Here’s a tactic that will help you free up time for what really matters.
Being young and ambitious is great. Working all day, maybe the gym or a run a couple of evenings, sport practice, study time if you’re still learning. And a night or two hanging out with your friends.
Sometimes it’s hard to squeeze it all in, right? You can go into panic mode trying to manage the stress in your job, moonlighting for extra cash and spending time with friends and family. You know what I’m talking about – when you’re waking up in the middle of the night with lists running through your head. Been there, right?
Here’s a little task that will help you reduce stress by focusing on what matters. I call it the ME Map.
This exercise will help you make decisions and find balance. Here’s what you do:
1. Get a blank piece of paper and write ME in the middle
2. Around this, make a list of all the areas in your life that are important to you, or tasks you do on a weekly basis. For example: work, socialize, gym, Pilates/yoga, tennis, family, study.
2. Under each item, write down why this is important to you. For example, work = make money, pilates/yoga aerobics = stay healthy, book club = socialize with college friends, nights out = fun.
3. Now see if you can cross check any of them. Do you run with your college buddies? That could count as exercise AND fun.
4. Finally, it’s time to be ruthless. Look at your ME Map and be honest with yourself. Are there too many things on there? More than likely, the answer is a big, fat YES.
So what do you do? You need to GIVE SOMETHING UP.
Shocking, I know. And easier said than done.
But in this age of everything on, all the time, you need to learn when and how to say NO. And that means choosing priorities.
Go on, cross something off your list. What doesn’t really HAVE to eat up hours during your week?
You need time to recharge. You need time to get organized. And you need time to spend on what really matters to you. If you complete this exercise honestly, the ME Map will help you find time for all of these things.
More of a visual person? Here’s another way to do it.
What are you spending time on that you could cross off your list?
Elaine Knowles writes at Working Sirens, a career advice blog for ambitious 18-to-34-year-olds. You can also find Working Sirens on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.