Article Courtesy of Complicated Masterpiece Blog
It was a typical hectic morning…full of whiny, slow-moving kids, me scrambling to pack halfway decent lunches, and trying to squeeze in some things around the house before heading out. But somehow, this morning, I was overwhelmed by it all – work obligations, pressing client projects, reaching out to references for potential babysitters, creating a mental shortlist of all the calls I had to make and errands I had to run – and not to mention it was my turn to plan a date night. Mentally, I couldn’t get a handle on these tasks.
When I finally had a moment to myself in the car, I was overcome with emotions. Anxiety crept in as I navigated the heavy morning traffic, and I wondered, “How am I going to get all this done?”
It’s so important that we are clear – and realistic – about our daily goals so that we can find balance. Otherwise, we risk becoming confused, unproductive, exhausted, and stressed, which can lead to serious physical complications such as headaches, migraines, sleeplessness – even ulcers and high blood pressure.
Here’s how you can keep tasks in perspective while remaining calm, balanced, and centered.
Starting the day in prayer sets the tone for the day. There’s something about giving God the first fruits of my time, and just having those “daddy-daughter” moments before my day gets underway. A morning prayer is a wonderful way to focus your time and attention on seeking God’s plan for the day ahead. Whether you need encouragement, peace, strength, or rest, God can meet you in a very real and present way when you come before Him with a humble heart.
Manage Your Expectations
When planning your week, keep your tasks realistic and attainable, even if it’s completing just one thing per day. Remember – Superwoman is dead.
It’s perfectly fine to slow your pace. Avoid the rush by starting out with a goal of completing 3 tasks per week. If you somehow finish more on your list, great. You’ll be ahead of the game! Just be sure to start slow and keep it simple.
Prioritize and Get Organized
There are a few things to consider when prioritizing your list. You just have to put it all in perspective:
- First, ask yourself, “Does it have to be completed today? Are there serious and immediate consequences if I put this off?” if the answer is yes, that task is a top priority.
- High priority tasks have slightly negative consequences if not completed immediately.
- Projects with no penalty are third tier – or medium priority.
- Low priority assignments can simply be delegated.
Now that you’ve ranked everything on your list, create sub-categories by giving each task a number (A1, A2, A3, etc.). Be careful though…don’t spend too much of your time focusing on things that you can easily delegate.
I use Toodledo to organize, categorize my tasks (e.g., House, Kids, Health, Mom, Sorority, Business, Work, etc.), and set due dates and reminders. It puts everything in order for you, and there’s a web version available. This is just one of hundreds of apps – both free and paid – that can help you prioritize and stay productive.
Whatever tool you use is totally up to you. If you’re the type that prefers to write things down, a notebook or planner will do the trick, too.
When someone asks for your help, take your time in replying. I try to acknowledge receipt within 24 hours, and answer within 3 days. This gives me time to take a realistic look at my own list and schedule. Be sure to factor in down time (e.g., adequate sleep, QT with hubby, family time, or just catching up on your favorite show or book). Don’t get so caught up in your list that you don’t slow down and JUST BE.
If it just isn’t feasible, let the person know that your schedule won’t allow it. You could even gracefully suggest another deadline.
When stress hits you hard, and starts to affect you physically, take a moment to calm your body. Take 10 deep, slow breaths, inhaling through the nose, and exhaling through the mouth. Praying is not only something I start my day with, but at crucial moments throughout the day when I can sense the uneasiness rising.
Disconnect and Clear Your Mind
My profession mostly requires me to stay connected to people via email and social media. Dealing with a high level of activity day in and day out is a major distraction. The solution here is simple: unplug whenever you can.
If you suffer from insomnia like me, turn off your cell phone at bedtime and keep it on the far side of the room, where you won’t be tempted to check email, social media, or send texts. When I can’t fall back to sleep, and my mind is overwhelmed with tasks and ideas, I do a quick “brain dump” and write my thoughts in a notebook that I keep in my nightstand drawer.
Using these techniques can help bring calm and clarity to your day. You’ll feel emotionally, mentally, and even physically lighter, and better prepared to finish your tasks with ease.
How do you deal with your numerous obligations? Share your tips below.
Hey sis! I’m Dionne…welcome to my crazy lovely world. I’m a wife, mom of two, and creative entrepreneur with more ideas than hours in the day to implement them.
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