Aaaah, THE question of all questions. How on earth do you do it all? Mostly it’s people like CEOs of huge companies or Elon Musk or superheroes who get asked this questions. However, even though I am just a teeny tiny student in a very average university program, working a very average student job (and doing what feels like a thousand little things besides that), more and more people ask me this question. So I thought I’d answer.
We need to get one thing out of the way, though. Disclaimer: This lifestyle is not for everyone. You don’t have to live like this, you can totally lead a different life, you do you. This blog post is for those who want to do it all, and are willing to make sacrifices for that.
One of the biggest lies of humanity is “I don’t have time”.
We all have 24 hours each day. Yes, that means we all have the same amount of hours every day as Beyoncé (we’ve all seen the mugs). And yes, that also means you have exactly as many hours as that dude with the impressive lifestyle in his Instagram stories, or that girlboss CEO you read about in an article last week.
You don’t have time? Bullshit. We all have time, and exactly the same amount of it. How we choose to spend this time is where we differ from each other. Prioritize.
You already do that. Every day, you spend your time doing certain things, and in doing so, you prioritize these things over other things. You don’t have time to work out? Bullshit! You’re prioritizing something else. The guy or girl you’re dating doesn’t have time? Bullshit! They’re prioritizing something else.
It can totally be the case that your days are already packed, and the only thing you could probably cut back on in order to exercise or start your side business is sleep. (Except for when you do the whole polyphasic sleep thing, but that’s another story for another time.) Cutting back on sleep is not good, I know that. But technically, this is still prioritizing. Do you get where I’m going with this?
Actually prioritizing in real life can be a bit tricky at first. It helps if you set exact amounts of time you want to spend with any given thing in your calendar. Morning routine? Cut it down to 30-45 minutes. After work drinks to catch up with a friend? If you only have 1.5 hours, don’t stay longer. Gym at night? Don’t waste time during your workout and you’ll be in bed on time.
If the question is “Can you actually have it all?”, the answer is “YES, of course. Just not all at once.”
There’s this amazing quote from girlboss/media empress Cat Grant, a character on the TV show Supergirl:
“How do you juggle it all? You learn, that’s how. You start with two balls before adding another. I figured out how to be brilliant in business and then I added being a brilliant mother. Far too many women burn out trying to do too much before they’re ready.” (Cat Grant.)
This basically already says it all. You can have it all, just not all at once. Take it one step at a time. If you break that down to everyday life, it means you have to take it one step at a time. Don’t lose sight of your long term goals, but don’t let the thought of them overwhelm you and don’t try to have them all, like, stat. Baby steps. All the way.
Multitasking – another very debatable point. However, I am not talking about juggling 71024563 tasks at once that will leave you getting not a single one of them done. I’m talking autopilot brain on things that don’t need your full attention. Want to watch your daily dose of inspiring videos? Do it while you’re putting your make up on.
Also, look at your days (or try tracking everything you do for a while) to identify time killers. An example: I was spending way too much time on my couch, with my phone in my hand, browsing social media – a waste of time, even though the content on certain pages actually inspires me. I also spend way too much time on public transport (buses and trains are always late in this city, and if you had a car you’d be stuck in traffic as well). So I just started combining the two: No social media browsing at home, only on public transport. I don’t always stick to this 100%, but I don’t need to, because it already made a huge difference. (Now you also know why I don’t have a car anymore, because being stuck in traffic doesn’t let you do anything compared to being stuck on a bus or train.)
Despite it all, don’t forget your mental and physical health. It might seem like a lot of successful and busy people don’t need time off, but people work differently.
I, personally, love being busy and having days and weeks packed full of exciting things. At the same time, I’m one of these people that need time alone to recharge. So I schedule one day per week (every two weeks at the latest!) where I don’t have any plans. I “allow” myself to just stay in bed or on the couch most of the day, TV remote in one hand, mug with preferred hot beverage in the other. As long as I get enough rest, I use a part of the day to do some serious gyst-ing – and that’s how I don’t break under the workload or stress.
Don’t look at other people. (The irony of this article is not lost on me, thanks.) Don’t wonder how they do it all. Use what you have, what you can, and never forget to take care of yourself.
If you have any more tips or another question, let me know in the comments!