There are many careers that allow you to come home and completely forget about your work; there are also many careers that do not provide this luxury. When life happens and you need to balance your career, home life (cooking, cleaning, children, etc.), relationships, and maybe even a second job or education, it can be difficult to prioritize. Here is how I suggest prioritizing and managing everything in your crazy, hectic lives.
Make a list based on deadline – It’s important to make a to-do list, but sometimes a to-do list with 30 tasks becomes so overwhelming that it’s useless. Make a list of what needs to get done, and put those tasks in order by deadline. This will allow you to successfully prioritize.
Folders – It can become difficult to remember everything you need to be keeping track of. That’s why organization is key! I’m a big fan of folders and utilize them every chance I can. Create folders on your desktop and organize them by topic (banking, taxes, work, photos, upcoming events, etc.) In addition to utilizing folders on your computer, create folders in your email with similar titles. I find it helpful to also create a folder for every vacation and event coming up, so when it comes time to head out, I have all of the needed information in one place. I also have a folder within my email that includes receipts for each year. That way every online purchase I make is easy to find in my receipt folder.
Write it down – A rule of thumb for me in my professional and personal life, is to write things down the minute they happen. So for example, if someone invites you to an event, put it in your calendar right when you hear about it. If you have a deadline, write it down right when you learn of the deadline. This prevents last minute breakdowns and helps your life become much more manageable.
Set aside time for yourself – “You” time is very important and no matter what you have going on in your life, setting aside that time for yourself is always necessary. Find an activity that puts your mind at ease, and partake for 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours... Whether it’s yoga, crafting, walking, spending time at the gym, drawing, writing…whatever it may be, do it! If it is hard to find that time in your schedule, draw out your schedule, find a place where it can realistically fit, and commit to it on a weekly, or daily basis. It takes 21 days to form a new habit, so stick with it for a month, and soon, taking care of yourself will come naturally, despite your busy schedule.
When you have the time, take it – It seems our cars always get low on gas when we have a long drive ahead of us, our appliances break when we don’t have the time or energy to fix them, we never have the time to shop for a gift when a friend’s birthday is quickly approaching, and we don’t have the appropriate outfit in our closet for an event. That’s why it’s important to always look ahead and see how you can get ahead when you have free time. Put gas in your car when you have a free moment, buy that little black dress you don’t think you need right now, buy that gift that you know your friend will love, even if his/her birthday isn’t for a couple of months... Getting ahead like this can make stressful times much easier.
Free up your Sunday - Errands never end, so if you are able to clear your schedule on a Sunday, spend the day, or half the day getting ahead for the week. Spend Sunday mornings grocery shopping, washing your car, scheduling your week. It’s the best time to get prepared and set the tone for the week.
P.S. Don’t forget amongst all of this “responsible living” to have fun, stop to smell the roses, and appreciate all of the wonderful things you have going on in your life.