Let me start off by saying, I’ve got it pretty easy. I have zero kids, and a super low maintenance cat. I work a normal full-time amount of hours, and I do not have any super-imposing life or family issues that I have to manage.
However, I am a big proponent of the idea that if you do not like your life–DO SOMETHING TO CHANGE IT. I have worked with far too many sick and dying people to ever not be appreciative of the time I have. You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control how to adapt and change to handle it.
Okay, enough with the heavy, let’s get to the point of this post.
One of my favorite blog posts that has stuck with me for a long time is How To Have It All by Stacy of Real Everything Blog (formerly Paleo Parents). I think this stuck with me because it is so simple, and so honest.
So as someone who has worked hard to build a life I love, including travel nursing while being happily married and training for a bikini competition while on the road, here are MY tips to keep your life moving in the direction you want, even when you feel overwhelmed or like there just isn’t enough time in the day.
- Make a list of things you need to get done
- Do this DAILY. Even if it’s just a mental list (although I think a physical list has a greater effect). On super busy days, write down these items. It takes 1-2 minutes and keeps you moving in the right direction.
- Prioritize your to-do list
- On work days, my priorities go in this order: Sleep, workout, healthy food. I don’t plan on doing laundry, running errands, or getting much else done because I work 13 hours, which only leaves 11 hours for driving, sleeping, gym time, cooking dinner, etc. I wrote a whole post about managing night shift schedules here.
- One thing to note: “Healthy eating” is last on the priority list not because I don’t think it’s important, but because I know in a pinch I can get decent options in my current assignment’s cafeteria at 12 am. This isn’t always the case overnight at hospitals, but I’m pretty lucky right now in that aspect.
- Stay off of social media
- I recently made a pact with myself to only use Facebook on my home computer UNLESS I have a super slow night at work, or I’m uploading pictures from my phone. This. Saves. So. Much. Time. I feel more engaged and focused, and I spend less time stressing over current events, or just mindlessly scrolling. I check Instagram and SnapChat 1-2 times a day, but those don’t suck time as much as Facebook (for me anyway).
- I got home from the grocery store yesterday, and before I even put the groceries away, I chopped up some veggies for meal prep and turned on the oven. Then, while the veggies roasted, I put the groceries away, and cleaned up the kitchen. A simply step, but otherwise I’d be waiting 20-30 minutes at some point anyway for my food to be done cooking. I do this all the time, and find ways to “stack” tasks to get them done more efficiently.
- Learn to Say “No”
- Also very hard for someone like me, and this is something I still struggle with. My coach actually challenged me one week to say “no” to one activity each week and it was SO HARD. I want to be everywhere, do everything. I HATE missing out. But practice saying no, and take that time to finish something hanging over your head, or just relax for an extra hour or two.
Overall, you just have to figure out how to stay focused. The people you see who juggle great careers, a healthy lifestyle, and still manage to have meaningful relationships aren’t blessed with a special superpower or the ability to pause time, they just know what they want, and they utilize their time to best make that happen. Look at what you want, and ask yourself if your actions are getting you closer to that, or farther away.
Cut out the fluff, and the dead space, and you’ll be amazed at how much you can get accomplished in the time you used to think didn’t even exist 😉