I was talking with a friend of mine who leads a non-profit organization. He makes a concerted effort to network with counterparts of various other organizations, similar in nature. While we were having lunch we discussed some of the challenges that were fairly common in life, professional and personal alike. One of the most, if not the most, frequent issue is that of feeling as if there isn’t enough time to do everything.

We have all been there at one point or another and many of us feel like we are life-long citizens of this seemingly militia state. There is the demand of work, the kids, quality time with our partner, any volunteering we may do, family demands, dealing with in-laws and all the idiosyncrasies that go along with all of these things. It can seem like this overwhelming nightmare.

You may even be one of the many people who utilize a day planner. You’re day is mapped out, sometimes days or weeks in advance. You know exactly what you need to do nearly every minute of the day. You are organized and you are very efficient. There may even be an underlying thread of jealousy among your peers because of your efficiency and appearance of “having it all together.”

Why is it, then, that you are still feeling drained and exhausted all the time, or beginning to burn out? You try to eat right, you exercise and do all the things you’re “supposed” to do. There is something strangely missing from your list of things to accomplish and how to manage them all. “You” time.

We will never have any more than 112 hours each week, assuming you get 8 hours sleep each night; which is highly suggested. So the notion of creating more time is unrealistic. If we had an extra day in the week, we would simply plan more stuff to do. What you can do is make the time you need.

What many of us fail to do is to give ourselves permission to plan some personal downtime. We need it to rejuvenate and be effective, rested and most importantly happy. This should happen on all levels of our timelines. Plan your annual vacation in advance. Plan a time each month to have some quality down time once a month. Each week, plan a day (or part of one) that is your time to not be pulled in 50 different directions. It could be called an admin day or your strategy period; either way you are not to be disturbed unless the building is on fire. Each day, take some time to just step away from it all for a few minutes, and lunch doesn’t count. Usually we are scrambling to beat the clock on lunch anyway…that’s not downtime.

Pull out your day planner and begin adjusting how your days, weeks, months and year look. It will be one of the few single events that can have an exponential impact on your life. It is a very practical and healthy way to pro-actively manage your life. I continually say that life is to be lived, not endured. Plan your downtime and begin enjoy your life in a greater capacity.