Just like many other young women, I live a very busy life. I juggle multiple jobs, hobbies and relationships at once, and I do that purposely – not because I have to. I have many passions and love being social, but also want time on my own. In this way, I’m actually trying to live multiple lives. Luckily, I’m the type of person who believes you actually CAN have it all, IF you apply the following life-hacks.
What my life looks like (skip if not interested)
To give you an idea: I have a full-time job, in which I manage more projects than is possible in 40 hours, and in which I am also part of two committees that don’t overlap with my own work. I volunteer for an online philosophy magazine and run this blog & the Coco Instagram. I have more than a few friends that I see regularly, visit my parents often and I am planning a wedding with the love of my life who also gets a lot of my free-time (of course). On top of that, I meditate, read, journal, walk, stretch and listen to a podcast every day. In between the gaps, I do laundry, groceries, take care of our hamster (:)) and do other things in the house.
Yes, sometimes I do feel overwhelmed. But most of the time I am very happy and fulfilled. Here’s why and how this works for me.
Please note: I’m NOT saying you should be able to do as many things as I do. Mental and physical health is very important and also very personal! Please be aware of how much YOU can do while applying these tips.
The first thing is something I talk about a lot: setting priorities. This requires some reflection on what you really want and find important. You have to get clear on what you want in life, what and who you want to spend your valuable time on, and here we see another essential part: you have start seeing your time as valuable.
Once you see your time as something you can only spend once, and as something you want to spend on what you find useful, important and fulfilling, you can get clear on your priorities. Decide which parts of your life are essential for you, and which parts are only nice-to-haves. Do the same thing with the people in your life: who really adds to your happiness, and who are you holding on to for the wrong reasons?
If something or someone is not a priority, this doesn’t mean you have to delete them from your life completely (although, I do recommend this for the parts that really don’t add anything to your happiness). You can simply be more conscious on how much time you spend on them. It really all comes down to aligning the way you spend your time with your true values.
I already wrote a full blog on how to delegate. Delegation comes in really handy for the parts of your life that you have just decided (in the previous paragraph) are not important to you, but also not easy to remove. Think of tasks you don’t like doing, even though you see how the result of doing them adds value to your life. These parts, you can delegate.
For example, I personally delegate cleaning and cooking for the most part. I do find a clean house and eating healthy food important, but I don’t like spending my own time on these things. I don’t enjoy cleaning and cooking, so I delegate it. Of course, I realise that you need the financial means to be able to delegate these, or have a really sweet partner you can ask to do it. 😉
If you don’t have these options, try spending as little time as possible on these things. You can learn optimising the way in which you do these ‘important, yet not worth your time’-things in the next paragraph.
The first way to optimise tasks you don’t like doing, is by creating order (in doing that specific task). This literally means you have a method of doing it, which you use every single time. Creating order saves you time because you know what to do in advance, and you know the method by which you are going to do it. So you don’t have to think of the ‘how’ every single time. Learn more on creating order in this blog.
Another way to optimise is doing things in bulk. Do you have many shops to visit, people to see, e-mails to answer or lunches to prepare? Set one timeframe to do all the things in the same category at once. Since it takes some time to travel, set appointments, get into your focus or prepare the task, it saves time doing many of the same things at one specific moment.
The last way to optimise is to simply learn from others. For example, there are many video’s on Youtube on how to do simple daily tasks more efficiently. Watching these once will save you time in the future. 🙂
Managing many passions and people at once does not only take a lot of time, but also a lot of energy. I find that when I stay in good shape and eat healthy, I can do a lot more in a day and with more energy and focus.
Of course, I don’t have to tell you how to work out regularly and eat healthy. So instead, I will tell you the less obvious ways in which I stay healthy (on top of moving my body and eating healthy food):
- I use Athletic Greens every morning to make sure I have all the vitamins I need. It also makes me feel like my brain is on fire all day, so that’s a big plus!
- I have a very regular sleep-pattern to make sure I sleep enough hours. I go to bed around 10, and wake up around 6 or 7. In the weekend, the difference is usually only an hour later (because I fall asleep if I stay up longer anyway, and I want to bounce back easily on Monday).
- I try to notice when my stress levels are high (adrenaline rush, heartbeat, negative emotions), and try to snap out of it. Meditating regularly and having my priorities straight, helps to do the breathwork or put things into perspective in these moments (see the next paragraph).
- I limit my alcohol intake to 1 evening a week, and not a wild one ;). I limit my caffeine intake to max. 2 cups of coffee a day. And to compensate these habits, I drink at least 3 liters of herbal tea or water a day.
- I eat intuitively. When I’m not hungry in the morning, I don’t eat breakfast. When I’m full, I stop eating. When I crave pizza, I eat pizza. This gives my body some rest on the right moments, and keeps my mind & body from putting energy into unnecessary cravings (or bloating).
Selfcare & meditation
I already mentioned that I meditate, read, walk, stretch and listen to a podcast everyday. While this sometimes feels like a burden, most of the time it helps me stay on track and juggle many things at once. Taking good care of your mind as well as your body enables you to do all the things you want, and to do them better and more focused.
I also take baths regularly, watch a lot of mindless shows while painting my nails (it’s called selfcare baby ;)) and take breaks from work/family/friends when, or actually right before, I really need to. Meditation is a way to slip out of reality when you don’t have a lot of time. There are even 5 minute meditations that can make you feel rejuvenated in between work or in a (parked!) car. Take that time when you feel like it.
If you do more, you can do more
As you may have noticed by now, I often like to end these lists with a hack you don’t actually have to do anything for. It’s more of an insight that you can use to your advantage. This time, I’m talking about the fact that when you do more, you actually get more done.
When you have full agenda, you somehow manage to do many things in a really short amount of time – simply because you don’t have more time. Think about writing a document: if you have all day, it will probably take you all day. You procrastinate, are very critical, think it over many times. But if you only have half an hour, you simply have no time to be lazy, critical or thoughtful. It just has to be done, so somehow you manage to do it in half an hour.
If you live life like this (almost) every day, you will see that you get more done, simply because you’re agenda is fuller. Tasks that you thought were a lot of work before, are now tasks you can squeeze in between the others. I’m not saying having a full agenda is always a good idea, but it is worth noticing (and praising!) how much you can actually do in a day.
Let me know if these hacks help you ‘have it all’, and what you do to manage many things at once!