People often ask me whether I have enough time to balance between my corporate job, eCommerce business, podcast, and blog…on top of a normal social life of course! And it’s always funny when I think about it because I have come to understand that I am actually much better at balancing my time when I know I don’t have as much time, compared to when I know I have all day to get things done. Here’s why…
*More time = more “dilly dallying” … Less time = more willingness to focus
This is simply from personal experience for myself, as well with my own experience in working with freelancers or those who create their own schedules. In fact, I personally believe this is why so many people are struggling in this remote work environment right now. They are not used to forcing themselves to have the discipline to wake up by a certain time or not having a boss around to keep them in check. Trust me, I am no exception!
By human nature, we value things, people, and places that are less accessible. That’s just how our brain frames it in our minds. This kind of tendency is also applied with our time. When we have less of it, we create a sense of urgency, creating some heightened anxiety, to ensure that we accomplish whatever it is at hand because we know after the time is up, we have something else to do or somewhere else to be.
On the other hand, if we have five hours till we have to finish an essay or submit something? We tell ourselves we have so much time, that we can do it later with ease. Only to find that we created our own anxiety by not finishing it sooner than later!
So my tip? Try to fill up majority of your (week) day as much as possible with some sort of “appointments” and timely plans. For example, I always start my day around 5:45/6am because I attend Pilates at 6:30am and I know I’ll want extra time to read and get ready. If I miss the class, I have to pay a $25 no-show fee…who would want to see that much go down the drain? I start to prep and shift my brain to focus on my sales job around 8am and I create a check-list of things I need to do within a 3-hour window so that my three hours are focused.
During my lunch break, I will use this to take a breather from all the corporate work and either work on my podcast or creative blog work. Typically this will either be working on content, preparing episode outlines, doing podcast interviews, and etc. All of which are scheduled in my Google Calendar with a specific time window like an appointment/meeting, especially if it is an interview.
*When it’s scheduled and in your calendar, it keeps you more organized
For some people, it may feel a little “too much” when it comes to scheduling so many things in your life. But that’s the thing, your brain starts to recognize what the priorities are and how to stay focused and efficient in those tasks as you make it consistent. Life should be adventurous and spontaneous, but when it comes to being efficient with your time (pertaining to work-life balance), you need to have a system in place to organize your life.
It’s like when you are in high school and college–you know exactly when you are in class and when you are not. So you schedule other components of your life around it; whether that is coffee dates, workouts, availability for work shifts, and etc.
I do the same exact thing in my post-grad working life. I schedule my top priorities first in my calendar (usually on the Friday before the week) from my fitness classes, podcast interviews, work meetings, etc. Then I find the best times to squeeze in lunch/dinner with friends or when I am available to simply hang out.
All of this really just comes down to your actual top priorities and how you remove the activities in your life that are not contributing to your growth. It might seem weird to schedule and plan so many components like workouts, coffee dates, reading time, and etc…BUT at the end of the day, it really just helps you create focus and practice the art of staying focused.