If you are like most women I talk to, busyness has taken over, and you can’t believe half the year is behind us. My friends are overwhelmed, and they’re longing for “the good old days” when summer meant slowing down. When we start digging for the root cause of being stressed out, often it’s poor time management. We forget we’re in control of our schedules, instead of letting our calendars control us. I say “we” because I’m part of this crowd, even though I know better!
If you are feeling stressed and don’t have time to do the things you really want to do, here are a few tips to help simplify your life.
- Set your intention. If you begin each day by declaring your intention for the day, it will set the mood for whatever you want to create. You might want to be productive; achieve a certain goal; have a sense of peace, or to handle a situation with grace. Your intention might be tied to your physical health, emotional well-being or relationships, but it should always support your purpose.
- Live with purpose. The core of your daily routine must revolve around your life’s purpose. What are you called to do? What gifts and skills are you using to live out that calling? You were created for a specific role in the universe, and fully equipped for your life’s journey which was planned long before you were born. If you’re focused on living out your purpose, no matter what your season of life, then everything falls in to place much easier. Knowing your God-designed calling provides the foundation for the next steps.
- Don’t multi-task. It’s true multi-tasking means you get several things done at one time, but none done will be done very well. As women, we think we have to do it all, and it must be done right now, but multi-tasking leads to being disorganized, forgetful and frazzled.
- Prioritize. Most of us have to-do lists a mile long. We feel overwhelmed just looking at them. At the beginning of the week, make a list of everything you want to accomplish, and rank them 1, 2 or 3. Tackle the most important items first, and leave the lowest until later. Delegate when you can, and tell people you will get back to them in 48 hours.
- Use time-blocking. It’s amazing how much you can get done when you’re focused and not distracted. Look at your to-do list; choose the top priorities, and block out sufficient time early in the day when you have greater clarity, energy and creativity. Unplug from email, social media and your phone, and set a timer if you have to. Then reward yourself for accomplishing your goal in record time!
- Don’t overbook your calendar. A full calendar is not a badge of honor. It only leads to stress, guilt, resentment and a host of other negative emotions. Instead, see how much white space you can leave in your calendar each day to plan for traffic delays; expect some tasks to take longer than you anticipated, and allow yourself time to unwind. “Life happens,” and there will often be something that disrupts your schedule. If you are already stressed, you’re more likely to have a meltdown.
- Unplug. Take a break from social media. Don’t be an “insta-reply” when someone calls or emails you. Remember, you have trained them that their issues are more important than yours! Use the extra time to address your priorities and to breathe!
- Just say no. One of the biggest factors of stress and being overwhelmed is our inability to say no. Too often, we accept an opportunity out of obligation or guilt, and afterwards are filled with resentment and frustration. The more you say “yes,” the more people will let you say yes. When you learn to say “no,” it opens up the space in your life to do the things that align with your purpose and goals
We all have the same 24 hours in every day. It’s what you do with those hours that makes the difference in your overall mental and physical health. What doesn’t get done today will still be waiting for you tomorrow, and the world will still be turning. What will you do better this week to take back control of your life?