Chances are, if you're reading this article, you are at work. If you're not at work, you've probably been to work recently, or you are about to head there again. In fact, according to some studies, the 70-hour work week is the new norm. It doesn't matter if you're in a factory, driving a truck, sitting behind a desk, employee, entrepreneur -- chances are, you work.
If work were all we had to do each week, life would be easier. But there are home things to attend to, family and relationships, errands, the car, your health, fitness, appearance, you name it. Just a trip to the grocery store in most major cities can take over an hour. If it's true that the average work week is now more than 34 hours and the 70-hour work week is becoming normal, that's not a lot of time to get to all of the other life stuff.
Yet there is an amazing secret to keeping a balance -- and living life how you want. I've done it for nearly my entire adult working life after years of being miserable from a heavy workload. Up until I learned how to create the balance I live by today, I felt like all I did was work and that I had almost no life of my own. Today, my life is even busier than it was back then, yet I feel 100% satisfied and fulfilled.
1. See life in slivers versus hours, days and weeks -- Americans live in a modern world but a lot of our thinking and operations are based on a time and era that occurred decades ago. If we're working 70-hour work weeks, the idea of evenings and weekends has gone out the window. Rather than seeing life as Monday through Friday, or 9 to 5, focus on it in minutes -- 30 here, 60 there and so on. Plan your life around that instead and you'll find that you'll get more life into your week and likely get more done.
2. Wake up early -- When things are ultra-hectic and you feel as if you can't get a moment to yourself, aren't able to spend adequate time with your family, etc. try waking a tiny bit earlier a few mornings a week. It can really help. I do this religiously in my life when the going gets hectic, as even a tiny half hour extra in a day can mean a ton of extra time later for whatever I want or need to get done.
3. Make your life as organized as possible -- Believe it or not, one of the secret ways to making life easier is to have everything around you as organized as possible. That doesn't just mean your work life but also at home. Keep a pared-down, well-organized wardrobe and you'll find getting dressed will take less time. Whenever I find it taking a long time to get ready, you can almost always bet that my beauty products under the sink are disorganized.
4. Make a list and you'll make a schedule -- I never leave home without a notebook. In fact, it's the first thing I grab every morning. Whenever you make a list, you are essentially making a plan or a schedule, and that will make everything more structured and efficient (even if you don't get to everything on it). Mental lists can work as well.
5. Get to know yourself -- We all have our own unique clock. Some are most energetic in the morning, others at night. Some are more creative during XYZ time of day, some are not. By knowing this about yourself, you can start to map out what you do in a day to when you are best at doing it and it will absolutely save you time. For example, I am most alert and active in the morning, so I do all my business development work then. In the afternoon, I tend to be a little slower, so I play catch up on things like email.