Last week I wrote about how to get several things done at once by letting all the sides of the Rubik’s cube that is your life meld into one another (if you missed it and don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, it’s here: How to “Get It All Done”—Part 1).
This week I want to talk about another way to take care of everything that’s important to you (your family, your health, your business, your relationship—all of it!).
Instead of wishing I had more hours in the day so I could accomplish more things, I challenge myself to pull back the lens on my time and take a longer view.
Meaning, there are only a few things that I care about doing every day. Because trying to pack a bunch of stuff in to your daily experience is only going to make you feel like there aren’t enough hours available.
And the dangerous thing about that is that you’ll start telling yourself a story about how there’s not enough time to do all the things you want to do. That’s when you start to feel bad about wanting to do so many things—like maybe you’re crazy, or you want too much.
But there is plenty of time. Yes, there are only 24 hours in any given day, but there are 168 hours in a week, 336 in two weeks, 720 in month, 8,760 in a year. You get what I’m saying: There is plenty of time for all the things you want to do! Just not all on the same day.
It has been enormously helpful for me to sit down and make a list of all the things I want to do regularly, and decide how frequently I want to do that.
Here is my list:
Daily during the week
Check in on some form of social media (except on weekends)
Some level of a walk, even a short spin
Eat something homemade (it could be leftovers)
Write for 1-4 hours—blog posts, marketing copy, books and content for others
Dinner with the fam (typically four out of five days)
Bedtime routine with the kids, which includes reading and snuggling (hubz does jammies, teeth, and something they call “beat up”—I don’t ask a lot of questions about that one)
Every other day or so
Nice long walk
Read for 15 minutes to an hour
On the weekends
Nice long shower (as in, not just getting clean)
Date night or solo time (i.e., time away from role of “mom”)
Outside time with the kiddos
Cooking something for the week, often times with the kiddos
Spend 4-6 hours coaching
Spend 1-2 hours talking to people who are considering coaching
Write a newsletter (most weeks)
Spend 1-2 hours connecting with someone just because I like them (not necessarily biz-related)
Drive the kids to school once, so we have a later morning and I get a car chat with them (the best convos happen when everyone is strapped in)
Have family dinner either at a restaurant or prepared by a restaurant, for novelty
Attend an in-person networking something, whether specifically biz-related or not.
See a play with my Mom
Travel with the fam
Travel solo or with husband
Take myself on retreat, no husband or kids
Spend at least a week on the beach
By making this list, I let myself rest; I don’t have to worry on a daily basis about what I’m not doing. I know I’m going to get to everything at an interval that works for me and my life. And that feels like phew.
One note: These are my minimums. I can certainly travel without kids more than once every three months, but I know that if it’s been 2-1/2 months and I haven’t gone anywhere, I’m going to start getting twitchy (and bitchy), so I better keep an eye and ear out for where I might like to go next quarter.
Making your list like this is an exercise in self-awareness. You have to be really objective about what you require, desire and deserve, as Sierra Bender, one of my teachers and ghostwriting clients, writes about.
You may have to do some trial and error to figure out what you want and need to do to keep the things that matter to you humming along. Make a list anyway—you can refine it as you go.
For example, I spoke with a friend who’s a mom of three young kids. She was saying something I absolutely felt when my kids were toddlers and I’ve heard from so many other moms—I don’t even have time to shower! Yeah, probably not every day, no. At least, not the kind of shower where you take all the time you need to do everything you want to do, which probably includes daydreaming. But you can certainly make an arrangement with your partner or your babysitter where you get to take alllll the time you want in the bathroom every Sunday morning, for example. And when you do, and you’ve only got time for a quick rinse-off on Tuesday, you’ll know that you’ve got a plan for the longer shower you’re planning and that you are doing it regularly.
I really resisted making this kind of a schedule for myself, for a long time. I prefer to be moved by inspiration and enjoy feeling like I can do what I want whenever I want. But then there were so many things that I wanted to do that I wasn’t getting around to. This helps me keep tabs on all those desires and make sure that I have time for all of them. It’s a nice balance of planning and letting it roll – and that is a sweet spot I love.
Have fun making your list, and if you have any questions or insights about making time for all the various parts of your life, I’d love to hear ‘em! Just leave a comment.