How long has it been since you’ve felt in control of your day?
Although you appreciate having a full calendar it’s painful to reach the point where important things are being dropped or sacrificed. It’s just not sustainable to have your to-do list continually be longer than your grocery list.
I remember this feeling well. I thrive on having a lot to do. I love to “be busy” and to have people rely on me. However, being wired this way also means that I have experienced embarrassment and frustration when my workload has gotten out of control. It’s means I’ve had to say, “I was supposed to do this and it’s not done yet”. It means I’ve cancelled plans at the last minute. It has meant that I’ve said, “I know we said we were going to stop ordering food in, but I’m just too exhausted to cook, so let’s order…again…”, far more often than I’d care to admit.
If you can relate to this, being busy is probably a reality for you and the tough news is, this is unlikely to change. The good new is, you can enjoy being busy without being out of control. However, it will require you to actively manage your habits rather than muscling through, praying you don’t break and that somehow the situation will just resolve itself.
Here’s what to do:
I know it’s tempting to multi-task. Unquestionably, you have a lot of people and responsibilities pulling you in multiple directions all at once but the science is in and we know that multitasking is less effective. Let’s be real, this habit is not something that is probably ever going to leave any of us forever. That’s okay. When you’re feeling stretched particularly thin – learn to compartmentalize. Focus on one task at a time. Lock your door, turn off your notifications, set a timer if you must, but actively stop flipping from task to task to task.
Make Hard Choices
Get real with where your hours in the day are going and make hard choices. I’m all about the distraction. One of the greatest ways to feel better and stop feeling anxious about what’s not getting done or what will need to be done is to think about something else. However, with the whole world at our literal fingertips, many of us can clock more hours than we mean to or want to on our phones. Evaluate how you are spending your time and be honest with yourself. If you’re spending time doom-scrolling, gossiping, watching TV, or anything else that leaves you thinking, “well, that was a waste of time”, make a conscious effort to stop or cut back. This is not going to feel great initially. If you’re having trouble cutting back, I remember checking out Mel Robins’ 5 Second Rule, it’s a helpful trick to change habits.
Make Sure You Set Aside Time to Replenish.
You’d be surprised by how the little things will add up both negatively and positively. Skipping your normal healthy exercise, meditation, or eating practices will quickly leave you in a trapped and unresourceful mindset. On the other hand, taking even a small amount of time to replenish every day, will rapidly translate into more energy, clear thinking, and successful action. Turn away from the keyboard and break/eat mindfully for 10-15 minutes at lunch, pause through the day and take five slow breaths, go for a walk, even a short one will recharge your energy and help you.
Get Over Yourself and Commit to a Centering Habit
Whether you meditate or not, there is no substitute for starting your morning with some kind of centering practice. Before you even look at your calendar or to-do list, stop for a few minutes and scan through your body, notice without judgement any areas that feel tired, in pain or sore. Notice your emotional health, are you feeling anxious, grumpy, or frustrated. Don’t try to change, explain, or make plans around any of what you feel – just bring your awareness into the present moment and acknowledge what’s going on for you. Then set an intention for the day, it can be as simple as I intend to have a good day or if you’re into it, you can get more specific. Avoid using a lot of brain power in this exercise, allow it to be more emotions based. Set your intention and move on with your day. It’s surprising how often through the day your intention will come back to you and it will serve as a positive influence on decisions, reactions, and behaviours.
Ask for Help
Whether it’s asking someone you work with to take something off your plate or asking your partner for a hug. Reach out. You aren’t alone. Asking for help can literally lighten your load or just make things feel lighter and more possible. It’s all good. You aren’t alone and there are people in your life who can help.
The reality is, having lots to do, competing priorities, and stress are a part of life and you thrive on this. It’s how you respond that is going to make the difference.
What would happen if you start leveraging that discipline you bring to your work ethic with your work related habits?
Hey! I’m Akiko, I help hard working, driven, successful but stressfully busy achievers to avoid burnout and do amazing and exciting things. Message me if you’re ready to go from overwhelmed to in control and energized.