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Keeping everything moving is a fine art these days! We all seem to be juggling a hundred things and finishing the day exhausted. Just me? No, didn’t think so. Here are some tips that might help you when you’re on the verge of tearing your hair out with the stress of it all.
Don’t skip the lists… Writing things down is the only way most busy people remember to do things. Our brains are so full of day-to-day tasks that remembering to book a table at a restaurant, pay a bill, or take your car to the garage can slide down the list and before you know it the deadline has passed. The basic calendar on the iPhone is my life and soul, but these notepads are beyond gorgeous if you prefer pen-to-paper:
…But don’t make too many! List upon lists of lists…exactly how confused do you want to be? Keep it simple. One notepad/one app, split into sections, and you can’t go wrong.
Prioritise. When my friends and family fall to the bottom of my list, I know it’s time to make some adjustments. Keep in mind what the important things are, and don’t miss out on them if you can help it. Nobody wants to look back on life and realise they missed out on making some fantastic memories because they were cleaning the kitchen (although I do love a good cleaning spree, I must confess).
Look out for number one. Burning out never achieved anything, unless you’re counting trips to the doctors or chocolate bars consumed in a short space of time. You absolutely must write some me-time into your diary, doing something you love just for you. Schedule it ahead of time, and stick to it resolutely. There’s no shame in saying ‘sorry, I can’t see you tonight, I have plans’, even if those plans involve you and a bubble bath.
And in that vein, learn to say no. You don’t have to agree to everything, and if agreeing to something means less time for yourself, your family, your friends, or your deadline at work then just. Say. No. You have to start protecting yourself and your own interests, and those who matter won’t mind.
But don’t forget how to say yes. You don’t have to say yes to every charity event, babysitting request, dinner with the in-laws, or small project handed to you by your boss which you can absolutely delegate. But you should say yes to new experiences, new challenges, old reunions, and friends who need someone to lean on.
It’s not a competition. Sometimes it feels like we compete to be busier than the next person, but to what end? So we feel less guilty missing social engagements, so we feel like we’re accomplishing more? It’s not cool. Of course some of us do have more to do than others, that’s life, but entering into some bizarre competition of ‘who’s the busiest?’ adds unnecessary pressure and creates a bad vibe. Accept that your friends have other priorities sometimes and you can’t be everyone’s focus all the time, while hoping they realise the same thing. Listen to what they tell you about their day, and wait for them to listen to you. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind, and sometimes one person has less to do than the next. I shouldn’t have to tell you that that’s OK.