The Secret to Having It All
Guess what? I have unlocked the secret to "having to all"...and you can, too! You just need to stop trying to have it "all" at the same time!
Think you can’t “have it all?” I used to think that, too. Not anymore, though! I actually DO think it is possible to have it all …just not all at the same time. Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it? It’s not!
First, what the heck do I mean by “having it all?” I am not talking about stuff, things, or material possessions. What I mean by “all” is having actual fulfillment in all the roles you play in life. Fulfilling work, meaningful friendships, present time with your kids, time for yourself, and whatever else is on your list of important things in your life. Your “all” will look different than mine, and that is ok.
In today’s crazy world, it is so easy to get caught up in the stress of the 100 mph pace of life the second you wake up every day. For most of us, our family, work, technology, pets, etc starts pulling or interrupting us the second our day starts. But, it doesn’t have to.
What is the secret to having it all? Stop trying to have it all at the same time. What do I mean by this? You have to stop doing the BAD type of multi-tasking. You have to stop checking email while you are cooking dinner and helping with homework, responding to text messages while you’re on a conference call or posting on social media while you are grocery shopping. But most importantly…you HAVE to stop feeling the need to respond to every single incoming message the second you get it.
Now, if you are in a lifesaving profession and you are “on call”, you can ignore that last sentence and we all thank you for what you do! Seriously…you are amazing.
But, if you are like me where your job does not involve saving anyone’s life, you CAN ignore texts, emails, and social media for a few hours. I promise. It just takes some thoughtful preparation and self-discipline.
I used to wake up with the phrase “gentlemen, start your engines” running through my head. When that alarm went off, it was GO TIME and that feeling lasted all day long. My day was filled with tasks, people, meetings, deliverables, phone calls, messages, errands, people, things, etc… etc. I was in a constant state of reaction and response. My life and calendar controlled me instead of me controlling my calendar. I did NOT “have it all.”
Fast forward to today. Each day starts with quiet and calm time for myself. I actually ENJOY waking up and often wake up before my alarm goes off. I have structure to my schedule that I create, control, and respect, and I have taught my family to respect my schedule, too. I still get all the things done but they are done in an effective and efficient manner that wasn’t there before. When I am working, I am giving 100% of my attention to work. When I am with my family, I am giving them 100% of my time. I have pockets of my day where I don’t even look at my phone or computer for hours at a time. And guess what? No one has died! See, I don’t save lives!
Finally, I actually have time every single week that is 100% for myself.
How do you make this transition? Changing the way you structure your time and organize your tasks takes practice and it is something I am always refining and tweaking as life changes.
Here are 5 things you can start on TODAY to help you :
- Create a morning routine that serves you and only you. It can be 5 minutes or 50 minutes (or even longer). The key here is to never start your day immediately serving others and to find the right routine that works for you.
- Create a weekly plan instead of a daily plan.
- Create your weekly plan on Sunday, not Monday. If you wait until Monday to lay out your plan for the week, you are already in “reactive” mode.
- Create one block of time to run your errands for the week. Do not waste time running errands every single day. Be proactive, not reactive to the trips you need to make.
- Block off time on your calendar when you are NOT working or using technology. This mean that you need to reserve time on your calendar for you where you are doing the things with family, friends, alone, etc that keep you grounded and happy.
Learning how to be fully present in each part of your life takes time…and it takes constant practice. I’ll be honest, you’ll find some days will be easier than others. Some seasons are easier than others (summer break is NOT easy). But, if you are serious about wanting Work + Life harmony, then you need to get serious about how you structure your time!