9 Tips When You’re Burning the Candle at Both Ends


woman-burning-candle-at-both-endsYou’ve probably got too much to do and not enough time to get it done.

Maybe you’re burning the candle at both ends, and you’d really like some time to breathe after a long day at work.

This is becoming common at the office, but it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.

I’m going to be sharing how to create free time within your own busy work day.

I’m not talking about using your weekend time to play catch-up.

These tips are for getting a breather at work when you’ve got too much to do.

When You Have to Much to Do

Start by adding “White Space”.

So you may have heard about “white space” as being helpful in resume writing.

In fact having white space  on your resume is critical in terms of having yours actually read and not thrown into the “circular file”.

Resume white space is created by having wider margins and making sure your words make an impact.

When someone is reading your resume, and it includes lots of white space you’re more easily able to read and understand content and the retain what’s most important.

This white space concept applies beautifully to your work day.

By having white space built into your work day you are able to be:Room to Breathe

  • More productive
  • Less stressed
  • More focused

When you create more time for yourself, you spend less time working, and actually can get more done (efficiently).

So it’s a huge benefit to have this white space within you work day.

Consider what else you might be able to work into your schedule like:

  • a walk
  • reading a book that you have been wanting to read
  • pursuing a side business
  • figuring out you passion
  • or building more self awareness of your own strengths and values

When You’ve Got Too Much To Do and Need Time to Breathe

Here are the the quick tips to discover precious time in your work day:

1. Re-imagine Your Lunch – Consider looking at your lunch break differently.  Start looking at your lunch break as one of your most important hours of the day and schedule your lunch and be flexible on it depending on the work day, but make sure you that you actually get one in.

There is a tendency at the office to think about lunch as a twelve to one thing, and with team members in every time zone so often people are scheduling meetings during everyone else s lunch so it is hard to protect that time.

So I recommend really bluing out (or blocking out) your outlook calendar and dedicating at least thirty minutes to an hour as white space.

Another way to think about your lunch is to take your food for lunch to the office a couple of days per week and actually eat while you are on a conference call before or after your lunch break.

Also you could invite someone to your office to join you during lunch and have the meeting at the same time and then you can have you concentrated white space lunch break during that time.

2. Go with the Flow of Your Commute – The second tip is to stop wasting time in rush hour and go into the office early or late depending on the natural flow of your commute.

This can actually decrease the time that you are in the car.  This is a huge benefit as often times people tell me they can cut off fifteen, twenty, thirty minutes off their commute if they leave just a little bit early or go in a little bit late.

3. Look for Overlap Opportunities –  The third thing is to start looking for obvious overlaps within your time.  Finding areas of overlap are actually killing two birds with one stone and free up your time.

You can include family time and cooking or use your commute to play an audio book.  Consider downloading and playing this Podcast on your Mp3 player and taking it with you during your next work out.

Too much to do

4. Save Your Commute Time – The next thing is to consider working from home for one day per week.

This saves all of your morning and afternoon commute time which can then be reallocated.  This is particularly effective since so many people have their most productive times in the morning.  Many find that working from home is a great way to amp up productivity when can free even more time up.

5. Outsmart Your Vacation – Now this may be blasphemy for some people and I expect to get a few emails on this but I am actually suggesting that you use your vacation time.

The tendency for most people maybe take one vacation in the summer and then they keep all of their vacation time towards the end of the year.  Then they cram it into December to get it all in before the end of the year or else they lose all their vacation time.

What I’m suggesting is to take your calendar out today and plan your vacation for the remainder of the year.

Actually go out look at all the months left in the year an inter special vacation days. And I’m going to go a step further and say don’t take off on Friday why would you take off the most relaxing day of the week for most people?

Why not work it into like a Tuesday or a Wednesday in the middle of the week?

Take as an example of you go the movies on your day off.

The traffic during the week to get to a movie is going to be much less, the lines at the movies are much less, and if you can make it during the day you may even save money at a matinee.

So as you can see in the movie example there is a lot of benefit to planning your days off and taking all your vacation.

There’s even more.

If you’re the person that’s at the office in December then so be it!

Most people are out of the office cramming in their vacation, and you’re up there when its’ quiet and less stressful.

6. Wake-Up Strategically Early – Consider waking up early.  Try five, five-thirty, or six.

This is a great time of day because you can hit it consistently.  You don’t have to worry about other meetings interrupting your flow in your day getting.   You can dedicate this free time to your hobby to pursuing what you love.

And yes it can be a little difficult waking up early and here is how you do it.

Put the coffee on early or better yet I prefer setting the timer so by the time you wake up the coffee is made and you’re ready to rock and roll.

And also what you can do the night before list out all of your to-do’s for the next  morning.   This prevents you from fumbling around at 5 am figuring out what you “should” do.

7. Take a TV Time Out – The next thing I want to offer is  to allocate time for “TV-less” night. I recommend staring with Tuesday or whichever night has the weakest TV line-up.  Frankly, I don’t even turn the TV on many nights, and we consider that time “white space” for our entire family.

8. Go Half Time – Another tip is to consider going part time or having one day a week where you work part time. This is really huge because you are creating dedicated white space for yourself during the week where you are not even expected to be working in your full time job, so it really opens up your schedule.

9.) Build Momentum – And the ninth thing I want to offer here is to consider doing one of these first eight that I have offered and then look at the momentum that it builds.

Often times when you start taking a little breather during the week other possibilities for more free time become more obvious.

Finding Room to Breathe in Your Work Day Takes Effort

And the last thing is that I recognize this requires effort.

I get that you actually have to use your time to start planning your free time, and there is even a little bit of self sacrifice involved because it does take energy to do it.

But I’ve never heard anybody telling me that it is not worth it.

Listen, this is your time.

Please spend it doing (at least most of the time) doing what you want.  What can be more important than that.

To Igniting Your Career!


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