I have my first "real," salaried job. I leave my apartment at 7:30am, and I don't come back until about 7:00pm. It seems I have an endless list of things to do (i.e. work on my goals, exercise, cook and pack my lunch, do laundry, read articles/books for professional development). How do I get everything accomplished in only 4 1/2 hours, if I aim to get a good seven hours of sleep, each night? Is there a method/way I can cross items off my "to-do" list, and still have time to relax on the couch?
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First,( since feeding yourself isn't really optional) if you can, cook on weekends and make lunches for the whole week. There are lots of recipes for jarred salads or prepare-ahead lunches, and those are great. You put in the effort to cook once a week and then mostly eat that. It could get boring by Friday, but it means you can eat as healthily as you want. If you're doing that on weekends, you can also prep meals for dinner, like crock pot recipes. If you stick all your ingredients in a crock pot lining bag and seal it, you can stick that in a crock pot in the morning and then come home at night and dinner is already done.
Laundry is - there's no winning with laundry. If you have a washer and dryer at home, you can throw in a load and then do other stuff. If you have to go to the a laundry room in the building or a laudromat, take your reading with you and just stay right by the machines: you get your reading done and spend as little time as possible on laundry.
And just setting a time to knock of working on stuff at home every day will work well. Not bedtime, but relaxation time before bed.
- Identify what it is that you value most, set your priorities, and then focus on only those few things (outside of your salaried job).
- If there are more than 3 you probably have too many and you won't get any of them done.
- Once you have identified your top 3 priorities schedule out blocks of time between 45-90 min where you only focus on that specific thing.
- See if you can schedule between 1-3 sessions per day and spread them out.
- Perhaps most important is your rejuvenation time. A quick 15 minute nap during the afternoon, in addition to your 7 hours at night, will go a long way and taking 30 minutes to mentally check out of everything can also replenish your energy levels to get more done.
Are you sure there is no one else that could assist you with laundry, cooking, etc?
Read the Compound Effect.
I'm also curious as to the long working hours every day. Is 12 hours truly required of you? Does it have to do with a long commute?
Take a look at your work day and see if there are ways that you can cut out productivity sucks throughout your day. If you think you can, here is one tip that helps me with a heavy workload:
Prioritize your tasks and set deadlines for yourself on when they need to get done. I typically will look at a list of what absolutely must get done, what I'd like to get done, and what can wait. You also have to build in the slack for interruptions, change in priorities,etc.
I typically make a list for myself at the end of each day as a reminder in the morning. I then review the list in the morning and revise as needed. It helps me stay on track and work smarter with a workload that can easily run into a 60 hour work week.
Hope this helps!
First, simplify. That means getting rid of distractions and things that you don't really care about doing, but have done anyway to please other people. Next, you already know how much time you have, so look at everything you're trying to do. Make a list. Then go to each item and write how much time you want to put toward it every day. At the end, if you're wanting to put more time to things than there are in a day, then you know you have to make some adjustments. Prioritize. What's the most important on a consistent basis? The basics - laundry, cooking, packing lunch, cleaning up, exercise, reading. You have some leeway in doing everything you want to get done. Laundry can be done on weekends. Or put a load in before you go to bed and put in the dryer in the morning before work. Make a big dinner on weekends and then make portions to freeze in freezer, or make a big salad that you can eat on a few days in a row. Exercise before or after work and you can go at it harder on weekends when you have more time if you want. You get the idea. Ask others what they do. For some people, having a clean house is important, for others, it's having something new to eat every night, or watching a favorite movie. You will have to decide what your priorities will be. Others might also have time-saving ways to do some of these things, so just ask. I hope this helps. Good luck!
Break it down.
Things that have to be done daily;
Pack lunch-15 minutes
Read 20-30 minutes daily
One night cook for the week, chicken, pasta & tuna salads, soups etc Sunday is great for this, should only take an hour or two. Cook stuff in bulk and it will be easier to pack during the week.
Laundry- if it is in your house do a small load every other day, it won't be so overwhelming then. If it is a pay laundry, see if there is a drop off service, worth the cost if its done weekly and so nice to start the week with clean and folded clothes.
Exercise- in the gym (?) Every other day,.you can walk during lunch for 25 minutes everyday .If you do some sort of exercise you should be able to sleep 8 hours, Yoga type stretching for 20 minutes before you go to sleep with also help. There are great relaxation exercise tapes on U tube.
Commit and make a written schedule you can see everyday. I like it right on my bathroom mirror. That is also great for goal setting.
I hear you!
I stopped cooking. I used to do this 3x week, but no more.
Cleaning gets done minimally and I only dedicate no more than 30 mins per 2-3 weeks.
Laundry is once per month early in the morning on Sat or Sun.
Gym--not sure about your situation. Lunch time at work might be the best option.
I'd say experiment to see what works for you. Devise one plan, try it out, then revise it again until you are happy with the results.
Planners help. Not sure if you use one, but it can be life changing.
the four day (or hours??!?!?) work week (it's a book which many people like)
It takes a lot of practice. Just really prioritize what has to be done and what is most important to your health, your goals, your personal development. Everything else doesn't matter. I keep a planner with me everywhere and call it the "spare brain" if I write it down then I can forget about it. Franklin Covey has some good resources regarding time management, check it out. It will help you clarify what is most important to you so you don't waste time on things that don't matter. Hang in there it takes a lot of practice. There is nothing wrong with coming home once in awhile and flipping channels. Don't feel guilty about it. Eventually your time will smooth out and work/life balance will become easier. A resource I found that helped with my food dilemma was online grocery shopping and they deliver food to the house for 10 bucks. Absolutely worth it!
Do you have a long commute that is done by public transportation? If so, this would be a great time to do your reading for professional development. This allows you to utilize the time spent in traffic as well as keep you from feeling as though you've lost a good chunk of your day. If you drive your commute, perhaps consider books on tape for your professional development.
As for your exercising, if there is a gym near your workplace, do your exercising during your lunch break when possible and eat your lunch at your desk. This still gives you the opportunity to "unwind" during your lunch break and also gets your exercise in.
Cooking can always be tricky when on a tight schedule; however, learning how to cook in advance (on weekends) and freezing your food will help to alleviate that problem because all that will be necessary is warming up your food.
Laundry is something that is always a taxing chore but I would recommend doing that on the weekend in between activities. Since laundry can be an all-day task, it is always best to space this one out if possible. I hope this helps!