Last year I started becoming more active, challenging myself in different areas in my day job, giving talks, organizing and attending meetups and conferences, traveling, and a few other things. Initially, I was super excited, and I was working all the time on different things - whenever I found time I made myself busy doing one of the above things. I felt like doing everything, and to some extent, I did. However, by the end of the year, I noticed that life wasn’t the same. I noticed that I was feeling more tired, not getting enough rest, taking more than I could handle on my plate - things that weren’t good. I’m someone who loves reading about others and their experiences, and I found (on Twitter/Medium/Devto/Google) that there were many who had similar experiences. I realized that I want to do the things that I love, while at the same time caring about myself, my physical well-being and mental health. So I started working on it and here are a few things I did to make that happen:
Having a Few Meaningful Goals: When I realized it wasn’t good for me to do everything at once, I made a more focused list of personal and professional goals which I’ll be focusing on in this year. I also said no to many opportunities where I knew I didn’t have the time and energy to contribute meaningfully.
Finding a Schedule: With some trial and error, I’ve found a good schedule that’s working for me. I make sure that at least one day over the weekend I’m getting proper rest, spending time with family and friends and not using my phone or laptop for more than an hour, that too only if really required.
Making a Priority To-Do List: Whenever I start working on something, I make a to-do list with priorities. This helps me focus on the most important things and be more mindful about them. I also try to write only two or three tasks at a time, with the rest being added to a backlog which I look at later. Having fewer important tasks really helped me improve my focus.
Improved Time Management: I time box everything I’m working on - for office work as well as personal goals. For example, I decided to spend 4 hours a week on my personal goals and I stick to that no matter what - no more and no less.
Focusing on Physical and Mental Health: I make sure I get seven or eight hours of sleep a day, and I work on improving my sleep patterns. I’m a big fan of the Headspace app which helps me practice mindfulness. I’ve also started jogging frequently, and I’m trying to make a habit of it.
Be Consistent: I try to be consistent with my schedule and the tasks I want to do to achieve my goals.
These things when done together, helped me tremendously at getting better at what I do, and at the same time, feeling happier and more satisfied in life. More importantly, this didn’t happen in a day - I’ve been working on myself for months and only now do I see progress. I failed many times, more times than I’d admit, but as they say “you need to keep trying if you want something to work.” I taught myself to be okay with failure, and move on with new insight and start again.
If you’ve got any tips around this, let me know as I’d love to hear how you manage it. If you find any of the above helpful, give it a try and let me know how it worked for you. :)