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Work/Life Balance

We try our best, but sometimes juggling career and family responsibilities gets the best of us and we end up stressed and exhausted — not our best selves for either our work or our relationships.


That’s a joke, right? Soccer games, networking events, homework, trade shows … we try our best, but sometimes juggling career and family responsibilities gets the best of us and we end up stressed and exhausted — not our best selves for either our work or our relationships. 

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While doing some research for this column, I came across a TED Talk by Laura Vanderkam, author of Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done. (After watching the video, I ordered the book. I’ll share more insights in upcoming issues.)

Vanderkam’s TED Talk, which has been viewed more than 6.5 million times, is titled “How to Gain Control of Your Free Time.” From that number, I’d say there are a lot of people out there who are looking for ways to find more free time. In the video she shares how “time is a choice.” She said that when we say we don’t have time, we really mean it’s not a priority to us.


“We have the power to fill our lives with the things that deserve to be there,” she said.

Say you want to run a 5K, she suggests you put the time in which you need to meet that goal into your schedule first.

“Think about your weeks before you are in them,” she said, suggesting that you take Friday afternoons to do this. Look at the whole of the upcoming week and see where you can plan those times in your schedule.

After breaking down a week into hours and subtracting the time for a 40-hour workweek and eight hours of sleep a night (I wish!), Vanderkam good-naturedly demonstrates how most of us do have time to do what we’d like to.


“It’s about looking at the whole of one’s time and seeing where the good stuff can go,” Vanderkam said. “Even if we are busy, we have time for what matters. When we focus on what matters, we can build the lives we want in the time we’ve got.”

So what matters to you? Are you looking to grow your dealership to include more locations? Or to learn how to better market your service department to bring in more new customers to the service drive? What about personal growth? Is there a class you’ve been wanting to take or an exercise regimen you’ve been promising to start? Do you want to spend more quality time with your kids, spouse and/or pets? Or travel to see parts of this great country and beautiful world that you’ve always wanted to?


Look at the week ahead. You’ve likely got approximately 72 hours a week to find some time to start working on those goals.

I know I’m inspired to start prioritizing the time I need to reach some of my ambitions. One of which is to find time to read more. One of my colleagues, a single mom with two young children, was always looking for more time to read, so she started getting up a little bit early and set aside 10 minutes every morning just to read a book. She’s said it has made a big difference in starting her day with a few minutes just to herself and she’s been enjoying a variety of authors and genres.


I am always looking for a new read. What books do you recommend? I’d love to know what really helped you advance or grow in your career and/or home life.

We’re also interested in dealers and those in our industry who have written a book or books. Let us know if you’ve written or read one. I’d like to devote upcoming columns to sharing your recommendations and the real-world advice that can help others like yourself achieve a better balance.

I would enjoy hearing from you, send your suggestions to me at the email address above. 

Click here to view more solutions from Susan Givens.

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