I could make this a six-word blog post, but that wouldn’t be any fun. I’m serious about the six words.

The elusive scheme of balance is the same formula used by many who manage to build nice financial nest eggs on “mediocre” salaries. Those that do chuckle as others think how did they do that?

Today is Monday. I rolled out of bed, played with my dogs, hopped on my feet for seven-miler, ate, showered, worked on a new book proposal, and spoke with my staff before the clock struck 9:00 AM.

I went on to work a full day of client calls and job candidate interviews. Squeezed in work with my graphic designer for a speech I’m delivering in a few weeks. Had lunch with a friend. Prepared dinner for my fiancée, which I’ll finish cooking so we can enjoy it after I finish this blog post. We’ll relax and then I’ll hit the sack. (This is a mere Monday. You should see me on, say, a Wednesday.)

Your days might be different. You might be a solo guy with loads of “free” time. You might be a married woman staring at a full workday followed by children to care for so they evolve into well-adjusted adults. Whatever your situation, I’m sure you have many activities, loved ones, and an important job to fit in.

How can you have it all and enjoy it all?

I’m going to give you the two things and I’m going to help you make sure you can actually do those two things.

Schedule it and stick to it.

Ka. Boom. What gets scheduled generally gets done. The sticking to it part becomes a lot easier if you actually schedule it in the first place.

Think this is easier said than done? Maybe. But, I’d like to offer up the reasons most struggle at these two things.

Focus only on what’s important to you. You’ll be amazed at the amount of time and energy you’ll free up when you start ignoring the unimportant.

Let go of perfectionism. Don’t let your best—that’s in your heart at that moment—be the enemy of good-enough. Version one of anything is better than version none. You can always move on to version two and make it better. You can also quit after version one if you’d like.

Get rid of time-wasting activities. Yes. You do a lot of time wasting activities even when you think you’re not. Ditch them.

Schedule gaps into your schedule. Schedule the gap and keep to the schedule. When you hit that gap you can catch your breath and put something in it that’s more fun or productive.

Stop saying “Yes” to everything. You’ll be a lot happier when you learn how to tactfully say “No,” especially when it’s for unimportant requests. Oh. And, you’ll be amazed how the world keeps turning even when you’re not there. It always gets done even if it doesn’t get done the exact way you would have done it. If it didn’t get done, it likely didn’t need to get done.

Don’t multitask. First of all, there’s no such thing as multitasking. It’s usually switch-tasking because you truly can only do one thing at a time (even when you think you’re doing two). Doing your laundry while you’re reading is not multitasking. You stop reading when you need to change the load. If you don’t, you have another set of problems that I can address in another blog post.

Block out me-time, hobby-time, or date night. Pick whatever makes you feel best.

Envision the “perfect” day the night before and then assume you’ll be hosed by 9:00 AM. If you’ve scheduled the gaps, you won’t have a problem.

The Bonus Section

Make “free time” your time not “available time” to others. First, there’s no such thing as “free time” even though I used the expression. It’s all “your time.” You simply need to execute it correctly. You define what “correct” looks like.

Schedule recurring dates. This is one of the best ways to ensure you do something you love. Plop it on the calendar over and over in advance. My grade school chums and I meet for dinner on the fourth Wednesday of every month. If someone can’t make that date, he or she can slide in on the next month. We say so because it’s already on the calendar. A.K.A. Group Dates. Make them.

Outsource the chores. For the truly hard-pressed for time, this is fantastic. People can landscape your lawn, clean your house, or deliver your groceries.

Order online. Ever heard of Amazon? It’s probably heard of you.

I’d love to hear from you: What are your favorite tips and tricks to leading a balanced life?

If you enjoyed this article, you can find other wonderful tips and tricks related to life and work via the usual social spots at LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

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