We all lead busy lives. We all juggle countless different responsibilities and we’re expected to remain sane and cheerful through it all. So, how does one keep sane when there are so many things on our to-do list that it’s impossible to tick them all off?
In this post, I’ll share 3 strategies I use personally whenever I feel things spiralling out of control.
1) Categorise my tasks Usually on a Sunday evening, I’ll go through my list of tasks for the coming week and divide into 3 categories: Crucial, Important and This-can-wait. The crucial tasks are those that absolutely must be done straight away. This could be a project deadline or payment of a bill etc. The Important tasks are those which, while not super urgent, still need to be done fairly soon but can wait until I’ve got all the crucial stuff out of the way. The last category is the ‘this can wait’ one. Unfortunately, most of us don’t put enough tasks into this category and put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to get everything done within a 24 hour period. Putting things off to another time is not to be confused with procrastination. You’re not putting them off indefinitely. You’re just pushing them to a day or week when you’ll have more time on hand. To avoid the hurdle of procrastination, I make sure to set a deadline for these tasks. For example, let’s say I want to buy a new coffee table and need to get a few pricing-related quotes. This is not an urgent or important task as I currently have a functioning coffee table in a reasonable condition. It is however something I’d like to buy in the near future. So I might tell myself that by the end of 2 weeks, I need to have collected at least 4-5 quotes.
2) Set Boundaries If we allow ourselves to work 24/7, it’s easy to burn out and get exhausted. So, it’s important to set some kind of boundaries. For example, most weeknights, I don’t respond to emails after 8pm. Depending on what chores need to get completed, I might decide on a time after which I won’t be on social media either. This helps me focus on the stuff that must be completed before I go to bed and also gives me some down time to unwind after a long and strenuous day.
3) Saying ‘No’ Most of us are uncomfortable saying No to people because we worry we might offend friends, become unpopular or simply because it seems impolite. But saying Yes to everyone and everything can ruin your health and well-being. This does not mean we shouldn’t help people whenever possible. We should. But occasionally, it’s also important to put yourself first and look after yourself.
So, these then are my 3 favourite strategies for trying to stay sane when life overwhelms. One step at a time….breaking down a big chore into smaller chunks….and believing that all said and done, tomorrow is another day.