4 simple ways to work smarter & feel better in the age of busy
How’s your balancing act going?
For my coaching clients, one common place of struggle is balancing multiple responsibilities while still finding time and energy for self-care and healthy eating.
Most of them have very full lives, both at home and work. Many have kids…and many run their own businesses – sometimes as a second job. Balancing everything and everyone isn’t easy, to say the least!
I SO get this. In addition to running my own business, I teach full-time as a Chinese Medicine instructor and am helping develop the college's new nutrition program. I can't fathom adding parenting to the mix – it’s hard enough keeping up with my two siamese cats!
The “perfect” balance is dynamic and responsive.
it changes over time.
That said, ONE way I work with it is to carve out times specifically for my own business.
I also keep creative, administrative and client work separate. They are synergistic and feed each other, for sure. But they also involve being in different “flows,” and cross-flow multi-tasking makes me way stressed and way less effective.
Again, this shifts over time…but at present, the times I’ve carved out for my business look like this:
- Every morning for 30-60 minutes in bed with bulletproof tea (after first taking a 3-minute cold shower and doing a 15-minute breath and movement practice): This is creative "playtime" (NOT time for administrative tasks or client work...or for big creative projects, just little ones). It's also when I check email, Facebook and Insta, interacting and connecting there.
- A few hours each afternoon, Monday through Thursday, plus all afternoon on Fridays: I block these out in my calendar. Sometimes they need to be administrative; other times they are for bigger creative projects (website design and blog posts, for instance); other times they are for client sessions. I keep all this (and my teaching life) organized using Asana (a free project management tool) and Evernote (a free app for note taking, list making and such).
- Saturdays and Sundays I don't do any direct work with clients but usually do other tasks (especially creative stuff) for my business. This is optional "fun" time, without pressure.
- Throughout the week, I have separate blocks carved out for teaching, teaching prep and curriculum development.
Four more big things...
- Thing One: My 15-minute, morning-time yoga practice (the "5 Tibetans") and my longer, evening-time yoga practice (at home or in class) are non-negotiable, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This feeds my body, mind, spirit. It is the anchor for every other aspect of my life, including teaching, coaching and my business.
- Thing Two: I NEVER work while eating lunch or dinner. And I never work after dinner. This is essential to my wellbeing and to avoiding burnout (all the more so given that I work 7 days a week and have a packed line-up). The result: my “on” time with clients and other work is way more effective.
- Thing Three: A key piece is doing ONE thing at a time. This does WONDERS for alleviating stress, anxiety and "rushing" energy. It also helps me get more done that's of higher quality.
- Thing Four: I honour and protect my non-working, off time. Also my time alone. I need this. It is vital not just to me, but to the integrity of my work and how I show up for others in all parts of my life.
Feel as though you're balancing too much? Even if your schedule doesn't look anything like mine, I encourage you to play with the "spirit" of it:
- Carve out separate creative, administrative and client times (or whatever categories make sense for you).
- Make some of those times light, playful and low-stress (that can be an excellent way to stay motivated when working evenings, weekends or other times you'd rather be off).
- Protect your off time (both for your sake, and to better serve every person and thing in your life).
- Develop a daily practice that is non-negotiable (doesn't have to be yoga – find what works for you).
- Don't work during meals (your mental state and metabolism will thank you).
- Do one thing at a time (even if it means checking less off your list).
Have other balancing tips to share? Meet me in the comments!