by Lauren Henderson
“You cannot imagine the craving for rest that I feel — a hunger and thirst. For six long days, since my work was done, my mind has been a whirlpool, swift, unprogressive and incessant, a torrent of thoughts leading nowhere, spinning round swift and steady.” — H.G. Wells
Wells penned those words in his novel, “When the Sleeper Wakes.” Though written in the late 1800s, that sentiment has stood the test of time. Finding work/life balance is hard. When it’s time to throttle back, here’s how:
1. Track Your Day
You’ve heard the saying, “Time is money.” So why not budget your time like you do your money? Knowing where you’re spending your time will shed light on where you can save it.
Start by breaking down your day on a piece of paper. Record what you do throughout a normal day. From the time your feet hit the floor to the time you put them up, write down what you do.
Next, look at the day you’ve tracked and keep these questions in mind: Where did I waste the most time? What tasks can I consolidate? Am I completing my daily to-dos in the most efficient order?
If you’ve been feeling crunched for time, hopefully you find error in your ways and time in your day. Track as many days as you need to get the most realistic picture of your week. Write down a routine that maximizes your time and stick to it.
2. Say No
There’s freedom in the word “no.” Things that seemed quick and easy when you committed to them usually end up taking the longest to complete, robbing you of your time. Before agreeing to take on another responsibility, consider where it will fit into your day. Be realistic about how long it will take. Be selective about the “extras” you take on.
3. Say Yes
Learning to say “yes” is just as important as teaching yourself to respond with “no.” The temptation to be a one man show and take everything on by yourself is human nature, but the reality is, it’s impossible! For goodness sake, say “yes” when others offer their help!
Take the confusion out of your processes. Make notes in your phone or in a notebook. I prefer to physically write my schedule down in a day planner. Do what works for you.
You’ll be amazed with how getting things out of your head and onto a piece of paper streamlines the day.
Take some time for yourself. Do one thing daily that is for you and only you. Maybe it’s taking the dog on a walk, going to the gym before work or waking up early enough to enjoy a cup of coffee and read the paper. Regular time for yourself will help you not get worn down as quickly.
Periodically, allow time to recharge for a longer stint. Know what you need to feel renewed. For some, that means spending time relaxing at home. For others, it means an adventurous trip with friends.