How to make time for everything

Hello hello! This year, I’ve decided to commit to sharing a new blog post with you on the full moon + new moon of every month. So, each month when you look out the window and see the glowing moon in the night sky, and perhaps you even feel a surge of that mystical lunar energy rise up within you – head over to my blog and you will find something from me, written with the intent to nourish your mind & soul.

I’m also really enjoying creating on instagram stories at the moment. I like to share little snippets of my day to day life, but also like to reflect on a topic every week centered around spirituality, intentional living, and conscious motherhood. If you’re on instagram, I’d love to connect with you there.

Now onto the blog post!

A few weeks ago, I was chatting with a girl on Instagram who, like me, is also on the road to residency in the US. She kindly complimented me on my ability to juggle many things at once. Medicine, motherhood, spirituality, writing and now, youtube too.

I was taken aback by what she said – because the areas of my life that she considers to be my success, I so often feel inadequate in. It astonished me, the differences in how I perceive myself in comparison to how someone else perceives me. And maybe the truth of who I am sits somewhere in the middle of both of these extremes. It got me thinking, that while I do tend to be quick to dismiss myself, the reality is that yes, I do juggle a lot. Yes, I do work hard to do the things that are important to me, and though I may not be able to do everything to the level of my satisfaction, and though I may feel like I’m constantly failing at a lot of things, the fact that I try is worth something. And yes, maybe I do have something of value to say on this topic.

Certain things in life, like motherhood and medicine, tend to be all encompassing. Meaning that it’s almost impossible to compartmentalize these things into little blocks of time. It takes over everything. It’s a 24/7 direction of life.

It’s hard to imagine a life beyond these things sometimes, and it’s certainly even harder to make the time and space for other in your day.

But heres the thing – we all have 24 hours in a day, and we decide how to spend it. Our time and our health is truly our greatest wealth, and it’s worthwhile to use what you have intentionally and on the things that matter most to you, otherwise you may get swept up in the flurry of a busy but unfulfilling life.

Since becoming a mother, the amount of “free time” has been cut exponentially, some days it feels like a mythical concept.

Before children, the majority of my time went to either school/work, and all that was remaining was my time. I could do with it, whatever I wished. I could  choose to be productive and build the life of my dreams or I could snuggle up in bed and watch Friends. After motherhood, all that remaining time outside of school/work goes automatically to my daughter. Like a direct deposit.

Without intentionally and purposefully carving out a little slice for yourself, you might never get it. Time is precious, and we have so little of it. The very least we can do is use what we do have.

Here are my thoughts on how to juggle it all.

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The 3 types of “Me-time” that you need

Have you ever found yourself complaining, silently or out loud, “I just haven’t had any time for myself lately”?

We all need time for ourselves. We chase this intangible and sacred space of time. Sometimes we find it, but a lot of the times, we don’t. Because “life gets in the way”. When we do get it, it is rare, and quickly taken away from us too.

This blog post is the result of a conversation with myself in my head. It went something like this:

Ok so, if I want to have this “time for myself”, I have to make sure some other things are done first. I have to clean this room, I have to study for my midterms, I have to meet my friends for coffee, I have to shower, I have to cook some dinner, I have to go to dance practice…Hmmm…

That’s when I realized, with all those things on my plate it would be quite unrealistic to expect myself to have a whole load of time to sit around and relish in me-ness. It ain’t ever gonna happen. And if it does, I won’t even enjoy it because I will be feeling confused, guilty and probably a little bit bored.

There are three types of “Me-Time” that you need, and they are as follows:

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How to make time for the things you love to do

Occasionally somebody will ask me “How do you even find time to write in your blog?” and this question is a strange concept for me. The only answer I can think of is – I find time to write in my blog because I love writing in my blog.

You can replace “time to write in your blog” with pretty much anything.

Another question I get asked a lot is “Don’t you find it difficult to take photographs and stuff? How do you have time to pursue photography as a hobby? Like, don’t you have to take your camera with you when you go places?”

Once again, same answer. I find time to take photographs (and not only take the photographs, but all the other many aspects of being a photography freak – which is finding time to generate inspiration for a photoshoot, to edit my photographs, to organize my photographs, and to share my photographs) because I freakin’ love taking photographs!

Is it difficult for me to do it? No. I love it, so it’s easy. I love it so taking my camera around with me is my pleasure, not my job. It’s so simple.

You can replace “time for writing in your blog” to “taking photographs” to “cooking” to “reading” to “exercising” to “dancing” to pretty much anything you do just because you like to do it.

How do you make time for it?

You make time for it because you like to make time for it. That is the single best incentive for making time for something.

You don’t really consider “making time to shower” or “making time to eat” because you like doing them. You like the end result (being clean and full!) and perhaps you even like the process too.

So the excuse “I love to ____, but I don’t have time for it” just doesn’t cut it for me, sista!

This essentially translate to “I think I enjoy doing ____, but at the moment I have to prioritize something else in my life.”

And that’s okay too! We only have 24 hours in the day, and we have to choose wisely how we want to spend our time – it is an important life skill to learn. Another important life skill we have to learn is to stop making excuses.

So if you are still stuck under the belief that you don’t have enough time or space in your life for something you would like to do, here are some tips to create some more space in your life:

How to make time for the things you love to do:

Continue reading “How to make time for the things you love to do”

How to get things done to get ahead!

We’re getting to that point in the year where things begin to get quite overwhelming. Winter is setting in, deep and dark. Christmas is approaching, along with New Year – a time where we yearn for things to be different.

For students, this is a time with finals, group projects, and assignment deadlines are looming over our cute little heads like a dark cloud.Everything is happning at once, and this can be overwhelming.You miss one class. Or forget to do one thing on your to-do list. And before you know it, you have an endless list of things to do that never seem to get done. You don’t even know where to start. You don’t een know how to start!

So, how do you feel on top of things?

First of all, where is this feeling of being overwhelmed coming from?

– You have a lot of “unfinished business”. You’re making a mess.

Everytime a new task comes your way – whether its something that needs your action or simply your attention – you open up something new. And the more open things we have, the more stressed out we become. Until we have an efficient way or collecting, organzing, and working through our mess, we’re just going to get more and more stressed out!

The way to eliminate this feeling is to firstly, decide what you want to do with the task, and then, if you can, do it!

– You don’t have a efficient means of collecting this “unfinished business” in one place.

Instead, we try to grasp at things and “remember” them for a more appropriate time. You write a few tasks in your calender, some in your PDA, remind your best friend to remind you of something later, and most things we try to simply just “remember”. But this is incredibly inefficient and is the leading cause to our lack of productivity. And not only our lack of productivity, but even just that nauseating feeling we get sometimes when we just don’t even know how to start. How do we know what to do next if we don’t even know WHAT we have to do? What we need to do, is create a better system for collecting your tasks and to-do’s.

The best advice I have heard on this step is to find just ONE place to collect it. Two if you must. But let the second one be a “Transitionary” collector – a place where things go to be processed before making it to your primary collector. For example, you may have a notepad to write down all incoming tasks in your day (perhaps because it is more convenient to carry around a notepad), and then when you decide to review your tasks, you move them into your PDA or whatever it is you kids play with these

– You are not being as productive with your time as you should be because you do not know what the first step to take is.

This one is a no brainer. If you don’t know exactly what to do – and I don’t mean just some vague idea of the direction you’re going – I mean knowing exactly the next action step you must take – then the chances are, you ain’t gonna take it. You’re gonna waste your time doing the less important tasks because the next action step might be more obvious. You’re gonna call a friend. You’re gonna talk about how you are feeling so overwhelmed in your life. You’re gonna spend hours on facebook.

I know the story.

 

So, let’s fix it!

You have a lot of unfinished business – you’re making a mess.

Yeah. This is life. Welcome.

First of all, get rid of any unrealistic expectations you have about how “Finished” your business should be. There will always be something to do. Fact.Your inbox will never be fully empty. Maybe for a few moments. This is the dynamic nature of life. It’s a cool thing, really.

Our unhappiness doesn’t come from the fact that we have a lot to do (infact, we can derive a sense of purpose and drive from feeling that we have steps to take forward), but it is the fact that we are not efficiently dealing with the things in our inbox.

Try to see it like this: everytime a new incoming tasks comes to your attention, a new box opens up. Every single thing that you need to “do”, delegate, or simply attend to in some way- you’re opening a new box. And note that you’re not labelling these boxes. You’re just bringing in these half opened boxes into your brand new apartment. And you’re making a mess! Using this analogy, it seems obvious to work through the boxes, and start labeling them, and then figure out where to put them. You keep em’, or you get rid of em’. It’s simple. If only we could do this with our mental tasks.

Well, hey, you can!

So, let’s begin.

Remember that as the number of half opened boxes increases in your mind-apartment, the more stress you feel. Thre more stress you are under, the higher your chances are of feeling overwhelmed.

 

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1. Collect all information

I want you to take 5 minutes out of your life right know to brainstorm everything you need to do today, tomorrow, this week, in life, in general.

Don’t worry about putting things into any order or even making sense. Just write. go. go. go!

Trust me, this is going to feel real good!

Your cute little head can’t handle any more information!

This is good for your soul.

My physics professor would say “Even if you don’t have to, Solve quadratic equations – it’s good for your soul.”

I’m not convinced. Yet.

(You can even put in random important dates etc. Whatever “information” is in your mind that you need to remember and do something about)

 

2. Split up these tasks into categories.

So now let’s make sense of this mess.

This is equivelent to labelling the boxes “cutlery” and “books”. School? Work? Relationships? House stuff? Hobbies? Extra curricular ? Sport? Spirituality?

 

3. Go through each one and ask yourself these questions:

Now that you’ve organized everything, you need to decide what to do.Go through each task that comes up on your list:

Can I take action on this within the next five minutes?

If Yes – do it! There’s no time like the present, y’all!

If No – Here you can either:

a)  Delegate it (is there someone else who can do it for you?)

b) Or you can defer it (put it on your calender for later date. Schedule it in.)

For example – if you really need to study physics (Ummmm personal example) like BADLY, but you can’t do it within the next five minutes, then I would schedule it in for tomorrow at 6:00-9:00pm at the library. Now it is no longer on my mind and causing me stress, because in my soul, I feel like I have done something about it. I’ve taken care of an important matter. I’m going to fix it. Don’t worry about it.

c) Or trash it! Do you really really have to do it?

There are many times we take on menial tasks in our life that we just can’t afford to spend our time, energy and money on. Why is this on your list? Maybe out of your good will and good heart, but is this the best thing for you? Perhaps not. Get comfortable with saying no, and not feeling like a failure. If there is something that has been on your to-do list for days, weeks, and months, you really need to ask yourself these questions. Is there a reason you keep putting it off? Why? Do you really need to do it? If you don’t, then be gone with it! Hasta la vista, baby.

 

Now go through your calender, with all your new scheduled tasks in.

It must feel good. Dance classes, assignment deadlines, library study parties, dinner dates, family outings, things to do.

You should feel a big weight off your shoulders.A big cause of stress is not all the things we have to do but our disorganization of it.

Having everything written down on your calender- a place that will be effective in reminding you of where and when you need to be somewhere doing something that eneds to be done, will feel great!

Now start doing the things on your list!

come on.

Have will power.

Keep your word.

Get things done.

 

Today.