Sjoe, how time is flying! I don’t know about you, but I find that I am so busy at work these days that I have almost no energy to do things I want to do when I get home. Work is not going to ease up anytime soon so I have been reading up on ways to work around it and make the time to do the things I want to do. Everyone wants a “work-life balance” but what does it really mean to you and how do you work it so that you not only find the balance but you enjoy your time in both worlds? I haven’t found the answer to this yet, but I think I am heading in the right direction for me. These are just a few tips that I started implementing that may help you too if you have a similar dilemma.
Wake up earlier
Anyone who knows me knows that waking up early is definitely not my thing. Here’s the thing though, when I wake up earlier and write, I find my thoughts are crisper and clearer. I can actually get a whole blog post done. The house is silent, so there arebno distractions. The sounds of Mother Nature doing her thing outside are soothing to my soul. I still don’t like waking up early in the morning, but (I never thought i would ever say this) it has its advantages. It’s an important part of my “me time” (more about that later) and it’s where I get some of my “work” thinking done.
Restrict Social media use
I am guilty of having my phone in my hand most of the time that I am awake. If I think about it, my phone habit has replaced my smoking habit. (Aaaah the joys of an addictive personality😜.) I have had to train myself to turn this habit into a positive one. My phone has become an educational and productivity tool rather than just a time thief. How you ask? I spend more time reading books via my kindle app and google books, writing blogs and learning from reading other’s blogs on WordPress and Medium, than I do on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I am also able to check and answer emails and messages, do research on the net and source inspirational and motivational material to keep me going.
Of course, social media always beckons if you let it so I switch off my notifications. This just takes away the reason to open the apps regularly. When I find that this is not working for me then I delete them for a few months. Out of sight = out of mind. Another reason that I don’t visit social media often anymore is that I find it draining, especially Facebook. Far too many people bring their personal baggage to the app. Scrolling through all the sadness and the complaining steals my joy and my energy. Of course, who and what you follow on social media also determines your experience of it so I guess I need to relook at who I follow on Facebook especially. IG is a much happier environment for me probably because I follow a lot more inspirational and motivational sites and fewer people as such. Twitter gives me a snapshot of world events at a moment in time, which can get depressing if you let it.
Switch off to the world and on to the relationships that matter
I only get to see my son for approximately 5 hours every day. An hour or so in the morning before school and about 4 hours at the end of the day before bedtime. During those times, I try and keep my phone out of my hands and focus as much on him as possible. We go over homework, catch up on his day. Watch a little tv together and, of course, have our bedtime reading session. It’s scary to think that I blink and he is another day older.
Now my boyfriend, on the other hand, is a screen addict. If he is not on his phone, then he is glued to the TV or his computer. It’s not only for entertainment though, sometimes it’s work-related. If I didn’t know better, I would think that I bored the crap out of him. Fortunately, he does have other things away from “the screen” that he is interested in and that we have in common. We use that to form our own little bubble and enjoy each other’s company as often as we can. Being able to connect with my son and boyfriend fulfils and sustains me.
This is where I find my peace. Since I started waking up earlier, I find that this is about the best time for me to spend time reflecting, praying and just connecting with God and myself. That stillness in the morning naturally lends itself to this practice. I write in my journal. I set goals. I pray. I still haven’t gotten into the habit of meditating as such yet, but I will get there.
I still need to find the time in my day for exercise as I really need to get into that habit. It would definitely help me create more energy for the things I want to do. Making time to reach out to friends is also a priority for me, however I haven’t worked it in it. Lastly, creating a study schedule that I will stick to is also a challenge. I will figure something out though.
Do you have any tips and tricks to create time in your day that you could share? Please do add them in the comments section. I would love to hear from you.
Ultimately, I have had to look ahead and decide what I would like to accomplish 1, 5 and 10 years from now and prioritise my life so that it is possible to achieve those goals. There are things that I still need to let go of because that sap my energy and are holding me back. It’s going to take courage though and, to be honest, I am still a little paralysed by fear. I will get there though.
Here’s a link to a great talk on how to gain control of your time by Laura Vandakram which I found after writing this blog and has given me additional food for thought. There might be something you find useful too.