When I was new at one of my former companies, one of the first people I met told me something that really stuck with me. She had been with the company for 20 years and advised me that it's very easy to be busy, there will always be something urgent, and your to do lists will never be completely cleared out, and so it was always best to prioritize the things that mattered most. And she wasn't just talking about work. It was about identifying and making time for the things that were most important to you in life, like family, your health and your personal passions. She had made the mistake of throwing herself into her work and then realizing 20 years later that her kids were all grown up and she had not spent enough time with them. Regret is always a terrible thing.
Today people speak of the "busy-ness epidemic". Our biggest heroes are the self-made millionaires who seem to be masters at work-life balance: they're leaders of successful businesses, they're amazing parents, they're fit, they're philanthropists, they know how to party, and they have time to tweet about it. It seems that to do well in life, one must be extremely busy. Busy, in this day and age, is a status symbol.
But time and energy are limited resources. And for many of us who live and work in Metro Manila, we spend a couple of hours getting ready in the morning, another 1-2 hours in traffic and 8 to 10 hours at work, after which we'll only have another 4-6 hours to get home, eat dinner, interact with loved ones, catch up on Netflix, then be in bed in time to have at least 6 hours of sleep. Indeed, how do you sneak in time for exercise, or meal planning, or even just finishing that book you bought 6 months ago?
Sort your big rocks from the small pebbles, your must do's from the nice-to-do's. Figure out and focus on the things that are most meaningful to you (or to your business) and that truly make an impact towards your goals and passions. Make your health one of these priorities, and make time for a good home-cooked meal, movement, enough sleep, fun and relaxation.
Block off your calendar and set up reminders.
If there's one app I really use and appreciate, it's the calendar. Because I have a lot on my plate, if it's not on my calendar, then it doesn't exist. So it works for me to actually block off my calendar not just for work, but for personal things, like brunch with friends, going to my boxing class, or taking the cat to the groomers.
Get things done in 15 minutes.
It's amazing what you can accomplish in 15 minutes: a complete workout, a couple of chapters of a book, sorting laundry and getting the first load in the washing machine, a bit of play time with kids....Everyone has 15 minutes. Carve out some 15-minute chunks of time from your day and use them wisely.
Try a social media fast.
According to the Global Digital 2018 report, Filipinos spent over 9 hours online everyday and are #1 (for the 3rd year in a row!) in terms of time spent on social media: 3 hours and 57 minutes, in fact. If we were to think about the time we spend on Facebook or Instagram, or watching Youtube, or browsing random articles online, that probably amounts to quite a lot. Impose a device or social media fast so you can disconnect from the online world and free up time to deal with those big rocks on your priority list.
We will always have the same 24 hours and 7 days a week. Let's not let our own busy-ness prevent us from actually getting important things done.