The demands of modern society are so high that most of us wish for a 48-hour day!
Wake up at 7am, get dressed, go to work, attend your meetings, meet your deadlines, pick up the children from school, do the chores at home – the hoovering, the washing up, prepare the dinner and pack lunches for the following day. And amongst all these tasks… make sure you find time to see your friends and have a social life, do something relaxing and calming for you, look after your health and exercise.
How are we supposed to meet all these expectations?
How could we achieve a balance between personal and professional life? Between time on our own and time with others? Between time to be active and productive and time to relax?
A really good first step is to actually monitor how your average week looks like. Take pen and paper and make very detailed notes on how you spend every day of a whole week. Make sure you include your meals, sleep patterns, contact with others, breaks from activities and anything you do for self-care (e.g. shower, doing hair or nails etc). Here is a form that you can use to keep track of your activities for a week:
You will be surprised with how much you will learn by looking at your completed form at the end of the week. These are some questions you can use to help you be more reflective on how you have spent your week:
What patterns do I notice in my week?
What have I done well? What helpful behaviours do I identify?
Which behaviours have been unhelpful? How frequent are they?
At which points during the week did I feel too tired/ low /anxious? What was I doing around that time?
Do I spend too much or too little time on a specific activity?
By this time, you would have collected a lot of useful information about you and how you tend to spend your time. Now, it is the right time to ask yourself the question:
What could I improve on next week?
What do I want to do more of/less of in order to achieve a balance in my life and move closer to how I want to live?
The next step is for you to start planning activities you would like to include in your following week. Make sure these activities are in line with your goals. Be very specific in regards to what you would like to do differently and how long you would like to do it for. Try to be flexible and do not beat yourself up if you do not achieve your target from the first week. You are allowed to have difficult days and not have the time or the motivation to stick to the plan. However, do not let go of your goals. Keep planning tasks and activities that are important to you and try your best to do them even if it is for 10 minutes. It is still better than not doing them at all. You can always build on your achievements in the future.
What do you think? Are you ready to start monitoring your week today?