I'm so happy to be a guest here today! It's always a treat to get around and see other places when you're stuck on your own blog all day. It gets stuffy in there after a while.
I have to admit, between a full-time job, a growing blog, a few gigs on other sites and an ever-expanding, passionate love affair with social media, I'm exhausted just typing this. Oh, and I'm married to a man who I assume likes it when I look at him instead of TweetDeck or my iPhone when we're having a conversation. Plus there's a house to take care of.
Don't we all have a to-do list that's a mile long?
And if you don't, please tell me your secret. Or point me in the direction of whoever you sold your soul to. Whatever's fastest because, let's face it, I'm a busy woman.
I know in my soul that there's a way to fit it all in, feel as though I'm doing my best with the work in front of me, and maintain some level of sanity. I think the word for it is “balance.” There just had to be a piece of the puzzle that was waiting to be found.
So I sat down a few days ago and wrote out a "time budget" - solid blocks of time I know I'm going to spend week in and week out. I stretched a bit in some places and averaged in others. And between sleeping, eating, working, commuting, running errands, doing chores, self-care and cooking I came up with 120 hours of things I absolutely need to do in order to live week in and week out.
This seems like a lot of time until you take into account the fact that there are 168 hours in a week, folks. Leaving 48 hours for all the "other stuff" in life. Not to mention that 10 hours of my week are spent on a train where I flit around social media like the virtual butterfly I am. Making it 58 hours.
58 hours? I have 58 extra hours every week and yet I spend my time feeling overworked, overwhelmed and over it? More than two days-worth of time to spend blogging, commenting, tweeting, writing, etc?
With 58 extra hours a week I should be ruling the world, people! I should be your queen by now. You should be sitting at the foot of my throne and typing this for me.
Yet you are not. I don't even have a throne.
After walking around for a few hours hearing sad theme music on a perpetual loop in my head, all the while questioning life and my place in it, I made a firm decision to make better use of my time from that moment on.
What does this mean? This means I stop multi-tasking.
Sure, there are situations when multi-tasking is required and we've all been there. Life doesn't pause while we focus on one thing at a time. The ability to multi-task effectively is a strength. Too much of it, though, and work suffers. What does get produced is probably of lower quality because focus is blurred by outside forces.
For example, when I write a blog post or edit photos for one, I normally have Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest open in various tabs, plus Outlook and Tweetdeck. Oh, and I'm sitting in the den with the TV on and my netbook on my lap.
In other words I've set up the perfect storm of distraction. Before I know it, an hour has passed and I've done everything but what I set out to do.
(By the way, the flushing sound you just heard was any chance of a successful writing career going down the toilet.)
So what to do?
One thing at a time…Twitter will not cease to exist if I'm not logged in. My tweeps will not send out a search party. The DVR was invented for situations like this. My email will (I hope) be there when I'm finished with the task at hand.
I also need to be more attuned to the amount of time I spend tweeting, pinning, plussing and facebooking. Not to mention reading and commenting on blogs which commands a great deal of energy. I set a certain amount of time and when that's up, I move on. I don't need to read all of my favorites every day. I'm sure they'll understand.
Only one site or program open at a time unless it's absolutely necessary. And I've taken to working away from the TV whenever I can.
Baby steps, of course. But in time I know I'll be making every minute of those extra hours count, and count hard. I'll even get to spend time doing all the things I don't get to do now - you know, gardening, writing my novel, creating recipes, taking over the world.
You may want to start getting my throne ready.
This guest post was written by Jen, author of the blog Misadventures of Mrs. B. If she isn’t spilling it all on her blog, you can also find her on Twitter.