Balancing Life as a Busy Professional

Some of you may not know this, but I have a full-time day job as a CFO of a company.  This means real estate investing is technically my side hustle.  I also have a robust social life, help manage the household, and carve out time for my marriage and myself.  And now, we have a baby. 

Even with this wonderful (and monumental) life change, I knew I wanted to keep everything in my life in place—I just had to figure out where to make space for it all.  As a busy professional, you’re probably in the same boat.  You already have a packed schedule, so how could you possibly have time for socializing, working out, hobbies, or adding a side hustle? 

There’s good news.  It’s all possible with a few shifts to your mindset and daily processes. 

Start with Prioritization 

Most people are stressed out and feel like they barely have enough time to do the critical must-do tasks in their daily schedule, much less all the “extras.”  Prioritization is the key to being able to handle more and get to the really important, really valuable parts of your to-do list. 

Start each day with a daily priority list and create a matrix that breaks down your responsibilities.  Section it out into: 

  • Family
  • Work
  • Household 
  • Social 

Include the categories that best fit your daily routine and group them into subsections: which ones are (1) non-negotiable, (2) nice to complete, and (3) can be deprioritized. 

Practice Time-blocking

Multi-tasking is a myth.  Instead of trying to do a little of everything at the same time, use time-blocking to create larger periods of focus.  Assign each block of time to line up with your priority matrix and the tasks you want to complete.  Then, during those blocks, work exclusively on the tasks you’ve assigned yourself. 

This prevents external distractions, like emails, social media, or texts.  You’ll be amazed at how much more efficient you are when you get into this flow state. 

Your time blocking routine doesn’t have to be fixed; it may vary depending on the time of the month, as well.  For example, at month-end, I block out large parts of several days to work on finances, invoices, and bookkeeping reviews.

Designate Flexible Time Slots

If you don’t make the time, your self-care, continuing education, and relationships will eventually fall to the wayside.  Schedule flexible time blocks in your calendar so you can use them for what you need most. 

These time slots can be used to finish up something you weren’t able to get to, if it’s an absolute must.  But more often than not, they should be for learning, relaxing, a physical activity, or perhaps getting coffee with an old friend.  Try to spend this time recharging your batteries.

Outsource, Outsource, Outsource

Whenever I feel burnout starting to creep in, I evaluate what I’m doing and discern whether it can be efficiently outsourced so that I use my time more wisely.  

This outsourcing can look like hiring a housekeeper or someone to help with meal prep. It could also be delegating your business tasks.  This not only buys your time back, but you can focus on your strengths and outsource things that aren’t your main focus (e.g., bookkeeping, investing, marketing, etc.). 

Reward Yourself

Just to clarify, the flexible time slots I mentioned above aren’t rewards: They’re simply what you need to maintain your sanity.  When you finish a big task or project, do something noteworthy. Plan a weekend getaway, throw a dinner party, go camping somewhere without internet.  What matters here is that you’re commemorating the work you’ve done and powering up for your next big push. 

The Bottom Line

We’re never going to get any more hours in the day.  However, when we effectively manage the time and use our energy wisely, we have the opportunity to make the hours we do have more productive, which in turn allows us to be more present with family and friends.  And ultimately, that makes our lives more manageable. 

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