“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs

Let’s talk about this myth of work-life balance where we look at it as if work is on one end of the scale and life is on the other end of the scale. I don’t believe in work-life balance because I believe your work should be an integral part of your life. For one,  we spend most of our lives at work! Balancing our lives is more about creating a rounded wheel of a life, around the Productivity Plus Arenas. First off, you must make sure to do work that you love to do and as they say, you’ll never work another day in your life (liars!!!??). Next,  consider that an integral part of balance is good organization. A lot of our challenges come from not managing our time properly, not planning and not optimizing our time around our priorities, as well as not delegating. Building the right support systems goes a huge way towards creating a rounded life.

Once you have designed your dream life, you’ve articulated it and you know exactly what you want to do, the next challenge is how to manage your time. How are you managing your time, what are the time management tips and tools you should be using? Do you have a planner? Do you USE your planner? 

So how do you manage your time? 

Time is our most valuable resource, yet it is easy to lose track of it and throw so much of it away, when not managed properly. We guard our physical valuables so jealously, yet are so careless with our time!! You must watch out for time traps; those activities that take your attention away from completing important tasks, like mobile phones, the endless lure of the social media rabbit hole,  distractions at work, pop-ins and pop-outs. Prioritizing is supremely important and it’s good to understand that with family life, quantity doesn’t equal quality. 

When I was building my career and family, one of the tools that helped me the most was my spreadsheets. I had a spreadsheet for almost everything. God bless Mr Microsoft!!! Groceries from Oke Arin Market, Fresh food from Mile 12 Market, “Luxury” food from supermarkets…  I shopped monthly to save time (and money). Every weekend, my children had a schedule of the supplies to take out of the store that we would use for the week. I made it fun for them too. At our home, Saturday Store Removals (™) were an exciting activity! Every Saturday morning, my kids would race to be the first person to do Saturday Store Removals, it became a ritual in our house. As well as teaching them organization and thrift skills, timewise, I didn’t have to go the market myself. I just gave an assistant my spreadsheets. Also, no stockout delays occurred in our house. Of course, NEPA(power cuts) created its challenges, but we had a freezer that worked very well. But …oh, how I hate to remember when I bought half of a ram and my freezer went bad, so there I was trying to boil meat that had gone off with garlic and onions! The stench encouraged me to throw it all out in spite of the humongous cost. Better lost ram meat than children right???

It’s important to remember that it’s really about how you organize and what your priorities are, not the quantity of your work or the size of your family. I knew a lot of housewives whose children had the same accents as their domestic assistants, yet my children sounded exactly like me. Why? Because when I was with my children, I actually spoke to my children, a lot!!  A lot of parents are there physically, but they don’t speak to their children. That’s what I mean by quality over quantity. 

Some Time Management Tips

1. Prioritize your relationships in this order: God, spouse, children, family, and friends. Ensure that you dedicate enough quality time to them and put it in your schedule,

2. Take ownership: Do work that you like and take accountability for. This increases the value of your work in your eyes. When you do what you like, you don’t waste your time with the need to distract yourself from it.

3. Make sure you schedule your work and manage your time so you are not spending 12 hours doing 6 hours worth of work.

4. Avoid distractions: They are called “distr-actions” for a reason.

5. Use time blocks and take no interruptions during blocks. Time blocks are solid time frames where you focus on completing particular tasks.

6. Pray: We could all use a little prayer

It goes without saying that time is our most valuable resource. We don’t know how much of it we have and there is no way to get any of it back. The best way to effectively use time is to understand your priorities, then assign the required time for each to them to thrive. Think about it, what are you saying when you spend 3 hours happily watching TV but grumble at spending 20 minutes helping a family member? 

I hope you take stock of your priorities and find the best order for them. Here’s a useful tip, write them down and rank them! Leave me a comment and let me know how that goes.