Hi Friends! Today’s post has been in the works for quite some time. I expressed a desire to you all through my Instagram and stories for better time management and balance in my routine, and more dedication to my own personal wellness. When I say wellness, I don’t mean simply working out as many people traditionally set as their New Year resolution, but self-care. This includes more work life balance, a guarantee of personal time, and not overloading myself with too many commitments. Many of you expressed similar struggles and a curiosity in what practices I’ve implemented to help with this. I am still on the journey, but thought I would share some things that have helped me better manage my daily to-dos and ensure I’m taking care of health and making time for my self.
Let me start by telling you where I was at prior to the start of 2018 and why I expressed a desire for more balance in my life. Keep in mind, what I’m about to tell you is still very much my story today, I’ve just learned how to better manage the balance and expectations of others as it relates to my commitments. I currently work full-time and blog full-time, both are 40+ hour commitments a week. In my full-time job, I am a partner at an interior design company, where it is just myself and one other person managing thousands of dollars in interior portfolios. My blog is my passion, and though I’m very proud of where it has grown today, I always feel like there are opportunities for growth and therefore time needed to commit to building my brand. After all, you can always be shooting content, editing, and writing blog posts because it’s an endless cycle.
At home, I have two french bulldogs that need to be cared for and an amazing husband who is extremely supportive, but also requires my presence and time from me. That in and of itself is a difficult balance because both of my jobs require ‘non-presence’ from him. At the end of each day, I found myself completely exhausted because I had given too much of myself throughout the day that couldn’t engage in conversation. In truth, I would have been fine sitting in silence and not talking to anyone else the rest of the night. Not a good nightly routine, IMO. The fourth piece of the pie is myself, which when looking at the complete pie is easiest to take time from because I want to make everyone else in my life the biggest pieces of the pie. BUT, what I have determined after a lot of thought and internal rational is that I can’t give my best to the other 3 pieces of the pie unless I’m giving to myself first, not long-term anyways. Can anyone else relate with this struggle and constant cycle?
I knew something had to change, and the only way to care for everyone else was to care for myself first. I decided the beginning of 2018 was a new start, and therefore a time where I could implement new practices that wouldn’t bog me down and feel depleted at the end of each day. If you can relate with this story, I recommend you work at implementing some of the practices below into your routine. Start small, changing one thing at a time, and you’ll be surprised the relief of pressure you will feel. I’m so much happier and laid back letting things go knowing I can’t always do everything.
- Learn how to turn it off – This one is so difficult for me, truly. I always think “if only I could finish this one last thing.” What I’ve now come to realize is, it can wait. The world will not come crashing down if I don’t finish everything on my to-do list, and if I miss posting on my Instagram then all my followers are not going to unfollow me. Realizing the world will not end is difficult, but I had to find peace to stop and return to the task the next day. One thing that has helped significantly is writing up the next day’s to-do list at the end of each day. That way I prioritize what truly needs to get done and sometimes it even makes my list feel smaller than what my head feels. It also gives me a starting point for the next day so that I’m productive, jump right in and don’t waste time.
- Get more sleep, drink more water – I never feel better than when I’ve had a full nights rest and stay hydrated throughout the day, and that is because it’s what your body neeeeds. Don’t deplete it because it will only bog you down over time.
- Make a daily commitment to something for yourself – for me this is my workouts, for you it might be reading a passage in the bible, catching up on the morning news, getting a mani/pedi. Whatever it is, commit to yourself and reward yourself for all you are doing. I’ve heard from many of you that you have a hard time committing to a daily workout and that you find yourself backing out at the last second. I could do a whole another post on how to stay committed to working out but I’ll give you a quick tip that seems obvious, but partner with a friend. Ask someone to meet you for a workout class, join a fitness program together. This will keep you both accountable to showing up and making it a priority.
- Set expectations and admit that you ‘can’t’– this is probably the hardest thing on the list for me. Can’t isn’t in my vocabulary, and whether it’s a pride thing or a will-power thing (it’s probably a pride thing), it tears me up to tell someone I don’t have enough time to meet a deadline or I simply can’t do what they’ve asked me to do. I’m a yes man, and I badly want to make everyone think I can do it all. At the end of the day, I’m human, you’re human, and you ‘can’t’ do it all. If you don’t have time for something, or if they’ve set an unreasonable deadline, tell them “I have A, B, and C to get done so this isn’t going to be done until ______.” If you set expectations appropriately, they won’t be disappointed.
- Say ‘No’ more often – This relates to number 4, but don’t commit to too much and you won’t feel overloaded. I know how it feels to FOMO, that is me on a weekly basis, but it’s okay if you miss that cocktail hour or friend’s dinner date. They’ll understand. If you have too much on your plate then learn to say ‘no’ and not commit to anything else.
- Dedicate some time to sit and do nothing – this one is self explanatory, everyone needs downtime to sit on the couch and be a lazy potato!
- Use Google calendar– this has been huge for me lately because it not only sets a schedule for myself, but it sets expectations with everyone around me. If they’re asking me to do something or be somewhere, they can simply look at my shared calendar and see why I’m not able to answer the phone, respond to an e-mail etc. It also let’s Drew know what is going on work-wise so he has expectations of my time commitments, especially after normal work hours. Most importantly, it takes the pressure and urgency out of myself to get something done. Instead of thinking “oh no, I need to pick up this call” I now think “They’ll understand why I’m not answering because I’m in this appointment.” It’s been a huge relief of getting everyone on the same page and realizing I can’t be/do everything at one time.
- Remember what is important – This is probably the most important thing on the list. When you find yourself struggling and bothered internally that you have so much to do, remember what is important and prioritize those things. For me, it’s Drew and family. After all, that’s what the blog and my job are meant to support. If I find myself dedicating too much to the work side of the pie, I just remind myself to chill out and enjoy the moment because life will go on but missed moments will never return. This will be even more true when we have kids. It’s important for me to be present and soak up the moment and not get too wrapped up in a list of to-dos. Sometimes you just have to learn to let it go, and be content in that.
I hope these tips help push you to commit to yourself. Life is too short to go through life feeling overwhelmed and unhappy. Eventually you are going to burn out, so it’s important to care for yourself before committing to all other pieces of the pie! Let me know your thoughts on this post in the comment section below. I want to be more intentional and personal about the content I’m sharing with you guys so would love to know what you think and want to see more of. Thank you for your support! Xoxo.