The creative person is never short on ideas. We produce ideas like Hershey’s produces kisses.
But when it comes to time? Now there’s something we always seem short on.
But then one day I had as close to what could be considered an epiphany as I’d ever had before. It was a few years ago now and it hit me so profoundly that it literally changed my whole outlook on life and what was possible for mine, all in that moment. The groundbreaking concept: we all have 24 hours is a day. I know, I know — it’s a bit concerning that this was news to me. But it was actually the context in which I framed this fact that profoundly changed my life.
Before I had framed the sentence like this: I only have 24 hours in a day. As if somehow others had a secret to how they were getting 26 hours, or 29 hours, or 33 hours from their days. As if somehow time hadn’t been distributed fairly.
But this time I felt as though the sentence was saying: We all have the same 24 hours in a day. Oprah, The President, and even YOU.
None of us are just creatives or business owners. We are mothers and wives, girlfriends and sisters. We are needed in capacities that far extend what we do within our businesses.
In that moment, I made a conscious choice to be more fully engaged in the rest of my life. Here’s how it was done.
1. SCHEDULES & CURFEWS.
I had to get real… Super Woman doesn’t live at my house and while I can masquerade around like her for a while, eventually the toll will take its place. So I began setting expectations for myself starting with my habit of pulling all-nighters. I have to admit, I do kind of enjoy them but I know I won’t enjoy looking old and haggard by the time I’m 40! So I set myself a curfew & a schedule. Here’s what it looks like:
M – Work Hours: 7:45 to 2:30 (while the kids are at school) | Family Night
T – Work Hours: 7:45 to 2:30 | Break from 2:30 to 8:15pm | Creative Night. This is my night to work on all of my big idea projects. I can stay up as late as I want — often with a quart of ice cream and a spoon.
W – Growth projects and me time | Errands & Activities Day
Th – Work Hours: 7:45 to 2:30 | Chore Day in the House
F – Work Hours: 7:45 to 2:30 | Family Movie Night
Sa – Family Time / House Projects | Date Night
Su – The Sabbath Day ~ A day of rest
2. DEFINE YOUR BALANCE.
What does balance look like for you? We spend so much time talking about balance, wishing for balance, but have you ever defined your version of balance? What would balance really look like in your life? Ask yourself the following questions so that you can define your aim.
- Am I getting enough sleep to be able to function in a balanced state (i.e. 8 hours)?
- Am I exercising regularly so that I feel charged, unstressed, and empowered?
- A typical balanced day would include…
- Priorities I’m not willing to sacrifice are…
- Have I allowed too many activities & over-scheduling to hurt our family time?
- To truly feel balance, I would need this in my life…
- Is my business scheduled around the life I want to live or the other way around?
3. MAKE EVERY DAY THE DAY BEFORE VACATION.
It’s amazing how much can be accomplished the day before vacation! Have you ever noticed that? Once, the day before leaving to speak at a conference, I found out I needed to pull and prepare 2 years worth of financial docs for the house we were buying. They needed it in 3 days but since I was leaving, I only had one.
When I wrote out that to-do list it was huge—an entire sheet of paper. Over 30 items, none of which were simple, many of which required me to leave the house. I got to work; there was no other option. They had to be done because it was the day before leaving. And guess what, every single item on that list was crossed off before 8 pm. So I even had time to snuggle and watch a movie with the Mr. before leaving early the next morning.
What could happen if you tackled your to-do list like it was the day before vacation?
These three tips have done wonders for me and I know they will for you too, as long as you’re willing to give them a try. When you do, let me know how it goes.
PS Check out a related post about moving past “overwhelm” in your business