Trying to balance work and a personal life can be difficult. I have been learning this fact more and more. If you are like me; a busy young professional trying to balance a personal life with a pregnant wife, a preteen child and graduate school, I have a few tricks to share.
The main thing I can say, that has helped me, is time management. Not the cliche’ type of time management you may hear from some motivational video. Real-time management. I have personalized my calendar in time blocks.
There are a few time block studies out there, all you really have to do is google time blocking, but the theme here is to give every hour a job. It’s important to take into account your energy levels throughout the day before you go blocking in items every 30 minutes. You may end up overbooking yourself.
I suggest you first start with your hours available in the day. My hours total are from 4:15AM through 10:00PM. I know that my mind is still foggy the first 30 minutes or so when I wake up, so I block off this first hour(ish) time slot from 4:15AM-5:00AM for a shower, to make a fresh pot of french pressed coffee, to water and walk the dogs and download my emails for the day. This takes care of the things so I can really start my day. Don’t want the dogs to mess in the house, I need my coffee to operate and I need to be fresh of course. From 5:00AM-6:00AM, I am prepping the kid for school, pulling up reports for work to guide my work day. I pull up my banking information/investments and so on and then I pick up a book and read to get my mind moving.
Those are my first two time blocks for the day, and I do them without fail. The rest of my day is blocked according to my work needs, travel needs, and family needs. When I am not traveling for work, I block off time for my family from 6:00PM through 10:00PM, and then I do it all over again. During the weekends, I complete my school work and again, further family time.
You may not think that I have enough family time blocked off, or that my working block being 12 hours a day, to be too much. But it is enough for me. I think it’s better to let my family know I am working hard and to show my children that working hard is important. To really work, to be productive. This is a valuable lesson in life I don’t want to just tell them, I want them to see it in action.
This balance of work and personal time is what fits me. And that’s the main thing here. What balance fits you? What are you comfortable with? Do you want more family time? Could you reduce your working hours and still meet your families needs so you can have more time away from work? If not, then how can you arrive at that goal? Instead of just saying you can’t do it, or complaining that your work is killing you, get up and figure out how to change your situation.
Next, I will tell you, os that I have gradually reduced the hours I need to sleep. This has added a few hours to my day. My up and operating time is longer because I don’t require as much sleep. Six hours is about all an adult really needs. We hear all the time that “I need my eight” but in reality, we really don’t. It’s just we are lazy. To be honest. I didn’t adjust my time all at once, I did it over the course of a few weeks. In doing this, I have added a great deal of time to my waking hours. About 1,095 hours each year. That’s 45 days- FULL 24 hour days to my awake time. (I may not be as handsome with a few fewer hours of sleep, but its worth it.)
What would you do, with an extra month of time? Could you learn a new language? Could you take a few education courses? Could you get into shape? What about maybe just meditating? Volunteer in a project? With 1,095 hours, what would you do?