Hey Creative friend,
The balancing act is real. Very often it’s hard to gain control of your time. You have so many projects and responsibilities and you don’t know which one to focus on or how to balance your time. No matter how hard you try. It seems like you can’t do it all.
Let me just put your mind at ease. You can’t do it all. It’s just as simple as that. Sometimes we put way too much pressure on ourselves trying to balance everything. Time is fixed and so there’s only so much you can do within the 24-hour period you’ve got. It’s just as simple as that.
Imagine you’ve got a mason jar and only 5 balls can fit in the jar.
Now you’ve got 3 orange balls and 3 green balls. How do you fit them all in that jar?
You can’t. You’ve got to decide whether you’re going to use all 3 orange balls or all 3 green balls. One ball will definitely be left behind. The question is which ball is it going to be? An orange ball or a green ball?
I know that intellectually, you look at the illustration above and it’s easy to see that time is limited and you can’t do it all.
Just as you can’t fit all 6 balls into the limited space available in the mason jar, you can’t do everything you want to do in the 24 hour time period you’ve got. You’ve got to make choices. Sometimes tough ones.
But for some reason, when it comes to real-life we start to think we’re superheroes and we can get it all done.
Maybe, the movies have something to do with this superhero mindset we tend to operate in. Or our own egos should take the blame for it. Or could it be because we’re striving to be over-achievers?
Whatever is to be blamed for this, it’s not real. We simply can’t do it all. What we can do instead to gain control of your time is this:
1. Accept that your time is limited
At some point, we have to admit that we can’t continue on the hamster wheel we’ve been going on. And we have to stop being hard on ourselves because no matter how hard we try we can’t cross everything off our to-do list. We’ve got to come to the place where we accept that our personal time is limited. It’s easy to accept the general concept that time is limited for everyone. But harder to accept it in your own personal life.
When you look at all the things you’ve got to get to do before the end of the week, ask yourself this question. “Can anyone with my responsibilities and my life situation possibly get them all done?” If your answer is no. Then, you know it’s time for you to be real with yourself.
2. Figure out what matters to you
I find that when you’re deep in the weeds doing something- working on a project or going about your day – it’s easier to keep going than to pause and take stock.
It’s easier to do the same things you’ve always done than to change and do something new.
However, when you find yourself constantly overwhelmed, then you have no choice. It’s time for you to stop. When you’re unable to get important things done, or you’re always feeling bad about your time management skills, it’s worth your time to stop and take stock.
What you want to do is to figure out what your values are. The goal is to spend your best time on what matters most to you.
Carefully decide what your values are and what will make you feel fulfilled at the end of the day.
Next, write out a list of between three to five things which mean a lot to you in order. For example, your value list can include – faith, family, creative joy, and career.
3. Prioritize Your To Do List
Now that you know the things that give you fulfillment and add meaning to your life, you can prioritize your to-do list.
After prioritizing your to-do list, tackle some of those meaningful projects on your to-do list first. Then moving down the list, do as many of the things as you possibly can. This way you’ll start your day with meaningful activities and projects. At the end of your day, you’ll sleep better and feel fulfilled.
I’m learning to be kind to myself by using these strategies to manage my time as my projects and workload increases. I’ve accepted that I can’t do it all. And I’m more understanding of people who acknowledge they can’t do it and sometimes have to say no to certain things and opportunities that come their way.
I hope this approach to your to-do list will give you some comfort in going about your day as you strive to unlock your creative potential.
Question: What strategies do you use to manage your time? Can’t wait to read all about what you’re doing.
PS: Never belittle your ideas.
Always keep creating.