Live a More Balanced Life

Tips From Happiness U

Live A More Balanced Life

Kara Fujita Jovic | Jan 15, 2018

Find Time For The Most Important

Life can get busy. Between work and family life, taking the keiki to soccer practice or spending time with friends, sometimes our needs and dreams get put on hold. So how do you make time to do the things you really want to do? How can you keep your head above water when it feels like you’re drowning in a sea of to-do lists?

Happiness U founder Alice Inoue teaches different life strategies and skills at her Honolulu school and through her website —, so we asked her to share her best tips on how to find time for what’s important and stay balanced when the going gets tough. Here are her top three tips:

Time is not your enemy

Let’s say that you have all these things to do, but you just can’t seem to ever get it done. Then, you find out that you have to leave on a trip at the end of the week, say Friday at 4:00pm, and somehow magically you get what you need done because you simply had to fit it in. Or let’s say you have a deadline of 3:00pm and at 12:00pm you still haven’t started, but somehow between 1:00pm and 3:00pm, you buckle down and you get it done. We tend to fight time but it’s not time that’s the enemy. In reality, we can be more productive with less time.

If we keep talking about how we don’t have enough time, that shows up in our reality and we’ll feel like we’re just not doing enough. But if we set deadlines for ourselves and commit to doing things in a certain amount of time, we often find that we manage to get what we need done, just by focusing on it and blocking out that time.

Anytime I catch myself thinking there’s not enough time, I stop myself and realize that there’s always enough time, we always get stuff done when we have a deadline. Even in school, you can have this project and you procrastinate on it but then somehow you make it happen. Somehow we make it happen. So it’s not time that’s the enemy, we just need deadlines to really be productive.

"We tend to say things like, ‘There’s just not enough time in the day!’ or ‘If only I had another hour,’ yet, have you ever noticed that when you have a deadline, you always end up getting things done?"

Alice Inoue

You're more productive than you think

Usually at the end of the day, many of us think about the things that didn’t happen. We think ‘Oh, I didn’t do this,’ or ‘I never finished that’. We usually talk about what we didn’t accomplish, and it can be hard to recognize all that we have done, when it feels like a whirlwind of running around or dealing with last-minute things that come up throughout the day.

So, if you can just shift your perspective and start to say what you did do instead, it can make a world of difference in how you experience your life. Recognize and say ‘I did drive the kids to 3 different locations,’ or ‘I did pack lunch for everyone, and I did pick them up…’  If you can affirm what you did do, then you’ll start to feel more productive. When you change your mindset, you change your perception of how things are.

Did you know it’s said that feeling productive is actually one of the top 10 feel-good emotions that humans can have? When you go to sleep at night, if you feel like you’ve been productive, you’ll feel a lot better. If you feel like you didn’t finish anything or get anything done, you’ll feel ‘less than’ and beat yourself up for not doing it. Realize that you were productive! Even if you surfed on the internet, what did you learn? What sales did you find out about? What things did you get interested in?  There’s a benefit for everything and sometimes we don’t look at that.

"We tend to fight time but it’s not time that’s the enemy. In reality, we can be more productive with less time."

Alice Inoue

Make real time for yourself

Even if we say we don’t have the time, we always end up finding the time to do the things that we really want to do. I know that we can always make time if we think that it’s a priority. However, what happens is, people just say "I am going to just take what time is left", but there is never time left. If you don’t schedule time for yourself, then it’s not real. If you think that after you drop the kids off to school or after you feed the family, and get the laundry done, then you'll have time for yourself, you end up not having that time, so one of the things I always tell people no matter where they are in life or how busy they are, is to make sure that they know to schedule time for themselves because we never do that for ourselves.

If you’re the person that’s providing the energy, and you’re the one that has to do a lot for your family, then you have to replenish your energy first in order to be a good parent, or good provider. If you schedule time for yourself and put it on your calendar, then you’re more likely to take that moment just for you. Then, if something else comes up and you have to reschedule your time, you’ll notice it as it will be on your radar! You’ll then be more likely to take that time for yourself the next day. Whereas if you don’t schedule it at all, then it usually doesn’t happen. Honoring time for yourself or what’s important to you is huge!