I receive this question a lot. If you are doing all the things we discuss about here at One Green Generation, chances are you are asked that question, too! I believe I receive the question most from those of you starting to make some changes in your life, and trying desperately to figure out how to find the time to do more. So let’s see if I can answer it…
We’ve discussed finding that balance between work, home, and community. It’s not always easy, and I am often making adjustments. Here at One Green Generation you may notice I’m writing daily for weeks at a time, and suddenly I drop off because I just don’t have the time to sit and write (how sad that makes me!). Truthfully, I’m overwhelmed with all I have to do sometimes. Nobody has the ability to do everything they want to do – there just isn’t enough time in the day. But here’s how I do my best, and the best is all we can hope for!
The Rule of Three
My husband has a “Rule of Three” he swears by. It usually works pretty well. The basic idea is that you can only really handle doing 3 big top priorities at once. So, for instance, right now I am doing: 1. Re-Vision Labs Work, 2. Strategic planning for community development consulting, and 3. Writing at One Green Generation. Problem is, really there are more than three right now: 4. Gardening (at the p-patch and the family allotment), 5. helping a friend redo her business website, and 6. Sustainable Capitol Hill. Let alone family time, which is always a priority.
When you get away from three, there are 3 that usually suffer. In this case, One Green Generation sometimes suffers (sorry, everyone!), the gardens suffer (we’re still within frost, and the family allotment has been under construction until recently, but I could have been planting cool weather veggies by now!), and Sustainable Capitol Hill suffers (I haven’t been as active as I’d like to be lately, even though this weekend I am trying to write a grant application to host sustainability classes once a month).
But I work hard to prioritize. No one can be everywhere at once – that is just our nature. Fortunately, in the case of Sustainable Capitol Hill, there are others who are working more than I, and doing the work that needs to be done. Fortunately, the garden will still do ok, and we can still eat local cold-weather crops from the farmer’s market and Spud.com. And fortunately, you all will probably hang in there and forgive me for short bouts of absence here (right??!).
Utilize Your Community
It’s not always easy to let other priorities lag, but usually it’s ok until you find a new balance. This is especially true if you have already done the work to build a community. That is one of the beauties of community, afterall: as a community, you are there for one another. If I am too busy to help now, there are others who can step in. Later, if they are too busy, I can step in and help them. First create your community, and establish healthy lines of communication so that you can communicate effectively within it. Then, all you have to do is communicate with others that you are just a little bit too busy, and thank them when they fill in for you.
Even more important, as we have discussed before, is that as a member of a community you don’t have to do everything. In fact, you are more effective if you’re not doing everything – so delegate responsibilities and work, and let each person do what they do best.
Take Time To Regenerate
I’m probably the least good at this of anyone I know! But here’s something to keep in mind: this does not have to be a big effort. I regenerate on my walks home from work, in the shower, when I read before I go to sleep at night, when I garden, and when I recap the day with my husband.
You don’t have to go to yoga class every day (though if I could, I probably would), you don’t have to go on a weekend vacation – all you have to do is give your brain the ability to synthesize all you have learned and experienced, and wash away the tenseness and ill feelings that may have entered your body.
Take Good Care of Your Body
Eat whole, unprocessed foods. Have well-balanced meals where you sit down and eat together as a family. Sleep on a comfortable bed, and sleep 6-9 hours each night. If you take medications and/or vitamins, be diligent about taking them regularly. And exercise, exercise, exercise! Walk, swim, work out at the gym, garden, whatever strikes your fancy – do it regularly.
I hope that helps answer the question. I really just do the best I can, and I am still learning to be ok with just the best I can. You remember those three things I was having a tough time changing on my path to sustainability? I’m not much further along than I was back in January. And in truth, you’ll never do everything you want to do. But if you balance your time effectively and take care of yourself, you might just be able to do most of it!
Please feel free to share any thoughts about how you are able to do all you do!