Tamara Lackey, photographer, studio owner, mother, author, mentor, producer, and a thousand more titles and roles yet to be determined. She’s amazing. A true icon and beacon for all of us that just feel like we’re always running around reacting because we have no time.
As a creative person, Tamara never wanted to feel boxed in. She wanted to be a free spirit and do as she pleased. But she realized that her days were filling up with stuff and her nights would end with the blue haze of the television lulling her to sleep. So her quest over the last few years was to figure out, ‘What does it mean to manage my life?’
We all get the same amount of time in a day… 24 hours. It’s a non-renewable source and thankfully all of those ticks on the clock are given free of charge. So how you spend each hour of your day? Tamara recommends downloading to your computer (available for both Mac and PC) an application called Rescue Time. It can track all your activity both online and off. You can utilize the data to help you focus by blocking distracting websites (Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader) that are HUGE time sucks and allow you to assign time to certain projects.
She takes how you are spending your time one step further, using Stephen Covey’s quadrant approach.
|Urgent||health scares, server crashes, major deadlines, accidents||most email, most phone calls, say yes to all things, responding to drama in kind|
|Not Urgent||strategy session, organization review, free
form creative time, reading, exercise, take
time to eat well
constant social media, gossiping, too much tv, mindless web surfing, inefficient business process
What quadrant are you spending most of your time in? And what are you ignoring? Some of us need a paradigm shift in thinking about what is truly urgent and important vs. what we think is urgent and important. Further, we need to set our expectations of ourselves and of our clients. This will reduce our overall stress and constant state of reacting.
In order to evaluate our personal set of expectations we need to plan out our ideal week. What would it look like? Ask yourself:
- what time do you wake up?
- what time do you want to work?
- how often do you exercise and when, for how long?
- Date nights
- special get together’s
- relaxation time
- volunteer time
- how many sessions per week?
Now compare the ideal week to what’s really happening.
- Do you fall asleep in front the tv exhausted wondering what you accomplished?
- Are your bills getting paid on time?
- When does the laundry get done?
- Are you eating out more because there is no food at home?
- Are you cancelling on friends because there’s too much work?
- How often do you make it to the gym?
- What was the last book you read for fun?
The more non-stop we work the worse we perform. We need downtime. We need time to rejuvenate. Without it we lose things, zone out, get distracted easily, and fall asleep. You tend to get sick more and feel burnt out. To really drive home the point think about this: statistics show that less frequent vactioners are at higher risk of heart attacks.
The Power of Small Tips:
*Little changes you make have the biggest effects
- Order groceries online (i.e. Amazon Grocery or Whole Foods) You can generate a grocery list and save it, so as the staples run out you can easily reorder them.
- Dry Cleaning pick up and delivery service. No more ironing needed.
- Stop way overbooking! You don’t like it when your airline does it, do you? People will be frustrated and you’ll feel frenzied.
- Negotiate longer lead times for social invites. As a rule Tamara will say, “Let’s look at the week after next?”
- Mesh bags for laundry. Each member of the household gets a mesh bag to put their dirty laundry in. The whole bag with the clothes is dropped into the washer and dryer. The bags with clothes in tow are given back to each member (including kids) to fold and put away. (This was a hot topic of discussion, everyone seemed fascinated with this concept).
- Night before pack up/ prepare for the day ahead. Pack your bag, your lunch and if you’re Tamara, your kids in their clothes. Tamara dresses her kids in the clothes for the next day and puts them to bed to eliminate the time in the morning with struggling to get the kids up, dressed and off to school.
- Consolidate Online Resources – find webcrawlers to do the work for you.
- assignmenteditor.com : scans major forms of media, so all news is consolidated into one place
- shopstyle.com (also an app) : will find apparel your looking for
- priceprotectr.com : tracks prices on any item
-hipmunk.com : finds flights by duration time and shows them in a chart
-kayak.com (also an app): crawls the website for best travel fares (I love this site even though it can’t pick up Southwest’s rates)
Tamara provides so many tips and gives amazing guidance to get us all thinking about how we can rethink and retool our lives to create a better balance between work and life. Along the way remember to recognize your success, be honest with your time and streamline your processes. Oh and don’t forget to plan your vacation and take it.
Share with me how you balance work and life, or better yet what does your ideal week look like. Just type your tips in the comments.