We've all had moments when the work-life balance feels a bit out of reach. That's when it's helpful to consider other ways of doing things; are there strategies that can give you back minutes or even hours?
To help you find those time savers, we asked a handful of people who do it all — balance kids, multiple jobs and passion projects — to share their favorite productivity-boosting practices.
Writing out to-dos is a low-lift way to stay organized and hold yourself accountable. For Benjamin Schoeffler, a Reno, NV-based entrepreneur and creator of the self-care podcast Shut Up, Brain, dividing those tasks into two lists is even better.
Every night he jots down one list of practical things he wants to accomplish the next day, such as recording a guided meditation and setting up an online store to track analytics. Then he writes a second list of personal reminders (go to bar trivia night with friends, for example) and necessary tasks like "Pay water bill." Having a visual of to-dos is motivating, and categorizing them in buckets makes it easier to prioritize and tackle them efficiently.
Structuring your time can help you be more mindful about how you're spending it, says Daniel Maidman, an education consultant, artist and book author in Kingston, NY.
"I think of every day as having about 2.5 blocks of constructive time in it (apart from eating, taking a shower and sleeping)," he says. "A block is a non-fixed amount of time sufficient to really settle into something that requires care and attention." If you have a full-time job, that might be 1.5 of your blocks, Maidman says, and if you're married, you might dedicate another half block each day to your relationship, making sure you're showing love and attentiveness and being fully present. With the half block left over, you could do something for yourself (going to the gym or working on your novel, for example) or tackle a task you've been putting off, like cleaning the bathroom. If you have just a quarter block, he adds, use it "with joy or efficiency" for something like brainstorming, reading or firming up logistics for a project — things that "can make real contributions without being long, sit-down activities."
Walk through your daily routine in your mind, looking for potential tasks you can hand off. For example, you might consider starting a system in which each family member has designated tasks, from washing dishes to clearing and cleaning the table. And delegating doesn't have to be limited to people; strategically chosen kitchen tools can do the work for you too. Investing in countertop appliances like a slow cooker, rice cooker and bread machine can free up time that would otherwise be spent standing over the stove.
The content reflects the view of the author of the article and does not necessarily reflect the views of Citi or its employees, and we do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of the information presented in the article.