Life balance despite traffic + rains
If you would peek inside a multi-tasking woman’s things-to-do list, whether she’s single, married, a stay-home or working mom, an entrepreneur or employee, you would see 10,000 things to do in a day (okay, that’s an exaggeration—maybe only 9,000).
One of the top issues women deal with is balancing work and having a life. If we are working too hard, we feel guilty for not spending time for ourselves or family; when we are doing that, we feel guilty that we are not working.
We women are continually battling ourselves on whichever side—to feel more guilty.
Being subjected to horrendous traffic for 2 to 4 hours every day (especially this rainy season) is also not helping.
Instead of having more time to spend with a loved one, or indulge in a hobby or something that nourishes your soul, we are stuck with watching telenovelas (increasing the need for drama in our life), surfing on social media (creates a feeling of FOMO and envy), and eating junk food (messes up our hormones = moodiness and extreme craziness) while trying to get to point A from point B.
But since traffic is such a reality in our lives, how can we make sure it doesn’t drive us nuts?
Here are some of my coping mechanisms learned from juggling five kids, a husband (sixth kid, the most difficult one), several businesses, friends and community relationships, and loving myself.
1. Start your week with roles and priorities.
I follow the teachings of Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” where you are asked to write down the different roles you play.
Every Sunday night, I would set aside time to make my schedule for the week by listing some of the priorities for the roles I want to achieve.
I would start putting those on my calendar as non-negotiables, and move my other “things to do” around it.
2. Maximize technology.
One of the things I learned from reading Tim Ferris “4-Hour Work Week” is that we need to lessen meetings that eat up most of the day.
But miscommunication is one of the top issues of the company. So, how do you address this without being stuck in the office?
We turn to technology.
Apps like Viber, WhatsApp, and Messenger can keep everyone on the team in the loop. You can immediately raise issues, plus upload photos for better understanding.
If finding a common schedule is as challenging, you can use Doodle. If you need to streamline communication and things to do, there is Asana.
If being physically not present for a meeting is not possible, try meeting through Zoom.
3. Learn to say no.
Knowing what is essential in your life, or your “why,” is important in keeping your decision making at bay.
When I read the Simon Sinek’s “Find Your Why” and went on a journey of discovering my purpose, it was easier for me to say no to some projects and events, and to streamline my priority list.
Sometimes, we get stuck to doing things we are not passionate about and/or because we are too shy to say no.
4. Organize meetings and errands geographically.
I am from the south, so going to Ortigas and—God forbid—Quezon City is literally making luwas for me.
So, If I need to go further north, I would schedule it in a way that I can do other things on the way to the area or going back.
So maybe, after my meeting, I would meet friends from that side of town for coffee, and proceed to another meeting or a shop I want to see nearby.
5. Shop online.
There are several reasons why brick-and-mortar shops are dying all over the world; in the Philippines, traffic is one of them.
If you already know your size and fit, or are just ordering a repeat item or a staple, find an online shop where you can buy it from without going through the traffic.
6. Take advantage of the different courier services for errands.
Instead of personally sending stuff in your “to do list,” use same-day courier services. There is Lalamove, Grab Express, Angkas, etc.
Some services let you book and pay online, and offer day-to-day service.
7. Last and the most important is to “Forgive yourself.”
We women tend to self-flagellate and be overly dramatic. Let us stop the internal fighting, and accept that some things are beyond our control.
We subject ourselves to an unreal expectation of what we need to look like and accomplish.
Feeling guilty when we couldn’t get pork buns for our kids, or add one hour to our travel time just to do so, doesn’t do us any good.
Best to save the 300 calories/piece for a pork bun date with your kid.
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