Make a Daily Routine List
That way if something should come up you can add it to your list or just move whatever is less important to later. Prioritize the list. The things that must get done TODAY should be done first. That way you are not stressing out at the end of the day. It will be easier to stay on task when a distraction occurs.
Run Errands at Lunch
Pay bills, pick up daily essentials, make doctors appointment, dentist appointment, respond to emails, or return phone calls.
Be Happy Without Being Perfect
A book recommendation (which I read before writing this blog) – Be Happy Without Being Perfect, by Alice D. Domar. A great chapter was called “Tame Your To-Do List.” Here is a teaser, you must buy this book.
Make three lists: One of what MUST get done today (list A), one of what you would like to do (list B), and one of what has to be done eventually, but not immediately (list C). Alice D. Domar explains that your to-do lists already feels less intimidating, because the one list that really matters is list A. If you accomplish list A, you can move to List B and list C. If things come up during the day, add it to the necessary list.
She also says to be realistic with your scheduling. You can’t be expected to do everything in one day. Those around you, including yourself, shouldn’t have the expectation that you are going to do everything and do it perfectly.
Another great book is Getting Things Done by, David Allen. The book is about the art of stress-free productivity. It will teach you everything you need to know about work and life productivity and getting it all done without feeling overwhelmed.
When in the midst of feeling overwhelmed, stop and take three long breaths. This will help you come back to the present moment. When we are busy, we detach from the present (and from our bodies) and are only focusing on what we have to do next. This breathing exercise can be done anywhere and only takes a few minutes.
Let It Go
If your to-do list for the day has too many items, let go of a few activities. It’s more important to be happy and healthy than it is to get a few extra things done that can wait until the next day, or the next week.
At work and at home, get rid of the clutter. Your desk at work should have proper file folders, organizing gadgets, pens, paper, etc. Make sure everything is at your finger tips, so you are not always searching the office for those daily essentials. Clean your desk before you leave, so you come to a clean space in the morning. At home: keep everything you need daily in the same place so you are not wasting time searching. Make a menu for the week, and only buy those items when you do groceries. Knowing what you are going to make for the family when you get home will save precious time searching the cabinets and fridge, wondering what to make.
You don’t have to do it all. If you have children, get them to pitch in. Give your children simple chores and reward them for doing it. Sit down with your partner and make a list of chores/errands that you will divide between each other. Keep the list posted where everyone can see it. Do the same thing at work. Ask yourself, what am I doing that I could delegate to someone else? We often take on the task ourselves because we think it will be quicker. It might take more time in the beginning, when training someone, but overtime you will free up those timing-taking tasks that should not be on your plate.
Learn When to Say No
Setting boundaries at work and in your personal life is so important. How often do you say yes to something that you already know you don’t the time for. Get rid of the guilt of saying no. You can phrase a no response in a positive way. For example: “I’m sorry. I can’t do this right now.” “Let me think about it and get back to you.” “I can’t do this, but I can do…” If someone asks me to do something on a day that I’m not available, or just really swamped, I will give them alternative dates. It makes them feel that I really do care and I’m not just brushing them off.
Group Similar Activities Together
What can be done together? For example, making dinner & lunch: when making dinner, also prepare the lunches for the next day. One day a week, prepare several meals at once. Prepare meals that can be reheated or frozen for quick thaw. At work, think about similar tasks that can be bulked together. In the morning, I spend 1-hour responding to emails and the next hour returning phone calls. These two tasks are similar, they are responsive, so bulking them together forces me set aside the time in bulk instead of spreading them out throughout the day. Ask yourself, who do I need to call? Who do I need to email?What else can you group together for efficiency?
Ask For Help
The simplest thing we can do, yet the hardest to ask for. Very simple, when I can’t do it all, I’m honest and ask for help. What areas of your life do you feel are overwhelming right now? Who can you reach out to for help? Maybe it is a family member, a coworkers, a friend, or even hiring a coach. I get many clients who are just looking for a way to create balance in their lives and they want me to help them create a life-plan.
Laurie-ann Sheldrick, The Contagiously Positive Girl