A few months ago I was in quite a dilemma: not enough hours in the day to accomplish a bunch of tasks. I know what you are thinking… “Welcome to my world!” We are all there, right? Not enough time to finish work projects. Not enough time to spend with the kids. And the laundry piles, dear God the laundry piles… not sure there is EVER enough time to conquer those.
I was seriously stressing over my current work and life goals, as well as the way my jeans were fitting, or should I say, not fitting. I decided to attack it all head on and put my strategies to a daily schedule to chip away, but there was literally not enough hours in the day to fit it all in. So I had to get creative…
I am always looking to multi-task… I fold laundry while catching up on shows I dvr’d, I watch free webinars while lifting weights in my family room, and I often make necessary calls while on a long drive.
The two big goals I needed to accomplish both require a lot of time: running regularly and learning about marketing a non-profit mission. Weird combo, right? You see, I co-Founded a non profit organization a few years ago to help find and fund a cure for a blindness that my two sons have. Starting a non profit is just like starting a business… my problem was that I had no formal training to do it and I had a family with three kids to raise… two of which are blind. Time is definitely not a luxury I have an abundance of… so throw in the gazillion hours it takes to start a new venture with people in different parts of the country, and voila!… you can imagine my chaotic life! I create websites in the middle of the night, schedule conference calls after the kids are in bed, the list of maximizing hours goes on.
So this brings me to the first issue at hand: marketing. This is something that is crucial to the success of growing a mission and something I have no training in other than trial and error (emphasis on error). Until three years ago I was a stay-at-home mom working full time on raising kids, including two special needs kids. I was a soccer coach and a PTO mom. I mastered how to get kids excited about learning a new sport and get people excited about a PTO event and school fundraising contests. But how could that translate to a worldwide mission that needs millions of people to pay attention to find the millions of dollars it takes to succeed? I needed to get serious about marketing: defining messages, streamlining content, utilizing all avenues of the media and social media to their fullest potential, while spending little to no fundraising dollars on it all. I researched authors, professors, successful people in the field and set out to read everything they wrote. (Are you wondering how I was going to find the time to deal with yet another addition to my to do list? Read on…)
At the same time I decided to learn more about this key business area, I realized my energy was depleting, my jeans were way too tight, and my happier than happy moments that I used to have many of in a day weren’t as frequent anymore. Was I too stressed? Of course, but my life has been stressful for years! Was I tired from long work and family hours? Sure, but so is everyone else! Something just wasn’t right… and I figured it out: I had no time to exercise anymore.
I am one of those people that needs a good 45 minutes to an hour of cardio to clear the mind and get the heart pumping… and I need to do that daily to feel at my very best. But an hour???? How am I supposed to fit in that much time? 1 hour is equivalent to writing and sending press releases! 1 hour is equivalent to running an event planning meeting! And 1 hour a day is what I needed to read all the marketing publications I collected!
If I was going to get back to exercising regularly in conjunction with all of life and work to-do’s, I had to multi-task. I remembered back in my college sorority days when I spent two months memorizing a two hour speaking part for a ritual while working out on my roommate’s stairmaster machine. Could I find a similar solution now? What could I do while running that would help me check a few boxes off of my to do list? I can’t exactly hold every meeting at the local park’s running trail (its hard enough to get volunteers – can you imagine if I make them all run with me?!). Can’t send emails about research updates while jogging through my neighborhood. However, I COULD tackle the reading pile while running…. with audio books!
Yes! That was the answer! I looked on iTunes for one of the titles I wanted to read and there it was. Book found. Book downloaded. Book now has me anxious to get out to run and hear what the next chapter, the next lesson, has in store for me. For one hour a day I am “reading”, learning, and running… maximizing time while feeling better and better.
And the best part: the muffin top I gained while sitting at the computer so much, (you know, the “extra baggage” that hangs over the jeans that you squeezed into)… it’s dwindling every day, with every mile, and with every chapter.
If you have recommendations of good resources for me to listen to, shout ’em out! Other productive multi-taking ideas? Share them with me!
The Eye Believe in Miracles BLOG is written by Kristin Smedley, mom of two sons living with blindness, as well as a sighted daughter . The Smedley family co-founded the Curing Retinal Blindness Foundation and host the largest CRBF fundraiser, Bike the Basin. If you would like to Join The Mission to help fund cures for retinal diseases please DONATE here. If you would like Kristin to speak at your upcoming event, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org Together we can do so much.