Some seasons in life are busier than others. During those seasons, it’s normal to want more time, but sadly it's not possible to fit more than twenty-four hours into a day.
No matter what season of life you’re in, it's a great idea to take inventory of what it is you're doing. The easiest way to do that is to document your daily activities. Next, take some time to analyze the list. How does it measure up with what you really want to do? Assess if you’re spending your time on the right things. Or if you're just really busy. You might even have others making your schedule. That's fine if you have a new baby. But that's not a good long-term approach. Otherwise you're neglecting yourself and what it is that you really want.
While this may sound a little boring and time-consuming, until you document the activities you're doing, you won't really know where you stand or in what season you’re living. Your brain is absolutely amazing and has the ability to compartmentalize loads of information. But when you have too much on your plate, you’re not as focused and you’re likely not using your time efficiently.
While the number of hours in each day are the same, we don't live the same lives. No one else has the same schedule, responsibilities, or commitments as you do. No one else has the same personality, relationships, job, or goals as you do either.
Grab a piece of paper and write down some of the things you want to accomplish right now. What are you working on specifically? With this in mind, customize what you would like to do to fit your current schedule. It may not be possible to accomplish all you want to do in this season of your life, and that's all right. Don't be afraid to have a "to-do later" list. It’s impossible to do everything at once.
Every season of life dictates that you use your time differently. Depending upon what commitments you already have, you may not be able to take on additional tasks. You may have to opt out of some activities. No one can do it all. Remember that saying no is a healthy, suggested way to focus on your work.
Not everything that can be done will be done daily.
Accept this and realize you must choose what’s most important for you so that you can spend the time you have wisely.
Let's Talk A Bit About Margin
Margin is where space exists in your life. When you have margin, you’re not freaked out, rushed, or stressed.
Your Limits - Your Time = Margin
We all have portions of time we fail to use as productively as possible. The challenge is to find this space in our lives and fill it without getting fatigued. You’re likely working longer hours when launching a business, working on a big project, or pursuing a new venture. This is normal during certain seasons, but keep in mind that hustling in the margins is not a long-term approach to maintaining a balanced or healthy life. During these limited times, you can use margin to make the most of your time and put in the required work.
You have to be intentional if you want to increase the amount of margin in your life. If you only have so many hours during the day as we discussed, the best way to do this is to start setting limits. You do that with a powerful concept that we often avoid: boundaries.
I know boundaries often have a negative connotation, but that really doesn't make a lot of sense. No one is mad at the person who puts the lines on a football field. We need those lines in order to play the game of football. The same logic applies to boundaries in the other areas of your life. Boundaries help keep you on track. And it's really easy to start using them. For example, I have noticed I always have low energy on Friday afternoons. I simply made a rule that I don't do meetings after 12 on Friday. This boundary helps me and it also helps my customers too. I'm not cranky or lethargic for a meeting.
What's a simple boundary you can create and put into use today?