“How can I have it all?” is a question many people want answered. And believe me having it all sounds great, but isn’t it a fantasy to some extent? Instead of looking for the way to “have it all,” what if we ask, “how can I balance it all?” In a world where many of us are partners, parents, entrepreneurs, and students trying to juggle it all, how do we make sure we are achieving all that we need and hope to?
Just like everyone else, I’ve had trouble keeping all the balls in the air, but as a happiness and wellbeing expert, I’ve developed skills that help me find balance in my day-to-day life, and I’ve taught others how to do the same, as well as how to build in time to set longer-term goals and strive for even more.
I’m sure many of us have been told we should be better multi-taskers. Rather than spreading ourselves so thin each day, what if we instead committed ourselves to dedicating smaller amounts of time to individual tasks? Think about your current multi-tasking, let’s say cooking and being on the phone (we’ve all done it!). You are trying to have a conversation with a friend and all of a sudden sugar goes into the sauce instead of salt. Or worse, your friend asks you a question and you tune out to set the timer and miss what she’s saying. There’s an awkward pause, and she’s left wondering if you’ve been listening at all.
To avoid multi-tasking fails, and to complete your to-do list in a more productive way, I recommend single-tasking. You can accomplish more with fewer mistakes when you dedicate small periods of time to single tasks. As a wife, a mom, founder of the Village Workspaces, coworking spaces and a month away from having a doctorate in workspace wellbeing, I have an enormous amount on my plate already, but when you add the big to dos, like planning a vacation, saving for retirement or preparing to buy a home, it can sometimes feel unmanageable and just too much.
Let’s start our single-tasking now by choosing one of these instances to dive into.
We all know friends and family who want to buy a home, either soon or a bit down the road. In fact, seventy-two percent of millennials say they’re prioritizing homeownership according to Bank of America’s Homebuyer Insights Report. That’s a huge number of people, so let’s use it as an example. How do they make the goal of homeownership a reality?
It may seem like a major uphill battle, not only financially, but also logistically. This is where I’d recommend testing out my single-tasking concept to find balance and productivity that works for you. Break the journey into steps, starting with your research to know where and what you want to buy. Mix researching neighborhoods and homes into your daily routine, whether it is on your commute (not while driving!), or before you go to bed. It is all about getting through that first step and dedicating a period of time to it.
Once that’s done, you’ll want to determine your budget and how much you’re going to be able to afford. This requires taking stock of your finances and being honest with yourself – but trust me, you’ll be glad you did it.
I recommend using apps to track your budget. Whether it’s through your relationship bank or a third party, tapping into useful technology goes a long way.
New technology has allowed prospective home buyers to do more on their own time. Even getting the ball rolling on your mortgage can be done online rather than going into a lending office in-person. If you haven’t found a property yet but want to get prequalified to find out how much you can spend on a home, the Digital Mortgage Experience can help with that. Or, if you’ve already signed a contract to purchase a home, use the Digital Mortgage Experience online or on your mobile device and apply for your mortgage conveniently and easily, with the added bonus of your own lending specialist if you want to talk to someone along the way.
Once you get prequalified and know how much you can borrow, you’re ready to find the right real estate agent and begin the exciting task of shopping for your future home.
When you have a lot of responsibilities, writing a to do list and ticking it off, then finding a successful balance and setting new goals for yourself takes time and effort. Using single-tasking to efficiently master the need-to-do tasks of the day will allow you to spend more time doing the things you love.
Once you are able to finesse your balance, you’ll find you’re no longer worrying yourself about how to have it all because you’ll have found a place of satisfaction with all that makes you happy.