Does anyone else hate when someone asks, “Where do you find the time?” I always respond with the same statement. I say, “I don’t find time. I make time to save time.”
Okay, hear me out.
Everything takes time. I have gotten to the point where prioritizing mine (and monetizing it) has come to save me (and my sanity). Look for ways to combine two things to create more time. Working out and work: take your conference calls on your AirPods while on a walk in the park. Go for long runs in corporate parks, in search of new businesses to prospect. Also, look for time-demanding activities you can either a.) cut out, b.) simplify, or c.) outsource.
In a world where there is quite literally an app and device for everything, take advantage of technology. I bought a robot vacuum so I could cut out vacuuming. I read The Skimm daily so I can simplify how I consume the daily news. And I outsource my cleaning—because it takes me six hours to clean my tiny apartment and the $70/month is worth getting that time back to relax, catch up, hang out, and live. Okay. You’re up. Where are you making time?
We need to stop pretending work-life balance is an easily defined notion or that it is always obtainable. I visualize my work and my personal life as two entirely separate things on either side of a seesaw. (Side note: are seesaws still a thing?) Sometimes my work demands my full attention and my personal life takes a dive. I have less time to call my family, I miss wine nights with my girlfriends, and I skip workouts. And then there are other times when someone in my family or a friend needs my entire focus. My family still lives in the Midwest, so if something is going on, large or small, sometimes I just need to drop what I’m doing, jump on a flight, and head home.
While looking at your personal life and professional life as a seesaw, imagine yourself in the middle, the single pivot point that enables the board to teeter back and forth. If this pivot point is broken, damaged, or otherwise not working, neither side will function. Meaning, if you are tired, stressed, worn down, etc., you cannot give your best effort to either side. And then no one wins.
Take care of yourself. Take personal time and enjoy it, guilt-free.
About ten years ago, I started a little tradition I call “Having a Betsy Day,” with the focus of “my day, my way.” I take the day off from work, turn off my phone, and create an agenda full of carefree activities I enjoy, like getting up early for a walk with coffee, reading a book start to finish, going for a long run, going to lunch alone at a local favorite spot, and lying out in the sun somewhere just thinking. These days are incredible. And incredibly rejuvenating!
There is a time for everything. A time to invest in yourself and a time to reflect. A time to take a [insert your name here] Day and a time to bury yourself in work. A time to network and a time to follow up. A time to work hard and a time to play. Time flies and life is demanding. Regardless of what you decide to fill your time with, make sure it makes you feel complete and full.
As my career continues, I don’t always have the ability to enjoy a full Betsy Day. However, I will take smaller-scale moments in which to indulge. For example, I love getting my quick mani-pedi, one hour of true relaxation and bliss when I physically am not able to touch my phone, enabling me to get lost in my thoughts. On days when I can get away, I let my boss and team know about my temporary unavailability, and out I go, no guilt allowed. I encourage you to do the same. Whether you take a break to get your nails done, get a blowout, take a yoga class, or FaceTime with a cute nephew (or is that just mine?), do what you enjoy. Take the time—but most importantly, make the time.
Excerpt from Mid-Reach, available now.