Surviving in this precarious economy may very well mean juggling a handful of jobs to make ends meet. And believe me, I can perfectly relate to this dilemma.
In my everyday life, I wear many hats. I am not only a mother, I am also an entrepreneur, manager, accountant, teacher, student, friend, driver, cook, coach, and cheerleader.
Juggling all these different roles is not new territory to me because I’ve been doing it for most of my life. While studying at the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, I managed a couple of businesses to help out at home and to finance my studies. During my spare time, I also managed to join several campus organizations and was even appointed an officer in some of them.
My days were always full, but even then, I knew how to make use of my time wisely. At home, I would study religiously, making sure I did advanced readings. In school, I attended all my classes and went to all organization meetings. Only after school would I devote my time to my enterprises.
Juggling my duties, I always felt so vibrantly alive. I felt that I was making use of every hour of my every day. It was my way of sucking the marrow out of life.
To tell you the truth, this is the only way that I know how to lead my life—at full throttle.
You might ask, however, don’t you ever get tired?
Honestly, I am always busy, but I am never tired. Through the years, I have devised a couple of time management techniques that have served me very well.
For starters, I am a consummate planner. My days are planned weeks in advance so that I know exactly where I am going to be at a specific date.
At the office, I follow a specific weekly schedule. Mondays are devoted to progress meetings with my managers and their staff.
Matters involving AHEAD Interactive are taken up on Tuesdays. Wednesday is me-day. This is when I schedule doctor appointments and visits to the salon. Thursdays are for AHEAD Professional as well as the finance and human resource departments. Friday is when I wrap things up for the weekend. I go over the events that unfolded during the week to make sure that I didn’t leave any loose ends.
My marketing staff follows a similar schedule. Because they handle different brands of AHEAD, we had to rationalize our operations. Every morning is thus devoted to a specific brand to free the afternoon for rush jobs.
On Saturdays, I am a student once again. I am taking up a course in Teaching English as a Second Language at Miriam College. And on Sundays, I get to hang out with my children. We go to Mass, eat out, and visit parks, malls, and museums.
I’ve even mapped out a schedule for my wardrobe: Monday red, Wednesday blue, and so forth. This way, I don’t spend an inordinate amount of time choosing what to wear.
If planning your schedule weeks in advance is too much for you, then take small steps. Start by planning your day. Always carry with you a book, magazine, or corporate report from the office. This way, you can catch up on your reading when you find yourself lining up at the bank or the supermarket. If you can manage it, do two or three tasks at a time. For instance, you can iron your clothes while watching your favorite TV show. If you have to go to the mall for an errand, make sure you do other things there as well doing the groceries. This way, you save on time and transportation costs.
I never feel constricted with my schedule. As a matter of fact, I revel in it. When I don’t have to think about the ‘what,’ I get to devote more time to the ‘how’ and the ‘why.’
Why the rush, you say? Let’s put it this way. Every minute of your time is worth something. If you divide your salary by the hour, you can calculate how much your time is worth by the minute. And so I ask you, would you rather spend your time deciding what to wear or would you rather make use of that time to earning a good living or bonding with your children?
But perhaps the best time saving technique that I’ve discovered is this: Delegate. Get the right people to do the job. This philosophy applies to everything whether you’re hiring an accountant to fix your books or getting a party planner for your child’s birthday celebration. If you get the right people, then you free yourself for other things. All you need to do then is plan, coordinate, support, and encourage.
You can successfully juggle all the different roles in your life by managing your time and planning your day. I should know, I’ve been doing it all my life!