A student of mine recently came to me with a bit of a conundrum.
Her week was starting to fill up fast with various calls and meetings, on top of her regular business duties and work schedule. With the sheer volume of activity, she was now facing, she wasn’t confident she’d be able to maintain her well-being, especially as she was used to taking two days off per week, usually in succession.
I acknowledged the urgency of the situation, but first, I asked her to humor me and share with me what her daily activity was like.
What I started to see was that even with everything she’d taken on, she would still be able to take two days off per week. It just wouldn’t be one after another.
“You can take Tuesdays off,” I offered. And at first, she wasn’t too fond of the idea, because that would mean one day off, one day on, one day off, and four days on. But ultimately, she couldn’t argue with the feasibility or practicality of it. “You’d still be able to take two days off and meet all your weekly commitments,” I explained. And she could see the wisdom in that.
As we seek to nail down our weekly schedules, we certainly can’t ignore our well-being. When we’re pushing too hard and start to feel exhausted, we need to acknowledge that what we’re doing is unsustainable and to begin to look for other ways of meeting our commitments.
Starting with the end in mind can be quite helpful. If you know you want two days off, or even three days off per week, you can often find a way. It might mean moving some meetings around, or making requests of your team, but once you separate the emotion from the practicality of it, you start to see that you can really set up your schedule however you want!
And this isn’t just about your well-being. It’s also about consistency. Consistency is easy when you have a routine. Much harder when you’re all over the map.
You need to be clear on what it is you’re trying to accomplish each week. And if you’re goal oriented, it really is about focusing on the needle movers. Don’t get sucked into the black hole of putting out fires. Put out the fires, yes. But be sure the identify the urgency of the situation before calling a spark a fire.
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