“Sacrificing is different from compromising. Do not compromise.” — Misti Burmeister

Do you consciously schedule your time?

Do you give yourself time limits?

Charlotte Jones, a fellow participant at a recent SOAR retreat, helped me remember why it’s important to be intentional with my schedule.

Thirty minutes into the first day of our retreat, Charlotte arrived looking disheveled, exhausted, and annoyed. After being welcomed by the other seven participants and our brilliant host, Mali Phonpadith, Charlotte began telling us why she chose to participate in the retreat.

Being a mother, business owner, dermatologist, and wife, Charlotte was struggling to meet the demands of her full life. “Look at me. I’m fat and tired,” she shared. “My staff keeps telling me I need to make some changes, because I’m clearly not looking the part. Some of my clients actually look me up and down when they walk into my office.”

Now, that’s pressure!

When have you experienced that much pressure and stress?

Throughout the retreat, Charlotte remembered why she chose dermatology. Her face lit up as the other participants helped her identify the common themes she’d touched on throughout the retreat.

“You’re passionate about all-natural facial products,” one participant pointed out. “And your heritage is Haitian. Why don’t you start selling facial products made in Haiti?”

Charlotte’s hand ran across the page as she captured all the great ideas. Her spirit had clearly been reignited as she considered the bigger game she could play in her business and at home.

While clarifying her vision and passion was a great start, Charlotte also needed help with her time-management challenges.

Just listening to her talk about her sleeping habits exhausted me: “I eat a big dinner around 2 a.m.,” she said. “I go to bed for a couple of hours, and then get up and have breakfast.”


After everyone else had shared their ideas, I put three empty cups in front of Charlotte. Then I picked up a pitcher of water and said, “This is your energy for the day.”

I poured a little water into the first cup, even more into the second cup, and the rest into the third. “This is all the energy you get. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Be intentional about where you’re pouring your energy. You can do the things that are most important to you. You’ve just got to choose what those are, based on your vision for your business and your personal priorities.”

Then I added three more empty cups to the table, took one of the original cups (with water already in it), and poured a little bit into each empty cup.

“These empty cups are your team members,” I explained. “When you pour a little bit of your energy into their cups, you empower them to help you. Then they can take some of the less-important tasks off your plate, freeing you up to focus on what really matters – like furthering your vision and spending time with your family.”

The truth is that to accomplish great things and live full lives, we all must make sacrifices. None of us has enough energy to do everything we want to do by ourselves. The trick is being intentional about what we’re sacrificing, and identifying people who can pick up some of our slack.

Sacrificing is different from compromising. Do not compromise. It’s important to insist on excellence, which means you have to pick the right teammates and put the ball fully in their court.

Join the Conversation: What are your best tips for time management?

Misti Burmeister, best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across GenerationsHidden Heroes and Power Suck.

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