“How do you do it?” is the question that I typically get asked nowadays. Just in the last five months I quit my full-time job to start pursuing my masters while working in a Grad Assistantship and as a server (Longhorn Steakhouse) and all the while trying to balance the responsibilities of being a husband and father of two (a two year old daughter and 6 month old son). No I am not a superhero and don’t have magical powers and I definitely don’t always have it together. But what I have done is I have tapped into some awesome strategies that (most of the time) help me maximize my time. I would love to share some of these strategies with you.
When I think about my old life when I was only doing one job, I realize that I wasted a lot of time. I could spend five to six hours a night watching television or playing on the iPad. What I have learned through the balancing of all of my responsibilities is that I need to be very intentional in where my time goes. Quite simply put, I don’t have time to waste. I believe the first step in maximizing your time is to be intentional with every moment (this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun; see step below). Honestly evaluate where your time is going. Do you spend five hours on Facebook when you could be studying? Or are you constantly watching “mindless” television when you could be volunteering at a local outreach? These things aren’t bad, but in excess can really monopolize your time and ability to be that awesome juggler.
Now you may be thinking what?! How does this help me maximize my time? Well let me explain. In order to be the most productive you have to take care of yourself, both mentally and physically. Take some time to read (a book not for school). Take a walk. Play a sport. Get to bed at a decent hour (or even at a regular time). Eat a healthy diet. Start a new hobby. Do something to take care of you. Just make sure that it is in moderation. You don’t want to spend an inordinate amount of time on any one of these things.
Be willing to say a two-letter word
Now most people would say to learn to say no, but I think this allows for us to have an excuse to do absolutely nothing. On the other hand if you cannot say no, then you will find yourself pulled into thirty million directions. I think the balance in the spectrum of saying no, is having the ability and knowing when it is appropriate to turn opportunities down. Not every situation will require you to jump in with both feet. And you shouldn’t just automatically say no to every opportunity that presents itself either.