Compartmentalize Your Life in 3 Simple Steps

Compartmentalize Your Life in 3 Simple Steps

Top performers in all fields use their time effectively by compartmentalizing. This means they divide their day-to-day personal priorities, work obligations, and social networking into sections. They categorize their time into what is most important; making money for themselves and their families, advancing their careers or business, enjoying their loved ones, and maintaining their health and wellbeing. This is not a secret! Successful people protect their off-hours just as much as they prioritize and manage their money-making hours. They have learned to organize their day-to-day responsibilities into different projects without neglecting one or the other. THIS IS THE GOAL!

If you feel like social media, social networking, work, or maintaining relationships is the reason time passes you by and why you’re still behind on YOUR END GOAL then perhaps you need to explore ways you can compartmentalize your social life, work time, and personal time. This is an awesome approach. Why? Because it is a proven solution! We simply have to focus on ourselves and limit the amount of time we spend in each department- social, work, and personal.

For me especially, this is a never ending goal. To make sure I am able to do all the things I love to do while still maintaining what’s important as a faithful servant of God, a wife, a teacher, an instructor, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a yoga enthusiast, a creator, and hopefully one day a leader in my community.  Even though I have to plan my days down to the minute, I feel 10 times better on a regular basis when I’m able to seamlessly wear all the many hats I choose to don.

 

You see, each and every role I have to play in life is just as important as the other. This is something I had to learn the hard way. At one point I only focused on work and money. I worked 14+ hour days because I was constantly taking my work home with me. I felt like I was never off the clock. It was incredibly hectic and a very stressful period in my life. I became physically weak. I felt burnt out and so I started to neglect my other roles as well. Conversely, compartmentalizing and donning my hats in equal measure makes me feel like a real life ninja! I sleep better, wake up better, exercise better, and meditate more. My moodiness has improved and I perform well at my job. I have time to read books, cook dinner, spend quality time with my husband, practice yoga, write, and on the weekends, I have lots of room for spontaneity. Sounds pretty perfect right? Well, just to make it clear, I’m not bragging that I have it all together. NO ONE has it all together! I’m still paying off my student loans. I’m putting in extra hustle in the hopes that my business one day blooms. Every life is a work in progress. This is just to say- You can do a lot more than you might think in a 24-hour day. There’s no need to neglect any of your needs or dreams.

Remember- We ALL have the same amount of hours in our day as BEYONCE!!

We got this!

 

  • First rule- Divide your day into sections.

Everyone’s schedule and obligations are going to look different, and that’s okay. Nevertheless, the boxes we are supposed to fill up are pretty much the same. We all need to sleep, we all need to work, and we all need to take care of ourselves and our loved ones. These are your three main boxes, everything else is just extra. If any of that “extra” is interrupting your three main boxes, then you have three options:

1- FIX IT

2- GET RID OF IT

or

3- CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE ABOUT IT

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The first box is a no brainer, WE HAVE TO SLEEP!!! We have to rest, we have to recharge. So, let’s make sure we are getting enough rest EVERY night and that nothing gets in the way of our RESTING BOX.  I know there are some very rare exceptions, people who can get away with sleeping less than 5 hours a day and working more, but it is NOT recommended. Don’t fall for the entrepreneur hype! There are a lot of executives  and entertainment moguls telling you they only sleep about 4 hours a day. THIS IS RUBBISH! People don’t operate proficiently if they are regularly sleeping less than 6 hours a day. THEY DON’T! Just to name a few things that happen without proper rest: depression, dumbing down, forgetfulness, fatigue, lack of sex drive, insomnia, and unwanted weight gain. (P.S. Later, I will go into depth about proven ways to get better sleep.)

  • Second rule- Protect your off hours.

This is your second box. It is filled with self-care and love. Your off hours are the hours you aren’t working, at work, or clocked in at work. This is not your sleeping hours either. That has its own box. Your off hours are the hours you spend with your family, your friends, your spouse, or your special “person”. Your off hours are the hours you get to spend developing yourself as a person. This means exercising, eating right, meditating, saving time for God, cultivating your craft, working on your hobby, reading, etc. You want to do the best you can to protect those hours simply by leaving your work at WORK. Do not bring it home, don’t check emails, don’t come home with the same attitude you had at work, don’t take phone calls that are work related, don’t tweet, post, or snap about your horrible day at work. I know it is hard, but not thinking about work once you are done with work will help your transition to your “leisure” hours. This box might seem like the easiest to deal with because it’s filled with the things you love, but these are the hours we need to guard the most. This is how yoga comes in handy. Practicing yoga keeps you present and mindful. It allows you to notice right away when you are losing focus even when you’re off your mat. Compartmentalizing means that even your “OFF” hours are divided into small, actionable tasks.

 

If you are exercising, exercise.

If you are stretching, stretch.

If you are meditating, meditate.

If you are praying, pray.

If you are reading, read.

If you are writing, write.

If you are reflecting, reflect.

If you are watching t.v, watch t.v.

If you are cooking, cook.

If you are cleaning, clean.

If you are running errands, run them.

If you are getting a manicure, pedicure, or any sort of beauty maintenance, just do that.

If you are having conversations with loved ones, focus on that conversation.

 Don’t think, DO!

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A yogi doesn’t think they should do a headstand, they just do it. They don’t think about how long they should hold it for, they just hold it for as long as they can. They don’t think about the person next to them, what happened at work the day before, they’re not thinking about the email they just received, or about the annoying post people keep reposting. They’re standing on their head and that is the only action. Thinking about anything else will cause that yogi to fall. This yogi in a headstand is a great metaphor for compartmentalization in our everyday lives. We learn to compartmentalize by doing one thing at a time. Forget about the multi-tasking babble during your off hours. You’re not working, nothing has to be perfect. You don’t HAVE to hold a balance pose perfectly, just feel yourself holding it. During your off hours you are in charge, you shouldn’t feel rushed or behind. Give yourself a break. The trick is to get out of your head and do the things you need to do, one activity at a time.

 

  • Third rule- Apply intense focus to your working hours.

Your sleeping hours and your “off” hours help determine how productive you will be during your working hours. This box is your money-making box. This is how you can afford shelter, water, food, clothes, hobbies, a family, vacations, furniture, cell phones, entertainment, etc. We can’t neglect this box. You were hired or you are the boss for a reason. Stop being unproductive and stay focused enough to meet the standards that you have been held to…

When your mind is elsewhere, distracted, or busy and anxious and stressed – you are not being the best you can be and you won’t produce how you should. First, find out why you are distracted, anxious, or stressed then-

1- FIX IT

2- GET RID OF IT

or

3- CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE ABOUT IT

 

When your head is spinning with alarms, deadlines, and to-do lists; find out why, and then:

1- FIX IT

2- GET RID OF IT

or

3- CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE ABOUT IT

 

If you catch yourself spending too much time on social media:

1-Keep your phone on silent, not vibrate, silent. Check it every other hour for 5 minutes only. (FIX IT)

or

2- Keep your phone off while you are working. (GET RID OF IT)

or

3- Stop caring about your phone. (CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE ABOUT IT)

 

Your focus needs to be on your performance and on your actions. Not inside your head, or the news, or Facebook. Compartmentalizing means you are going to limit the amount of information you consume during the day and focus on the task at hand. The amount of information your brain can process is limited, so instead of filling it with useless substance like gossip, endless news articles, Snapchat, comparisons, etc. Fill it with things that are meaningful to you and things that are going to help make you a better performer.

 

How do I compartmentalize? I follow an 8 x 8 x 8 box method.

 

  • I get 8 hours of sleep without a doubt. (I have trained myself for this with yoga. I use to have insomnia due to hyperactivity.)

  • I work 8 hours a day. (I don’t do any of my work at home. I don’t check emails or plan lessons. Everything that needs to be done I get it done during working hours. Read more here.)

  • I’m left with 8 hours for leisure activities and errands. (These hours are cut down when you include the hours spent in traffic or other miscellaneous stuff, but my off hours are very well protected.)

 

Again, everyone’s schedule is going to be different. We aren’t all living the same lives, that would be weird! Maybe you have to work more, maybe you work less. It doesn’t matter! You can still compartmentalize your day.The key is to separate your three main boxes and then- WORK HARD during work, SLEEP WELL during sleep, and LIVE during off-hours.

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