How I Use The “Lean In” Method To Maximize My Time In Both Work & Life

The most frequent questions I am asked all revolve around the same subject: What does my week look like? How do I fit it all in? Don’t I ever get tired? How do I make time for XYZ? How do I manage my schedule? Something that has really helped me to get shit done is by “leaning in” to tasks as the time or motivation suits.

At this exact moment, as I write this blog, I am sitting at my dining table as my boyfriend is tucked away in bed sleeping. It is a Sunday. And it is raining. He is cozy and my toes are currently freezing, but I can’t get up to go grab socks because I am in a flow and I don’t want to ruin it. Would I prefer to be cuddled up in bed with my boyfriend on this rainy Sunday? Hell yes. But I have to summon up all the willpower I have and keeping chugging away on my goals.

Before we get into it, let me tell you a little bit about the different roles/positions I need to fulfill each week. Let’s start with the most obvious one…my blog. I run The Chronicles of Carly all on my own, and at this point in time, I am dedicating anywhere between 10 and 30 hours a week to this project. My other roles include girlfriend, daughter, sister, friend, cat-mama, homeowner, and General Manager at Ronin Marketing. And I will be honest, I have been known to put the “friend” and “sister” roles on the backburner as other things take priority, but this is definitely something I am working on.

Your list of might look a little different, but we all have a long list of roles we are required to play in life. It is easy to look at all of them and think “eff this, I cannot possibly do all of these things in one week.” But I encourage you to adopt the 168 hours in a week philosophy (you can read more about this here), map out a game plan, and then put your head down and get shit done.

How do I get shit done?

Anyone who has ever asked me this question would have heard the words “lean in” over and over again. Why? Because I am the world’s biggest advocate of this idea. It is unrealistic to place the expectation on ourselves that we must dedicate 100% to each role every single week. If you do this, I can promise you, you will just set yourself up for failure. Believe me, I have tried it and it does not work.

What does work is leaning into different roles based on what is currently begging for your attention and your energy levels. For example, if I am in a really good state-of-flow on a work project, my energy is high, I am feeling motivated and the deadline is approaching, it does not make sense for me to clock off at 5 PM and head home. Instead, I will stay at work and keep leaning into that work project until my state of flow dies off. Whereas on other days, when I am really not feeling work, it does not make sense for me to force anything. Instead, I will get into the office, get as much done as I can, and then head home at 5 PM to work on a low-value task for my blog or call my mom and catch up with her.

The point here is to lean into tasks where you can, pull back when you aren’t making the best use of your time, and dedicate that time to another “role” that can give you some brain space and a break from the original task at hand.

Handy Hints That Will Help You “Lean In” To Maximize Your Time:

  1. Make your to-do list for the week, not for each individual day: This will allow your plans to be more malleable, which in turn allows you to use the lean in technique without guilt.
  2. Imagine yourself physically leaning into different tasks: Call me crazy, but by imagining myself physically leaning in to different tasks it actually helps me to lean more deeply.
  3. Listen to your cravings: This is advice I actually learned from a nutritionist back in the day. She said that if your body is craving something, listen to it, because it knows what it needs more than you. I have extrapolated this advice and used it across all aspects of my life. If you’re craving reading a book, read it. If your body is craving sleep, sleep. Life is much more simple when we listen to our bodies. We are animals after all.

Carly is a 20-something gal living in Brisbane, Australia.  She started The Chronicles of Carly in late 2017 with the intention of sharing her experiences as a go-getting gal with the other go-getters out there. You can find Carly at www.thechroniclesofcarly.com or go to her Instagram & Facebook.

Image via Unsplash

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