I once heard that the city I live in has a reputation of everyone lives to work and that the city I love to vacation in has the reputation of everyone working to live. This really stuck with me because all of a sudden I realized it was true.
Here, in my hometown, everyone is always working. Work seems to be all anyone wants to talk about or do, then they do not understand why they are stressed, burning out, and want to call it quits. Work is a necessity, yes – I understand but we should all work to live and not live to work and in order to do that we will need to determine the balance between work and life.
What is balance, really?
Balance, that seems to be the trend today, doesn’t it? That everything is all about balance. Well, there is truth to that – balance is the key to everything. However; this doesn’t mean that balance is about equal parts. Having 50/50 balance between work and home life is not going to happen, and I truly hope it never does happen to you! To me, that means you are spending too much time on your work and not enough time living.
To be able to maintain the balance, you first need to decide on what you want – then schedule around that. You will need to know how to better maintain time than maintaining a balance. There are so many factors on finding that work-life/home-life balance but today, I am just going to talk about time.
Time management is something that most entrepreneurs struggle with. Getting pulled into the world of distractions that are: social media, email inbox, and “multi-tasking”. (I put that in quotes because I think multi-tasking it is more of a mythical unicorn than a skill but that is a topic for another day…) When you have good time management skills you will find that there is a lot more freedom in your workday and a lot of pressure to get things done starts to subside. Why? Because you have more time, well, not really. It is the same amount of time, only with time management skills it is better spent.
Look at it this way, time is truth. The truth of time is that there are only 24 hours in a day and 60 minutes in each hour. This we cannot change, yet we are caught saying “There are not enough hours in a day.” That isn’t true, there actually are enough hours in a day – there are 24 of them! Once you accept the things you cannot change, your world becomes a whole lot better and it is that much easier to better utilize the time you do have available.
To do this, start with using only one calendar. I am willing to bet there is a good chance you have more than one or none at all. Be it a traditional planner, a wall calendar or an online calendar – one is all you need. I am guilty of previously having 4! I had Google calendar, my paper planner, the pretty one on my wall and finally my Outlook calendar. What a mess. I would put my shooting schedule in one, family schedule in another – goals in yet another, and finally the fourth was supposed to tie it all together. Ha, I can laugh now… Anyway, now I have one that I use, and one on my wall that I don’t use but it is pretty to look at…. Okay, that is the ONE acceptation to the rule. Pretty to look at, but not written on, calendars are acceptable to have as a second calendar.
(They are more art, right?)
Under plan your time.
Now, when using your calendar, try to under plan your time. What I mean by this is try to leave 5 – 10 minutes for every hour where there is nothing to be done. As a photographer, I always plan sessions and events in 1 hour and 15-minute blocks. Yet, I would ensure that each would only take an hour. With the Virtual Studio, for example, a 45-minute coaching session is always scheduled for 1 hour in my calendar. For both my photography and coaching schedule, that extra 15 minutes gives me time to recollect my thoughts, travel, and for any unexpected surprises. Doing this also allows for tasks to be done at a more relaxed pace and has proven to be a lot less stressful.
A few other things you want to keep in mind to better manage your time are to set deadlines, delegate, stay motivated, and stop multitasking! (There is that magical unicorn again!)
The Virtual Studio’s membership site will be launching a Work/Life Balance Session that will go further-in-depth into time management! be available in February 2018 so, write that down in your ONE calendar – you won’t want to miss it.
How are you going to better utilize the time you have each day?
What one calendar are you going to use moving forward? Let me know in the comments, I love hearing what systems they have in place!