Trying to manage everything in our day-to-day lives is one of the biggest, dynamic balancing acts we confront.
Whether you’re starting a business, a working parent, managing a major entry into your career while in school, or balancing any number of key roles, you know that life tends to easily become hard to manage.
The work-life balance becomes blurred, you feel helpless in confronting your list of tasks, and stress becomes overwhelming.
However, reaching the success you envision for yourself only comes from grabbing your life by the reins and taking charge.
The extent that you are able to do that is based on your ability to manage your scarce time and turn problems into opportunities to achieve your life goals.
Otherwise, you may find yourself as part of the 92% of people who are unable to meet their long-term goals.
If you’re interested in identifying your goals and opportunities so you never wondering what to do next to achieve your dreams, check out the Project OTY process.
That being said, you’re likely wondering:
How can I better manage my life?
Managing life comes from managing time.
The time we have is time we can’t recreate.
The more we work to manage time, the more life falls into place. We get our to-do list done, goals met and dreams built.
As a result, many of the ways to manage your life better, are intimately tied to developing strong time management skills across all areas of life.
When you can manage your time at work, you are better able to set boundaries, leave work at work and dedicate time effectively to other areas of your life (family, relationships, passion projects, business ventures, etc).
Beyond that, there are many vital life skills to understand how to manage your mindset, obstacles, and stress to keep control of the life you’re building for yourself.
Here are five ways to manage life for a more consistent work-life balance and life wins.
1. Be selective with what you choose to do.
You have the same number of hours in your day as Bill Gates. Time is the rarest resource in your daily life, next to money.
Money can be made – time cannot.
You cannot feasibly do everything. You cannot succeed by committing yourself to always doing it all. This is a recipe for stress and burnout.
Instead, identify the fact that you need to be selective and understand what you need to “star” in your to-do list to get done.
Ask yourself: If these items don’t get done, who will be able to complete them in my place? How mission-critical are they?
Select the tasks that are most reliant on you and delegate other time-sensitive tasks that can have others’ input.
If you’re cutting a wire to diffuse the detonator, and only you have the knowledge – it makes sense to delegate folding the laundry to anyone else who can do so.
The difference between these two tasks is major, but not always clear-cut in our day-to-day life. Select the tasks that rely on you with urgency. Leave the rest for when it’s realistic to complete.
2. Habitualize a routine that aligns with your life.
It’s not enough to build a routine.
Even if your morning routine is a carbon copy of the habits of a 9-figure business mogul, your routine works to the extent that it matches your ideal life and is something you can consistently follow.
Your routine is an indicator of how each day is conducted for the rest of your life.
If you refine your routine and create long-standing habits through consistency, you have the ability to change the trajectory of your day that has an effect on all your tomorrows.
Create a routine that reflects the habits that you want to happen in your “ideal day.”
If you want to meditate and exercise in the morning, build a timeline in the morning that includes all of those parts and pieces. If you want to write a book, set aside time each day to write a page or two of your manuscript.
Create your routine in your day to best support the ideal day you have in your mind’s eye and the goals you want to achieve.
Don’t lead your day with habits and tasks that bring no value to your life’s bottom line. Not only does that add extra overwhelm with potentially unnecessary tasks, but that doesn’t support motivation.
A disconnect in your daily habits and routines keeps you from being consistent.
Your routine must then be engrained in your day through consistently practicing and applying your choice habits.
Related: How to Master Consistency
3. Audit your life activities.
If you run into the classic “I don’t know where the time went”, several times during the week, this exercise is essential.
Understanding where and how your time is allocated throughout the day, helps you to understand where to focus your time and “trim” unnecessary activities.
For many, auditing the day might bring you into a greater understanding of how much screen time you incur.
Throughout the day, every hour, make a list of what you do and how long you spend doing it.
Alternatively, you can look at systems to help you save time – such as the app Toggl, which allows you to track the time you spend on projects and tasks. Rescue Time sends you weekly reports on what steals your time and helps you from becoming distracted.
Audit yourself for several days to get an understanding of reoccurring patterns that cause you to get sucked in a poor time management cycle.
- What are you spending the most time on?
- Can the tasks you identify be automated in some form?
- Can you condense or time-batch what you do?
Meanwhile, identify the parts of your day that serve you. This includes understanding when you feel most productive (early riser vs. night owl) and what activities you see as most beneficial for your personal or work bottom line.
4. Identify systems that will save you hours of time.
Many major inventions help with some element of time.
Time is the consistent variable in everyone’s lives. We are all born with the same number of hours in a day.
Much of what we encounter in our daily lives is invented to help, relating to time.
Save time: Google, internet, microwaves, email, website builders (Shopify, Squarespace)
Buy time: Personal assistant, chatbots, storage units, employees, etc.
Every day, a new system and tool come into being that are aimed to reduce complexity in our day-to-day tasks and better manage our time.
Humanity has come a long way from doing long mathematical calculations solely with pen and paper.
However, 40 hours in a week still doesn’t feel like enough time to get everything done within the workweek.
How is this possible?
With email and notifications automatically streaming in – technology has a habit of sucking you into a vortex of poor time management.
Systems and tools that save time, have a possibility of turning into attention hogs as well.
Not only is it important to realize how far systems bring us in achieving anything faster than ever before. It’s also critical to understand what system helps you manage time, without distracting you further.
Besides removing your desktop notification, message pings, and other distracting popups, look into apps and systems that save you time.
Forest is a great app to actively practice the Pomodoro technique in different time increments while removing distractions to focus on work and tasks.
5. Give yourself breaks.
The secret to managing your life and levels of stress and anxiety – is allowing yourself breaks.
According to an article in Fast Company, you should aim to take a break between every 75-90 minute work session. This allows your brain to regroup on information and return refreshed to the job at hand.
A study at Baylor University surveyed administrative workers and found that breaks allowed workers to report fewer health issues, such as eye strain or back pain, as well as higher satisfaction in their work.
While it may seem counterintuitive – taking a break allows you to recharge your mental and physical “batteries” in order to achieve more when you return.
This applies across all areas of life, whether managing chores at home or working on a task for your boss.
You Have the Ability to Manage Your Life
Your life is in your hands.
If you don’t make time to achieve the goals you have set in the various areas of your life, the person most affected is you.
You are the main character in your story and our team believes you have every right to a purpose-driven and confident life.
If you’re curious about additional points on life and high-performance (which we feel you might be from reading this article), we encourage you to check out the articles below:
How to Set Visions for an Impactful Life
Seven Habits You Need to Know for High Performance
It’s up to us to determine how we use those hours to manage our time and effectively, our lives.