BY KRIS FANT
I walk into the office, and before I have my motorcycle gear off, I have started the hot water for my tea and responded to three emails.
Boots off, shoes on, and the day begins. I am a mental health counselor by day, partner, parent, rider, writer, friend and more by night. Sometimes people ask “How do you do it all?” Let’s talk about time management.
Whether you are on a round-the-world trip, or working three jobs to save up for motorcycle adventure, there are only twenty four hours in a day and seven days in a week. In my experience, it is important to make every one of them count.
The foundation for the body to heal itself is getting the right amount of sleep. Sleep is when your body heals itself, your brain purges, and your energy is restored. On long trips, make sure you have the equipment with you to sleep well. At home, it can be tempting to sacrifice sleep for work or play, but, in the long run, you will increase your efficiency if you can get enough sleep.
Routine and Organization
Our brain filters out what is familiar, because it’s higher job is to attend to new things in our environment. “Can I eat it, will it eat me, can I sleep with it, will it sleep with me” is the basic hardware we are built on. Being organized and having a routine on our bikes in in our lives will save us energy. People find different ways to organize. I have found google calendar and google keep to be my best time management tools. My husbands most recent organizational tool was a whiteboard listing all the moto tasks that had to happen before our next trip. There was tremendous satisfaction for both of us each time we got to erase a task we’d completed!
What is meaningful to you? Do you care about adventures, your yard, a clean house, friendships, work, pets, kids, or many hobbies? Make a list of everything you need and want to get done, and then put it in order of highest to lowest priority. In my world, I always go to work and pay my bills, but the yard is in constant need of weeding, and adventures always take priority over laundry. Time management includes knowing yourself and your priorities, so those take precedence.
When we lose ourselves in the trance of the TV, computer, or phone, we lose minutes that could be spent on meaningful activities. Whether it be conversation, exploration, hobbies, exercise, or meditation, make time for both self-care and interacting with others.
Do It Now or Make a List
The moment we take the mail from the mailbox is the time to deal with it. Read the email and respond. If it is not something that can be done in the moment, write it on the calendar for the appropriate time, or add it to a list of tasks that you check regularly.
Look For Spare Minutes
Many people do not like to start a project unless they will be able to finish it. However, there are many pockets throughout the day where we can read a few pages of a book, jot down notes for an article, do a few squats and pushups, reach out to a loved one, meditate, snap a photo, clean a chain, the list is endless. Make good use of those spare minutes, they really add up!
Busy is not a State of Being
When someone asks you how you are, take a minute to check in about how you are feeling. Are you joyful, hungry, sleepy, disappointed, anxious, content, or in love? These are all responses to the question “How are you?” that will give you an authentic moment with the person who is asking. Busy, however, will simply distance you from meaningful contact. In addition, our brains hear us say that we are busy, which in-turn increases our stress level, dumping unhelpful chemicals into our body.
Stress keeps our brain in fight-flight mode. Humans evolved fight-flight to escape from lions, not to help us think quickly and clearly. The basic stress management skills are exercise, meditation, breathing, and working on thought patterns. Like sleep, making time for stress management will also help with time management!
This may be an odd time management skill to note, but gratitude changes the structure of our brains and the lens through which we see our world. When we spend intentional time being grateful, we feel happier, decrease our stress, and spend less time worrying about what we might be missing out on. If this is hard to remember, try a gratitude book for inspiration!
As the saying goes, some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you. There are days when nothing goes right, the routine, the exercise, and the meditation are disrupted, and in every spare moment we are paralyzed. We worry that our short term memory has been destroyed, and forget we have a list in google keep to help us focus. Our spare moments are spent scrolling through Facebook, wondering how all the other busy explorers get everything done. It’s OK to take time off. Sometimes our brains need a break from peak efficiency and binge watching our favorite motorcycle series and eating chocolate nourishes some part of our-self we forgot existed. If you notice yourself fuzzy or disengaged, give your brain a bit of a vacation. Your routine will be waiting tomorrow.
Like this post? Check out this book review of LEAN IN!
Photo credit: 2wheeled_asta