There are so many routes I could take with this post. As a inherent people pleaser, I have a really hard time saying “no.” I’ve gotten better over time and as I get older, but I’ve consistently put myself last and left myself feeling drained, unsatisfied, and confused.
I’ve always liked being “busy,” and wore it like a badge of honor. I took it as a sign that people needed and wanted me around. But, once I became a wife and took on more responsibilities at work, I needed to do a little re-organization of how I approached my days and my life. By no means is this perfect, and I think my first tip (before I get to the actual 5 ?) would be to allow yourself grace to screw it up. It’s a constant evaluation and an ever changing system, so don’t beat yourself up if you start to slip or feel overwhelmed again. It’ll happen, cause it’s life.
I’m also not an expert. I have chosen to take on my passions and work full-time, and I know there’s a lot of others like me. I fully know not all of these will work for everyone, and that’s ok. These are just some ideas to get you started.
Number 1: Make a list of your weekly responsibilities
Sometimes just seeing it all on paper is the best place to start. This could easily get out of hand, so I’d limit to high level things. (Go to work, weekly date with husband, piano lessons, gym, etc).
Number 2: Prioritize
You only have so many hours in a day, which requires prioritizing. It’s a good habit to get into, because every career in the world will require this task of you. Take the list you just wrote, and highlight the absolute “have to do’s” in one color. Take another color and highlight the next level of required tasks, and then one final color for the next level. There should be items that do not make it past this point. It’s a great way to visualize what is taking up the majority of your time, and what things might need to wait in order to keep your sanity.
Number 3: Schedule and Calendars
Chances are good those tasks you highlighted as your “have to do’s” are aligned to some type of schedule. Write it down. In a planner, calendar, your phone. Whatever it may be. Simply going to work 8 hours a day isn’t something to take lightly. Put it in your phone. You are busy during that time. Then, you can take your next section of highlighted tasks and fill them in where you are available. If they don’t make it on the calendar, they get shifted to the next week.
What also helps me is blocking out a certain day to complete a task. For example, every Sunday morning I do laundry right away when I wake up. If I need to run off to an activity, I’ll have it started so it’s not as daunting when I come home.
Number 4: Holding yourself and others accountable
This is easier said than done sometimes. It’s taken discipline and conversation with others to have success here. For example, I purposely do not put my work email on my phone. It’s something all of my colleagues know, because it’s easy for me to be distracted by them when it’s after hours and I’m having dinner with my husband, etc. This allows more time for my other activities and time to give my brain a break. It depends on your job, but if you have an environment that’s open to work-life balance discussions, it’s worth it to bring it up. If you work for yourself, cut yourself off emails at a certain point. Maybe that’s 6 pm, or maybe it’s 9 pm. If you find yourself tripping up, add it as an alert in your phone.
Number 5: Have something to look forward to
I can’t stress this one enough. Whether it’s date night, happy hour, or your favorite show, plan to have something to look forward to each week in your schedule. It has been the best thing I’ve done to keep my sanity and focus.
These are just some suggestions that have helped me get past feeling burnt out and overwhelmed and make me actually find a solution as opposed to being stressed. ? Do you have anything that helps you better balance life? Share with me in the comments! ?