as well. There is no right or wrong way of arranging your tasks.
Eliminate time sucks.
There are so many time sucks out there. I am guilty of wasting time, but I am improving.
Some time sucks you may want to eliminate or cut back in include:
- Social media. Pretty much everyone is guilty of spending too much time on Facebook, Pinterest, and/or Twitter.
- TV. Now that I work from home, I definitely watch a little too much TV. If you are guilty of this, you might want to eliminate some channels (maybe completely get rid of cable and switch to Netflix?), or completely get rid of your TV.
Are you a work-life balancing master? Why or why not?
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