We all wear many hats, I know I have a few myself: Husband, Father, Brother, Son, Friend, Manager/employee, Entrepreneur/Blogger/Podcaster for ClassicallyTrained, Gamer…just to name a few.
I’m sure you have a few responsibilities of your own.
Everyone seems to be struggling to find work/life balance. And as far as I know, there is no Game Genie for achieving work life balance to give you infinite time and resources.
So how do I keep it all balanced?
The truth is, sometimes I don’t.
But here is a strategy & a tool that can change your life and give you a peace of mind more successfully than anything else that I have tried. First, we need to change how we look at time.
It is often said that “time is money.”
This principle holds true, if we are talking about time or money: a budget will tell your money where to go, a schedule will tell your time where you want it to go. Imagine a business that does not budget its expenses? It’s probably not open any longer. No matter how much money you have, you need a budget.
And you should approach time the same way.
The problem is, that we don’t budget time properly. We overlook things we cannot control, and then we forget to make time for the things that are most important to us. There never is enough time to do it all, but you can decide to spend your time on the things that matter most to you.
I recommend creating an “ideal week” calendar. This will not be perfect, and you will probably never have a week like this, but the value is to start thinking about what is more important, then assigning time for those activities. My approach is based on a framework provided by former President and CEO of Intentional Leadership, Michael Hyatt.
Completing this exercise is more difficult than a game of Tetris. It actually feels strangely like managing your inventory in Resident Evil 4. The Resident Evil series always included item scarcity and inventory limits in the games as additional challenges (in case the zombies were not enough). In RE4, you guide Leon S. Kennedy in a more action oriented take on the survival horror franchise. Leon’s inventory was now more realistically limited, as the size and shape of the items you carried had to fit in his attache case. Small items like first aid spray take up 2 spaces, while weapons may occupy 10 spaces or more.
While playing, I often found myself making difficult choices about which items I was going to keep with me, even using up or dropping items that were valuable, but less important.
The same is true in our own schedule. There are many times that we need to say “no” to good things so that we are free to say “yes” to great things. Sometimes we get overwhelmed with the weight of everything we are carrying and we need a break.
The best defense against feeling overwhelmed, it to plan out your ideal week. Here’s how.
How to Create an Ideal Week
1. Determine the things you MUST do. This includes things like:
- And any other “-ing” that needs to happen to survive
2. List Your Obligations
We all have obligations, and they are not a bad thing. While they may not seem as essential as sleeping or eating, they can they can interrupt or even supply resources for your needs. Items like:
- Spending time with your significant other
3. List Your Wants
Next list out the things you WANT to do. This includes things like:
- Watch a movie or tv
- Play video games
- Hang out with friends
All the things that are important to you and that you enjoy.
4. Estimate Time Required
Write next to each item on your list, the approximate amount of time it will take each week. For example: I want to get 7 hours of sleep each night, so I need to budget 49 hours each week for sleeping.
5. Prioritize and Rank
At the top of your list, place all of items from your Needs category – place all of these on your blank calendar.
Next, list out your Obligations. Determine how much time you need to spend on a weekly basis, and book all of these on your calendar.
Finally, rank your Wants and with whatever time is left, fill in the blanks. Chances are, you will run out of time before you run out of wants. Keep a list of these wants so that when you free up extra time, you know exactly what to do with it.
Make sure you did not leave anything off the calendar, save and reward yourself with an item from your want list, you earned it!
Here’s an example of my ideal week:
Perfect Week Worksheet (Word Document)
Template for a Perfect Week (Excel Spreadsheet)