1. Know What’s Important
2. Make a Plan
3. Protect your Plan
Hi guys! I recently went to an express time-management workshop that left me feeling like a changed woman. The workshop was held by an inspiring woman, Samantha Lane. I highly recommend you check out her story because it is incredible. She gave us three tips to building a healthier work-life balance and I think you will appreciate them as much as I do 🙂
I’ve always valued time management because life really is short – way too short to be worrying about meeting those last-minute deadlines. Don’t get me wrong, I think hard work is extremely important if you want to accomplish anything, but there is a way to have both a successful career and a fulfilling after-work life. I’m referring to a phrase you may have heard of: the healthy work-life balance.
Following is a very brief overview of what Samantha touched on in the workshop. If you’re interested in learning more about time management, you should definitely consider her services because she is a highly intelligent and gifted speaker whose work has already transformed my life.
1. Know What’s Important
This is my biggest struggle when it comes to time management. I always create the longest lists and can never prioritize, which results in my leaving many of the important points out.
If you’re like me, then you have a hard time prioritizing your “me time” and creating a healthy work-life balance. I, like many others, am constantly trying to finish my to-do lists, but a recent revelation (thank you, Samantha) has given me pause: your list will NEVER end. It is SO important to take breaks and do things that make YOU happy without feeling guilty about it 🙂
If you struggle with this, I highly recommend reading this article: How to Make More Time for Yourself, in 3 Simple Steps.
Eisenhower Decision Matrix
What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.
– Dwight Eisenhower
The Eisenhower Decision Matrix (also known as the Urgent-Important Matrix) is a great tool to help you prioritize tasks based on level of importance and urgency, which is key to establishing a healthy work-life balance. The matrix uses four quadrants to help you separate your tasks. This way we can meet our deadlines without panicking, which is hugely important in staying somewhat sane.
2. Make a Plan
I smile a little while writing this tip because I can hear my mother in the back of my head telling me to “make a plan, Jenna.” I would usually shrug her off in hopes that everything would work itself out. Of course, this instance became the 230498234th time I should have listened to my mother (love you mom). Well, I’m listening now!
Have ONE Plan
I’ve fallen short of this so many times – I need one planner for personal tasks, another one for work, and then one more just for fun because why not? There’s something about a cute planner that makes you feel like you’re getting your life together.
That being said, having multiple planners is not a realistic time-management technique; you need to combine all of your calendars into one. We are humans, after all, and we can only do so much. We can’t hold ourselves to three different plans if we want to achieve a healthy work-life balance.
Daily Planners & Organization Tools
1. 2019 Planner Book & Weekly Planning Sheets (made by Samantha herself!)
2. The 1-3-5 Rule
I find this rule helpful and more realistically applicable to my lifestyle. I have so many small tasks I have to complete in a week in addition to one big, ongoing project. This is why I find it hard to number tasks on my to-do list – one big task may demand the same amount of time as five small tasks.
3. Peak Time
Peak time refers to periods when we are most productive. Are you a morning person, a midday person, or an evening /night person?
If you aren’t sure, many people recommend keeping track of your hours and tasks on a daily basis in a journal or notebook. Start looking for trends and patterns in your routine. During which hours of the day do you get the most done? Feel free to add in how you felt during that time. Were you tired? Were you feeling lazy?
The idea here is to schedule your most difficult tasks during your peak hours because you will be the most motivated during this time, and will accomplish more than if you were to try to work during your non-peak hours, or as I like to call it, my chill time.
I know that after 8 p.m., I won’t have motivation to do anything other than lay on the couch with a glass of wine. So, instead of setting myself up for failure and packing in a million tasks during this time, I try to realistically plan one or two things for my after-work time. This gives me one to two hours to get stuff done around the house and one to two hours of chill time before bed. BOOM! Now that’s a healthy work-life balance.
3. Protect Your Plan
One thing you should know about me – I hate saying no. I am a people-pleaser at heart, BUT, and this is so important y’all, we can’t make other people happy if we can’t make ourselves happy.
Coming out of college, I found myself wanting to take any and every opportunity to do everything, travel everywhere, go out every night, and somehow make my boss happy at the same time.
This is totally unrealistic from a time-management perspective, of course, and definitely not conducive to a healthy work-life balance. I ended up broke, tired, and miserable.
Yes, I enjoyed traveling, but there were times when I couldn’t even enjoy the beautiful places I was in because I was too tired from going out the night before. Sometimes, I didn’t have enough money to eat breakfast because I spent all of it at some fancy show the night before.
Without a plan, we are setting our future selves up for failure. So, learn to say no. If, like me, you find this a very difficult concept to put into practice, here are 21 different alternatives to saying no.
Finally, here are two key takeaways from Samantha’s presentation that really stuck with me:
1. ” Saying yes is really saying no to something else.”
2. “To your family and loved ones you are important. The majority of time, your work will carry on without you, but the same can’t be said about your family
Don’t let this overview stop you from exploring more options! There are so many more tools out there that can best suit your lifestyle because like Samantha said in our workshop, “everyone is different when it comes to time management tools.” If you need help wrapping your head around sorting through deadlines and plans, schedule time with Samantha herself or better yet, take the workshop! Let’s not forget to make ourselves happy and live life as best as we can 🙂