Whether it’s finals, the holidays, or tax season, we all have weeks when it seems unreal that so much can be expected of us in so little time. Here are a few tips to help make your life a little less hectic when you’re going a mile a minute.
- Determine your priorities
As much as we’d like to be, we are not super heroes or time travelers. Sometimes everything we want to do simply cannot be done in a certain amount of time. It’s important in these situations to look at the big picture and identify what, realistically, we are able to accomplish.
For example, there times I find myself stressed because I’m not able do everything I would in my normal routine on top of everything required for work. It’s in these situations that I have to step back and take account of what is necessary and what is desirable. Often times my “priorities” aren’t things I desire most but that would cause me the most grief or trouble if not finished.
It gives me peace of mind to know that I am accomplishing everything I determined to be of priority and it is extremely liberating (though difficult,) to say “I can’t do that this week, and that’s okay.” An essential part of being successful and doing your best is knowing your own limits.
- Prep & Plan
Once your priorities are laid out, look ahead at your week and identify the periods you might be overwhelmed. Write down what you need to get done and when it needs to be done by. Not only are people more likely to achieve what they set out to do when they write down their goals, but by doing this you may actually find that a) your schedule isn’t as overwhelming as it seems and b) there is time in your schedule for you to fit in some of the more desirable tasks that didn’t make the first cut.
Next, brain storm what you can do to save yourself time. A huge thing for me is making sure I have meals planned out so that I’m not scrambling around or reaching for convenient (read: unhealthy) food.
Each night I take 20 minutes to prepare some fresh fruits and vegetables and take stock of what’s in the fridge for my meals the next day. I also like to make sure the coffee is ready to go and turn on the automatic timer. This way, I won’t wake up in panic or find myself scrambling to throw something together, only to be disappointed (and hungry) later on.
Another way I try to simplify is I check the weather for the next day and think about what I’m going to wear. Honestly, I usually pick out my outfits when I’m in the shower. I have a pretty good idea of what’s in my closet and even if I don’t end up wearing exactly what I planned, it still helps going in with an idea of what I’m looking for.
- Know your bed time.
Super important but very easily disregarded. Sleep. Is. Crucial. There is nothing that can make a busy week worse than being tired. Fatigue makes you irritable, irrational, and underperforming. Aim for a solid 6-8 and count back from when you need to wake up. Make sure you’re in bed by that time, with screens off.
I know all of this sounds obvious but far too many times have I gotten into bed at the right time and then played on my phone or watched TV for another hour. That doesn’t count as sleep! If you’re too wired when you hit the sheets, try reading a book or magazine. I can feel my eyelids drooping within 30 minutes almost every time.
- Be Flexible – and forgiving
Even if we planned out every day for the rest of our time on earth, things still wouldn’t go exactly as anticipated. Such is life. That’s why it’s important to always be reassessing the situation and how it relates to our priorities. Maybe the bus is late. Maybe it rains. Maybe a project takes longer than expected. Shit happens. Do what you can.“We can’t direct the wind but we can adjust our sails” Someone said that.
I personally have a hard time going off the script. It stresses me out. But it can be helpful to adopt a “go with the flow” mindset. For example, exercise is high in my priorities so if I know I have a lot of events after work, I’ll switch to a morning work out schedule instead of exercising at night. Or, if I’m not able to squeeze a work out in at all, I’ll walk to work instead of taking the bus. It’s not what I originally planned, but it’s something and it’s better than nothing.
On the flip side, some weeks I’m so stressed and exhausted that I can’t even think about going to the gym. So I give my body rest instead and I don’t freak myself out about it. Like I mentioned before, being successful is about knowing your limits and knowing when to give yourself a break. When life gives you lemons, take a nap. Then get back up and crush it.
I hope these tips are helpful for you guys! I’d love to know what helps you during a busy week. Let me know in the comments 🙂