Saturday, October 13, 2012

31 Days: The Schedule Balancing Act

As you have no doubt noticed (hopefully anyway), I have been rather, um, infrequent non-existent in blogging here lately. It's not that I do not enjoy writing on here (because I do). It's that I have been busy. It's ironic that I am writing this the day after my wife posted an excellent piece on the theme "Race" for her 5-Minute Friday post. Almost a month ago, I began taking a class on Tuesday nights to earn a certificate in financial planning from my alma mater. With this class, I am having to study a lot and keep up with the reading and exercises. (Technically, there is no homework, but I want to earn the certificate and be able to sit for the national exam to become a certified financial planner. So yeah, I need to study a lot.) In other words, between that and my husbandly and fatherly duties, my time now is limited. I'm having to learn a lot more about time management. Between schoolwork, spending time with my family, doing my journaling, and the other stuff during the week, I have learned there are some important things to remember when juggling the various responsibilities.

Be intentional. If you don't commit to it, it won't happen. For instance, I am intentional about studying for 1-2 hours a night once the girls go to sleep. Before that, my attention is on the them and Ginny and being present with them. I've had to be intentional about my schedule and time and resolving to do exactly what I plan on doing. Because if I don't have it planned out, it won't work. A great piece of advice my former manager at work told me was his experience with getting a doctorate. He said he set aside Sunday through Thursday for studying, while Friday and Saturday (and some of Sunday) was to be with his family. That's being intentional, and I have followed that advice.

Be engaged. While I am studying, I am not watching TV. While I am spending time with the girls, I am not thinking about studying. You get the idea. Whatever I am doing, I am not thinking about something else. This one is difficult, because we've all been programmed to multitask or believe we can do two things at once. We can't. Well, you may be able to, but I can't. It doesn't work for me.

Be committed. Now you might think this goes along with being intentional. I separate them just because I can be intentional about blocking out the time, but I have to commit to actually doing what I've blocked out time for. There have been several nights already where I have not wanted to study. It would have been easy to go sit next to Ginny and watch TV. I can't do that though, because I've committed to at least an hour of studying each night (and sometimes 30-45 minutes in the morning before work).

I know the next year is going to be a challenge for me. There will be nights where I just do not want to study. There will be times when a kid is sick and I'm low on sleep, and going to bed early is looking might good. But by being intentional, engaged, and committed, I can manage my time, enjoy my time, and still maintain a balance to my life.

How do you maintain balance in your life? 


This post is part of our 31 Days of Writing series. For more posts in this series, click here


No comments: