How do I manage everything I have to do outside of work, when work takes up so much of my time?
Last Updated: 05/25/2021 at 4:11pm
Jennifer Geib, LCSWR
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You're a dedicated worker and want to be at your best all the time.. But you also want to make sure your outside life is also to plan.
PRIORITIZE - This is the key word to managing all the things you have on your plate. Time is the most precious asset we have in our lives and we owe it to ourselves to manage the use of it well. When work takes up most of the time we have in our days, we are left to deal with all other responsibilities in what time we have left over and with less energy since a lot of that gets consumed in work. My experience has been that trying to manage everything leaves me with the feeling that I have not done anything satisfactorily. When you prioritize, you focus most of your energy on the things that are most important to you. If you find yourself stretched too thin, maybe it's time to reevaluate all the things you are trying to do. If in fact everything is unavoidable, then get as much help as you can.
Plan! It sounds easier said than done, but if you take a step back, a few deep breaths and look at everything from an outside point of view, you'd be surprised how much *spare* time you have. Calculate that. Say, if you work, including travel and getting up from 7AM-6PM, that's 11 hours of your day. There's still another 13. Take out around 8 hours for sleeping, that's still 5 hours you have spare. Minus cooking time and getting changed after work, you're still on 3 hours a day. It may not seem like a lot, but it's enough to watch a good movie, unwind on the sofa and talk to people! :)
You can manage everything, by making a good, well supported plan and time management. This means that you should make a list of activities which you need to do, after work. Then list them by priority, Than take action to finish your plan.
It's definitely really hard to, especially when work takes up so much of your time. You should always try to keep yourself busy and get something done, even if, say, you're on the bus for 15 minutes. Use every minute of the day! :) I know it isn't as simple as it sounds. Never forget that your own physical/emotional well-being is just as important as these tasks :)
I struggle with this a lot, and I find that I have to really actively manage this to make sure I can get it done. There are a few things I do. - Make a list of everything that has to get done and then evaluate if any of them are 'optional' or are longer term to narrow my list to what absolutely must get done - Assign myself a manageable number for each day. I find I'm more likely to get through it all and do it all well if I don't try to over-fill more than necessary - Do the same thing for work to figure out if I can put a hard stop on what time I leave the office or if there are things that feel important, but might be able to be delayed - Make sure to schedule myself at least a little bit of 'self-care' time during the week, whether it's working out, seeing a friend, reading a book, whatever I need to re-energize myself since I don't do anything productively when I am too exhausted Hope that helps!
Set aside specific times to do certain tasks. You don't have to do everything in one day. Prioritizing really helps. Taking time for yourself can get you refocused and re-energized as well.
Make sure to have at least 2 hours a day put aside to do hobbies and have time to relax, this doesn't have to be a 2 hour block period, can be four 30 minute blocks but have time to yourself
Work and play are often difficult to balance, because many people view work as more important than recreation. In fact, a short break and occasionally, an extended one helps to refresh the mind and promote greater efficiency. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! Go out and see the world!
Talk to your boss about better spacing between shifts/days. It's also important to take "mental health days", so that you are able to not only work on other aspects of your life, but give your brain a rest from all the stress.
Create a schedule for everything that you do in a day, make sure to add personal time in it. Follow the schedule and stick to it. That will give you time for work and personal time.
In my own experience, it's important to say no at work to make sure to keep enough time for yourself outside of it. :) To be more efficient with the "to-do" outside of work, best is to have a list handy with a list of what you want to get done. It definitely helps to get things done faster, as soon as you come back from work or when you get up during the weekend you can go on with getting them done asap without having to think about WHAT you want to get done in the first place. But definitely, make sure you have enough time for yourself outside of work. Even if it feels like you can't say no to something or you can't refuse to help for something. You always can. Be sure of that. :)
I have a diary, I make sure to fit what I can in, in the evenings are my best to do things and I make sure to have at least one hour to myself.
Life balance is difficult at every stage of life. I personally deal with this every day! Consider prioritizing and scheduling tasks in conjunction with small breaks and self-rewards. If you're able, ask for help from loved ones, colleagues and friends when things get stressful.
Time management is the best answer and often easier said than done. I would suggest getting a planner and a calendar to keep track of events, work schedules on the calendar, and assignments in the planner. Often a lot planners will have both weekly/monthly planning and will say so on the front. If it helps, plan out the whole day for example: 1. Breakfast (Yogurt and fruit!) 2. Shower 3. Work on _______ assignment before heading to class 4. Class from -:-- to -:-- 5. Class from -:-- to -:-- 6. Study at the library + grab a quick snack 7. Lunch 8. Meet up with Alex 9. Workout for 30 mins/Take a course 10. Get ready for work + have dinner .... etc. Before you know it, you'll have a really clear idea of where you need to be spending your time and it will be satisfying to cross off really easy things (showering, eating, etc.) while you are working towards your bigger goals. Hope this helped!
Its all about prioritising. No work is useless or more than important. Every work as its placement and timing. The issue comes when we overstep the important to Urgency, thats when , one tends to hurry up and forget the sense of time and get into chaos. At times, we also tend to do those works that are easy to perform and leave the hard ones for later, when we feel confident . But it never happens . The hard ones consume more effort, knowledge and more energy/resources etc. So its best to work on the hard ones first. Prioritise, action it, relax.
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