How I’ve Made the Best of My Time

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I’ll admit: it’s been a crazy few months for me.

Not only have I been keeping my own sleep business running, but since January I have done a boatload of work trips, managed (and still managing) a large project for Doman International, while being a staff coach for many, many families.  I also started business coaching, joined a hurling team, and am still the primary cook/cleaner at the Doman Apartment.

It can get, and did get hectic.

April came to a fever pitch and I felt worn out and completely unmotivated.  I felt completely overwhelmed and didn’t have time for the things that I needed to get done or the things that I really wanted to do.

After a very helpful sleep consultant conference (woo!) and a few days off (really off!), I came home with a fresh outlook and have started implementing some changes that I felt could be helpful to you out there.

1) I set a non-negotiable “shut down everything” time: Before April, I found myself answering emails, doing promotional things for my business, Facebook stalking, etc. etc. at 10:30pm at night and then sitting down and trying to plan my next day and feeling really stressed that the dishes hadn’t gotten done, and more.  So, I implemented a strict no emails/work after 8pm, all electronics off at 9:30pm time.  For this to work, this was something that my husband had to do as well.  And, it’s been great!  Our only exceptions to this rule are: 1) if there’s an important Philadelphia sporting match, or 2) it’s Sunday Night Football.  This was something that we could both agree on.  But, even during this time – no emails, no phones, no work.  That’s our time to enjoy.

2) 9:30pm – I have a nighttime routine: At this time, when all the electronics are shut off, I sit down and create my schedule for the next day.  I look at my priorities, see what needs to happen, and get it on paper.  I tidy up real quick, make sure the dishes are done, and then start my bedtime routine.  I instantly put out my clothes for the next morning, and then I’m in bed by 10pm.  I follow the same routine every single night, as best as possible.

3) 6:30am – I start my morning routine: this was surprisingly difficult to maintain at first, I’ll admit.  And the reason for this is because my morning routine is made for me to be most productive.  However, this meant no checking emails, keep my phone off, no checking Facebook.  I made a clear rule for myself – these things are for later in the day.  My mornings now are my time to work out, work on business outreach, and special projects, and for writing (like I’m doing right now, haha!).  P.S. – do the math here and see how much sleep I’m getting.  Another important thing for relieving stress.

4) I delegate! My time is precious and cannot be wasted: I think it’s safe to say that most women have the feeling that they can do everything and they have to do everything.  I’ll admit – I’m a bit of a perfectionist and like things done a certain way.  But, I really had to ask myself if I wanted to keep spending my time doing ALL 3 meals, doing ALL the laundry, doing ALL the dishes, and other household chores.  Wasn’t that time that I could be focusing on more important things? So, I started to delegate.  And, helping around the house as been something that my dear and darling husband has been asking to do for a while.  But, I didn’t let him.  I convinced myself I could do everything.  But I couldn’t.  And I got stressed and resentful.  So, I delegated household chores and meals.  And it’s made a big difference.  That’s another 2+ hours of my day to do much more productive things.  As a couple, we’re happier because we’re more of a team than ever.  And, I’ve taken the same approach with my other work as well.  I ask myself – is this something that I have to handle? Or, is it something that can be delegated to the right person?  Just to stop and think about this has been a life saver.

5) I set certain days for certain projects, and I don’t get it all done in one sitting: One thing that made me feel really stressed was looking at a project and thinking that I had to get it all done in one go.  And, that would make me avoid the things that I had to do.  The end goal was so far off.  But, one big change that I made was choosing days of the week where priority would be more on sleep, or other work.  On those day, I pick parts of projects to do and take comfort in the fact that I am getting these little chunks done.  And you know what? Since starting this, I revamped the way I write emails to clients, updated my website, automated workflows for my co-workers, and got things rolling on a new sleep program that I’ve been wanting to do for a while.  You don’t HAVE to do the whole she-bang in one go.  Taking little steps and achieving small goals towards the end result is motivating and takes a huge burden off your back.

This all boils down to this one statement: Having clear boundaries kept me out of resentment

I realized in myself that I started to wear my stress and lack of time as a badge of honor and was starting to used it as an excuse to not get done the things that had been on my list for so long.  When I finally looked at myself and got clear about my boundaries, I realized I had a lot more time than I thought.  For the longest time I worked every single day, without rest.  And, that’s because I had convinced myself that I couldn’t take a day off.  But, when I finally got clear about my time boundaries I realized that I could afford it, and that the time I was “spending” on work wasn’t really as productive as I thought it was.

And this has been really helpful.  Sometimes, you have to step away from what you’re doing so that you can approach it again with new eyes.

It’s not a quantity thing, but QUALITY – the things that you are doing, are you doing them with the best quality you can?  And, are you making sure that YOUR time is of the best quality too?

I hope that these tips and my own personal findings can be helpful to you, and I hope that these lifestyle changes that I have implemented can help you to find balance.