A Survival Guide for the Young Female Professional

Time Management Tips from Not-Super Woman

I’m nowhere near perfect at most things – my career, my business, staying healthy, staying in touch with family. I’m not Super Woman; there are times I have to pick up takeout for dinner because I’m working late, there are weeks when I can’t make it to the gym. Last week, my grandmother called me out for never calling her. And she was right.

The reality is that life is full of, well, stuff. All of us are busy, whether it’s with work, or kids, or extra-curricular activities, or watching Stranger Things. I still need to watch the second season.

But somehow each day goes by and we’re one day closer to the end of our story, and I’m on a journey to make the most of each moment. So here are some strategies that help me manage my not-perfect life

Wake up early. Surprise, surprise. This is a process. There will be times that you are waking up early each day for two weeks, and some days where it’s just really hard to get out of bed. That’s okay. I set my alarm clock back by around 10-15 minutes each week, and I wake up at the same time every day regardless of whether its a weekday or a weekend. One week, I’ll be waking up at 7 AM, then another at 6:45, then 6:30. I’m at 5:45 AM right now. It’s taken a looonnggg time to get there, but it didn’t happen overnight (lol at puns). Just keep trying.

Have a morning routine. The worst thing for time management is having a rushed morning. You’re not able to set intentions or have a few minutes to plan your day. Set aside 15 minutes at least to set your goals and intentions for the day and envision what your day will look like. I promise, it will help you in executing on your plan.

Create systems that send signals to your brain for things you need to do. For example, the first thing I do when I get out of bed is brush my teeth and put on my workout clothes. That pushes me out the door to the gym as soon as I’m done with my morning meditation/prayer practice. It sends a signal to the brain that the natural next step is going to the gym, which makes the action so much easier. I don’t even have to think about it anymore.

Plan your meals ahead of time. I try not to spend too much time cooking on weekdays, although on weekends when I’m traveling it is inevitable. I marinate and freeze two to three dishes on the weekends, so that all I have to do is take out the dish to thaw in the mornings and then pop it into the oven or the skillet when I get home. This buys me at least another hour and a half in the evenings to read, hang out with Shahryar, see a friend, or go to the gym if I had a busy or early morning meeting.

Have a designated chore day. I like Sundays; I stack chores so I don’t have to think about things too much or make too many decisions and waste brain power. I do the laundry, make my salads for weekday lunches, marinate food/meal prep, and do some light cleaning. If you leave chores for weekdays, it becomes really challenging to have any open pockets of time in your schedule.

Minimize the decisions you have to make. There is actually such a thing as decision fatigue; if you spend too much brain power thinking about/deciding minor things, it becomes harder to make decisions and think creatively about major things. It’s why most of us dread having to pick where to eat out. I try to save all of my creative brain power and decision making for work, so I figure out my outfit configuration (always neutral colors/black), pack my lunch (always my favorite salad with cashews, pomegranates, and sesame dressing), and have the same breakfast every morning (two hard boiled egg whites). Figure out what your standard is that you won’t get bored with and lather, rinse, repeat.

Hopefully some of these things are helpful for you. Try them out and let me know how it goes.

Sadia



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