April from Run the Great Wide Somewhere, Erika from MCM Mama Runs, and Patty from No-Guilt Life. This week's topic is Time Management.
Time management is my job...literally! I don't talk much about it but I work as a Learning Specialist which means I work with students on issues of executive functioning such as time management, organization, study skills, healthy habits, etc. so time management is always on my mind because I HAVE to practice what I preach.
Even though I tell students not to use the word busy, I am a busy person. I work full-time, am going to school full time for my Doctorate (2 classes per semester) and run a lot!
The way I fit in everything is balance and prioritizing. My non-negotiables are (and in this order):
- My runs (run at least 3 days a week; more when I have a challenge coming up). Without my runs I feel tired, off, just not happy. My runs keep me in shape, ready to race and also give me a chance to clear my head and think. I do a lot of mentally writing while on runs.
- My sleep (trying to average 7-8 hours a night). When I do not sleep enough, I get sick and am very slow and tired at work at school. On the days I have class, I am up at 5:45 to get to work and get in a workout and shower before working until 4pm and then in class until 10:00. If I don't sleep, that whole day is miserable.
- My eating habits (try to eat real food, cook as much as I can, avoid junk food). I spend one day a weekend shopping and doing all of my food prep for the week. That way I can easily pack my lunch with no problems and also know I have enough food to get through the week.
- My schoolwork (do my readings on the train to work. I have to spend time on the weekends working on papers). I am done with readings for this semester (I try and stay about 1-2 weeks ahead on reading and then just review the reading the night before class). I try and spend an hour a day on writing assignments whether it is right after work or after school when I get home. I also try to have a chunk of time for writing on the weekends as well.
- My date time with my boyfriend (we try to have 1 date a week). I usually see him 3-4 nights a week depending on his work schedule as well. We try and go out once a week whether it is dinner during the week or an activity on the weekend. Usually he has way more free time than I do and usually spends it with his friends or family while I am at home writing papers.
- Disney trips (I require monthly Disneyland trips as well as WDW trips as often as possible). These are also important and get scheduled. I love being able to go to Disneyland and using it as a time to just relax and get away. WDW trips, even though they are across the country, are just as important. I am getting so excited for our 10 day trip with my family in June.
- My blog (I try and blog 5 days a week. I write many posts on my commute). I love this space as a way to follow my own progress and also meet new people. I try hard to post 5 days a week and will use part of my commute time to write posts.
- Talks with my family (I talk to my grandparents and parents once a week and try and facetime with my younger siblings once a week). I really try to schedule in family time usually when I am driving to run errands or walking home from the train.
- Fun activities with my friends (I try to do one fun thing every weekend). I love to do fun things but I can't do everything all of the time. I try to schedule things in advance to fit them all in.
- Cleaning house (I gotta clean my house!). With all of the cooking I do, my kitchen is a bit of a mess. I used to have a system of cleaning one room a day (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room) and just rotating through. I stopped doing that and my house was a mess. I switched back to that this week and the results have been great! It is 10-15 minutes of cleaning and putting things up versus the hour it takes when I do the whole house.
These are the important things I try and fit in and actually accomplish. To be able to balance all of that, I actually have a semester calendar (as seen above) in my office with every important thing on it. I also have a separate running calendar that also lists important dates.
It takes a lot of planning but it is very important to me to be able to fit everything in and try and keep my sanity at the same time. My days are very scheduled and sometimes it is hard and tiring. and not going to lie-there are times I have to turn things down just because they won't fit in. I can't do something fun on Friday night, Sat night and Sun. I have to pick and choose. So if I do something on Friday, then Saturday is my errand and school work day and Sunday is my long run day.
How do you find time to balance everything in your life?