One of the hardest parts of working any job is managing your time. You head off to work or log on at 9 AM, and by the time you commute home or simply shut your laptop, you’re exhausted. Netflix and Postmates sound like heaven and then the cycle repeats every single day. The key is being able to balance your passions with your daily responsibilities and find pockets of time to enhance your life. Read on for our new time-management obsession: The 5-9.
Figure Out What You Have Time For Outside Work
Whether you’re a morning person or a night person, the hours of 5 AM - 9 AM and/or 5 PM - 9 PM, are extremely underrated. You may think all you have time for aside from work during the week is preparing for the next day, but today's modern corporate worker has come a long way (especially if you’re working hybrid). To properly manage your time in and out of work, start by getting clear on what you want to accomplish outside of the office. Grab a journal and ask yourself these questions:
What Does My Dream Day Look Like? At first, our mind may go to sipping an Aperol Spritz on the Amalfi Coast but we’re talking about regular day-to-day. If you had to set up your perfect schedule – what would it look like?
I Feel My Best When: Are you working out every day? Hiking? Spending time with family? Reading? What activities make you feel good?
If You Didn’t Have to Worry About Money What Would You Be Doing? Here’s your permission slip to dream big. Where would you be living? How might you be making an income? Look at your hobbies for some inspiration.
Schedule a Set Amount of Time to Relax After Work
To schedule time for relaxation, you have to plan ahead. It’s important to factor in a specific amount of time – we recommend 30-60 minutes. Try scheduling it as an appointment on your Google Calendar. Cacti’s motto: If it’s not in the calendar, it’s not happening.
Keep in mind that even though it might seem like a waste at first, this is an important part of managing your stress levels and taking care of yourself. If you don’t take the time to relax after work, it will be much harder for you to stay motivated during those long hours at the office!
As far as how exactly you should relax…well, that depends on what works best for your personality type. Whether it’s TV, reading, podcasts, or exercising (it’s no coincidence that Cacti workouts are 20 minutes or less), we encourage you to try something new so you can find out what really recharges you best.
You Can Balance a Job With Your Dreams If You Are Intentional About The Way You Use Your Time
The first step in managing your time is to get rid of the idea that you're a bad manager of yourself. This is not who you are—it's simply a skill you haven't learned yet. You can learn it, but it takes time and practice (like all good things do). Your thoughts create your reality – what you tell yourself matters.
Time management isn't about working more or working less; it's about working smarter. And no one has enough time to do everything they want in one day or week or month or year. The trick is learning how to use the same amount of time more effectively through practices like blocking out distractions and setting goals for yourself before starting projects. We recommend starting with Cacti’s productivity section here. We offer tons of new ways to manage your time.
To shape your perfect 5-9, we’ve come up with some sample schedules to get you inspired. Of course, you don’t need to wake up at 5 AM or go to sleep at 9 PM to successfully manage your time, but this is our golden standard. Let us know if you try implementing any of these practices into your daily schedule!
5-9 AM Example Schedule
5 AM: This is your sacred time. In 2022 sacred time means no electronics and more specifically, no social media. We’re conditioned to reach for our phone first thing in the morning but we all know how that goes. Instead, we recommend having your phone on airplane mode so you’re not bombarded with texts and notifications. Use this time to slowly wake yourself up with the basics – brushing your teeth, washing your face, or if you’re feeling up for it, a freezing cold shower. Use this hour to get back into your body after a long night of sleep.
6 AM: Now that you’re feeling (somewhat) awake, it’s time to start that morning routine. We love starting our day with a low-impact workout like this one and following it up with an energy-boosting meditation.
7 AM: In an ideal world this is where we make our coffee and write down our to-do list for the day. We know that this isn’t always the case, some of us need more time to get ready or have a longer commute but if you make it a priority to write down the top 3 most important tasks you have for that day during this hour you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish.
8 AM: Working from home or heading to the office, one underrated productivity tip is getting ready for the day even if you are working from the kitchen table. If you look good, you feel good. Throwing on a simple pair of gold hoops could make you feel a lot more put together.
9 AM: Start your work day! You’ve got this.
5-9 PM Example Schedule
5 PM: We know everyone's schedules look different, but this is for the hour in which you close your laptop (hopefully it’s at a reasonable time). We love introducing transition activities into our day, these are activities that prepare your brain for switching tasks. We recommend our After Work Breathwork Medi.
6 PM: At some point, we’ve got to refuel our bodies. If possible, planning your meals in advance is a great way to save time if you’re in need of some healthy meal inspo try our 5-day meal plan created by a nutritionist. (Cacti Tip: Double the recipes to bring leftovers for lunch!)
7 PM: By this time we know you’re wiped. A great way to get ready for a good night's sleep is by aligning your circadian rhythm with taking an evening stroll while the sun goes down. Bring your dog, or partner, or listen to a soothing playlist to set the mood. This is also crucial for our WFH crowd, getting out of the house and into the fresh air is much needed for our mental health.
8 PM: This last hour before bed is up to YOU. Unwind with your favorite skincare (here’s a list of our fave products), read a brain-candy book, take a hot bath, or decompress with an episode of your favorite show. Just be careful not to binge-watch too many episodes – the blue light can really damage your sleep.
9 PM: Going to bed at this hour may take some getting used to but trust us it’s worth it. After your jam-packed day, you’ll be ready to lay your head on that silk pillow and count sheep. Throw on one of our deep sleep meditations for extra reassurance.
Give yourself some grace, it’s all about progress over perfection. Perfection doesn’t exist. Point blank. Constantly striving for this unrealistic standard leads to one thing, burnout.
It’s going to take some time to adjust but the main thing is to keep at it. The only time you’ll fail is if you give up. Join the Cacti community for some extra accountability!
The Cacti Team