Life is hectic right?
Many of us are overcommitted, under focused, time limited and energy drained. I may be exaggerating but how many days, does it feel exactly like that.
If you’re anything like me, I can only hold so many thoughts in my head at one time. Purchasing a planner has been my life saver and has transformed my efforts at work, in the home and my intentional time with friends.
Nonetheless, buying a planner doesn’t really reduce stress on it’s own. There are key actions needed if you are going to be intentional about minimising stress.
I’ve listed a few below;
- Have a ‘Dumping Ground’ of thoughts / tasks.I use an app called Todoist. It’s essentially a productivity based, digital to do list app, for the workplace, but it can easily be used for home use as well. In here I literally dump any task that comes to mind, whether it’s a task for next week, next month, next year or beyond. It goes in to to-do-ist. My Wednesday mornings are then designated, and carefully protected, to reviewing the list and highlighting items that need action that week. These task then get noted in my planner.The key here is that the thoughts, tasks that might stress me out if kept in my head, are now in a place that I will come back to when I’m ready to process and plan for it.
- Develop a rule of life `Just the other day, I’d broken my rule of life. It was one of my working days, but I had scheduled to meet a friend for lunch. Stupidly, I’d also booked a haircut. Don’t get me wrong, the haircut was good and it’s always great to catch up with friends, but my focus had gone by the time I’d got back to my desk. This resulted in having to put additional hours work into catching up. Decide what your boundaries are and stick to them. They might include the following: Keep Monday’s clear of commitments Only book meetings on Wednesdays and Fridays Don’t be out more than 2 evenings per week Don’t check emails before 10am.Do housework every Tuesday whilst I’m at home and kids are at school. Having boundaries like this, enables you to retain structure to your week. It’s not always possible, but certainly helps when it is.
- Batch jobs together and complete themThe basic premise here is to consider what jobs require you to be in the same mindset, the same place or with the same people.Let’s imagine that on your to do list this week, you have the following tasks.Bank cheques, Go to WHSmiths, Meet with John, Car maintenance, Complete paperwork. All of those tasks, except perhaps the paperwork, could be done whilst in town. So rather than separate them, meaning that you travel into town up to four times that week, seek to combine them into one period of time. When writing invitations to a party, you wouldn’t write one per day would you? You’d write the whole lot in one go. Apply this principle regularly and you’ll find yourself able to keep on top of things better.
- Minimise your thought process
I believe it was Steve Jobs who wore the same style of clothes to work every day. He basically purchased multiples of the same polo shirt, the same jeans, the same jumper. Why? Because it minimised his thought process when he got up each day.
That might be extreme, but the principle is worth considering.
Perhaps for you, it’s starting each day with the same tasks and in the same order. Perhaps it’s setting out your clothes the night before. Batching your cooking for the week ahead.
I hope that helps. In the days that we live, we must protect ourselves from overwhelm. If we are going to live life well, operate at our best in whatever role of sphere we find ourselves, then we need to proactively minimise stress.
Which of these ideas do you currently implement and which of them, do you think might be worth pursuing.