I know what it feels like to have a million things going on at once. Work and study. Two (or sometimes three) jobs. I grew up watching my mum working full time whilst doing a psychology degree and being a single parent. Full steam ahead with a million things going on at one time seemed like the natural progression for me!
And whilst being ‘busy’ isn’t a state of being that I aspire to be in all the time, (my current focus is on working smarter, not harder – Slowly, I’m getting there!), when you are doing what you love and amazing opportunities start to align, sometimes you can find ourself wondering how you are going to fit everything in. Sure, sometimes you simply have to politely decline in order to ensure you are devoting the due time and energy to the things that matter most, but sometimes the universe sends you a bigger parcel than expected and all you can do in that moment is just go for it! Be open to receiving and ride the amazing wave which you have been served.
For the past year, I have been juggling full-time work, part-time study, a blog and a coaching business. And yes, ‘balance’ has been key. Don’t get me wrong; there have been times where it all felt too much and I had to pull back, have a little sook or take a moment to curse my curious, seeking personality who thrives of more, more, more! But there have also been a few invaluable tools and lessons that I have relied on over that period of time to help me stay aligned with my vision and manage overwhelm (as much as possible). I get asked quite a bit – “how do you manage all that?” or “how do you fit it all in?”. So I thought I would share a few of my handy go-to’s in the hope that they may too help you in your own mission of world domination!
- I don’t watch TV. In fact, I don’t own a TV. When Shane and I moved back to Australia last year, we moved up here and couldn’t afford to get a new one straight away so we just held off. We had been without one whilst travelling for a year, so figured we wouldn’t miss it. And over time we decided not to get one at all. It is actually one of the best decisions we have ever made. When we are home and not working or studying, we are reading, in the ocean, listening to music or doing something else we love. No more time wasted in front of the box by accident. When we want to watch a program, we watch it on the laptop. Because we want to watch it and not because it just happens to be on and we need something to distract us from real life!
- I force myself to take time off. I knew very well that I wouldn’t be doing any big trips within our first year back home, so I decided to take random annual leave days from my full time job whenever I needed it over the course of the year. Time to either catch-up on study or my business, or simply to have my own little day retreat down at the beach on a weekday when I had the beach to myself. Scheduling in down days in your calender is imperative to keeping your creativity up, your commitment strong, and your body thriving. Self care has to be your main priority – without me and my own health and wellbeing, there is no blog, there is no business, and there is no point.
- Clean space = Clear mind. I am a big believer in that our physical environment is a direct reflection of our internal state. So you will often see me taking 10 minutes out of my day to remove all clutter from my desk, combine all my scattered notes into one single list, sweeping the floor or simply emptying the rubbish bins, before I actually start doing any work for the day. This means that when I do sit down to do work, I am free from distraction and the physical space around me supports the mental clarity I hope to harness in my work. Focused intention is key for efficiency. I also find it helps to light a candle when I am sitting down to write or complete a certain task that requires a lot of my energy, to signify that whilst the candle is burning, I am only to focus on this one thing.
- I never pretend to have more time that I do. When you are already balancing a number of roles and responsibilities, the worst thing you can do is communicate to someone that you have more time up your sleeve than you really do. Managing people’s expectations is key, and being honest and open with those who rely on you and want to work with you is truly the only way to go, without digging yourself into a deeper hole. Don’t over commit, and always have a clear idea on how much time you really do have free.
- I don’t skimp on sleep. Staying up later today and getting a little bit more done, means I will definitely get a lot less done tomorrow. Know your boundaries and work with them. Trying to work against your body’s natural rhythms and needs will always backfire! Cue burn out and fatigue!
- I schedule in my exercise at least a week in advance. I know what yoga classes are on when, and I know what I need to do when in order to get to them. Movement gives me energy, and energy is needed to live my passion. Simple as that. I also try to get my exercise done first thing in the morning if I can, so it’s out of the way. It also motivates me to go to bed earlier if I know I have to be up at 5:30am!
- No double-handling. When I get an email or social media comment that I need to reply to, I do it then and there. Putting something on a to-do list that I can do within 2 minutes is a huge waste of my time.
- I know the value of my time. When I first started working/blogging/coaching, I didn’t truly value the worth of my time. I would spend time on meaningless tasks that really offered very little value to what I was doing or where I wanted to go, and then sit there at the end of the week wondering where all my time went and why I wasn’t getting anywhere. Now, I prioritise my tasks in terms of value. Which tasks are going to get me to where I want to be? Which ones are still necessary, yet can wait until I finish the more important, meaty, life-changing tasks? As with all things, this drastically improved as my own personal level of self-love and self worth did. I’ll say it again – self-love changes everything!
- I’m super prepared with my food. Instead of spending an hour every night cooking dinner, I do it all in one hit with a solid 2-3 hours cooking session on a weekend, leaving me with 6-7 days worth of food in the fridge and freezer, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This week that looks like – A fresh batch of my granola, a slow-cooked curry, a vegetarian dish of some sort (using up all my leftover veg from the week before), roasted veg to add to salads, cooked quinoa and brown rice, boiled eggs, kiwi gelatin lollies, seed crackers, a big bowl of chimi-churri sauce to add to seafood, meat or salads, a bone broth and some lightly steamed broccolini or asparagus to keep in the fridge for snacks. In just a few hours, I can shop, cook and serve my food into one-meal portions ready for the week. Huge timesaver!
- I hit two birds with one stone. When I exercise I listen to personal development audios, inspiring interviews, books, meditation tracks – you name it! Personal development is such an important part of my life, and when I don’t get the time to sit and devour a new book or listen to my mentors, I plug in my headphones and listen as I run or walk. Last night, I I hit the trifecta – I exercised in the afternoon just on sunset, then meditated in the park before laying down and looking at the sunset with an audio book in my ears. Movement, Inspiration and Mother Nature – all in one hit. My cup = full! (P.S. I used to use my iPhone to keep my audios on, but have recently moved them over to an iPod – which is great because I don’t have to take my phone on my walks anymore. Less distraction!)
- I have a morning routine. It keeps me grounded and focused, and it ensures that I don’t forget any of the really important stuff that I know keeps me happy and feeling good. My day always starts with lemon in warm water, meditation on my balcony, some stretching or yoga, and absolutely no Facebook or Instagram until I am showered and ready for the day. I’ve turned all my social media notifications off, so I am only notified if I am in the app. And I switch over to aeroplane mode whenever I want to really amp up the ‘do not disturb’! Again – fill up your own cup first, and you can be sure to give a hell of a lot more to everyone else that day!
- I know my ‘why’. I’ve talked about this before, but I can’t stress it enough. Having your big ‘why’ in front of you is imperative to staying on track and getting through the challenging times. On my window beside my desk, I have my angel cards, my core desired feelings, by top 8 goals for 2015 (which I have already crossed off one!) and a sea of positive notes and cards from those who believe in me. I also have a small note that reminds me – “It’s not about you Tara.” Because it’s not. My ‘why’ is to be of service to others. And that keeps me going everyday.
- I know what makes me come alive. When I am feeling uninspired, disheartened or just tired, I know exactly what to do to pull myself out of my funk and get back to my thriving, inspiring self much quicker. A dip in the ocean. A walk to the park. A page-long gratitude list. A breathing exercise. Even watching some Youtube videos of whales! I have a cure for every type of procrastination and resistance I have felt thus far, and learning what works for you is key. When you are feeling on top of the world – write your list. No doubt, one day in the near future, you will need it to pick yourself back up again.
- I set certain tasks for certain days. For me right now, Mondays are my writing days. Sundays are my play days. Fridays are my ‘let’s plan for next week’ days. When you allow yourself the space to observe the way in which your body and mind want to work, then you can begin to let it all flow naturally. I know that occasionally at around 8pm I have a sudden spark of ideas and energy and usually end up in my notebook or on the computer. And whilst I would love to say that I don’t do any work at night, who am I to mess with this natural flow of magic. Lean in to the way your body and mind works the best and allow yourself to be guided, instead of trying to control everything and having to put up a fight to get shit done.
- Essentially, I just take one day at a time. Not because I don’t want to think about tomorrow or the next day, but because my energy is better served right here on today. At the end of each day, I write a list of everything I did. And most of the time, I am speechless. Recognise and celebrate the amazing work you have done each and every day and allow that to ignite your confidence and caress your passion. Baby steps, lovely!
I want to hear your story! What are you happy to be juggling right now? What responsibilities and tasks do you have the honour of focusing on right now? Let's say a big thank you to the universe as we choose to see our busyness from a state of gratitude instead of one of inconvenience. Hit me!