Whether your demanding job has you working overtime, or you’re trying to balance life with freelance gigs and a teething toddler, here are nine ways you can bring order to your busy schedule and reduce unnecessary stress.
The Night Before To-Do List
About a year ago, I began writing a to-do list at night. It helped me realize that the next day was, in fact, manageable. The act of simply writing down the jumble of things dancing in my head eased my anxiety and helped me sleep better.
Just Say NO
Yes, I’ll join your committee! Sure, I’ll be there on Saturday night. What should I bring? Yes, feel free to add those six extra things onto my overwhelming workload! You need me to work late? NO NO NO! I get it, you want to be helpful and make everyone happy, but by saying yes to everything, you’re going to drown yourself. Women in particular have a hard time saying no, but the sooner you start putting it into the practice, the easier it becomes. Try it, and see how dramatically your life begins to shift.
Always Make Your Bed
I’m totally guilty of abandoning messes in the bedroom and kitchen. While trying to scurry out the door to drop a child off at daycare and make an early morning conference call, it’s easy to let other things slide. You may not be able to tackle the laundry or Lego mess at 7:30 am, but making your bed takes two minutes, and it can change the forecast of your entire day. Even if you need to set the alarm for five minutes earlier, it’s worth it.
Schedule your yoga practice or massage therapy like you would an important meeting. Book it in advance and put it in your calendar so that it becomes something to look forward to, something that actually happens.
To prevent 3:00 pm ’emergency’ runs for chocolate, keep healthy snacks ready in the fridge at all times. My snack staples are apples, avocados (for guacamole, or just on their own), almonds, dates, dried seaweed, trail mix and Yoplait Source yogurt. On good weeks, I manage to wash and chop veggies on Sunday so that I can start my workweek with quick grabs of sliced peppers, cucumbers, celery, broccoli, carrots, and cherry tomatoes.
I didn’t learn how to properly delegate until I had my baby and had no other choice. However, since I’ve started shuffling things off my plate, restructuring the Shedoesthecity work environment and asking my partner or family members to help with childcare when needed, life has gotten easier. Delegate wherever possible. Don’t think of it as dumping your responsibilities onto others; usually the people in your life are more than happy (even eager) to help.
With the weather quickly changing, this is a terrific time of year to organize your closet and pass on any clothes you don’t wear regularly to people who want and need them. Plan a weekend afternoon for the entire family to do a household cleanse, and find a local charity who will gladly take your pre-loved items.
Pick One Thing
Every household has a few things that cause chaos. In our house, it was keys and baby shoes. I was beginning to feel as though every time I tried to leave the house, I was either on a mad scavenger hunt for his shoes or my keys. Whatever your thing is, make a concerted effort to do something about it. Just pick one thing. For us, we bought hooks and our keys ALWAYS go in the same place now. We’re still working on shoes.