Busy schedule got you down? Check out these tips to see how I balance a hectic lifestyle and still find time to enjoy life.
I’ve always been really careful to protect my time. As a family, we make down time a priority, and I’ve gotten really good at saying “no” to things over the years. Still, as hard as we try, sometimes, we still suffer from a hectic lifestyle.
The Christmas season is especially hard for us. It seems to come up on us so abruptly, and there’s so much to get done in such a short time. If we’re not careful, we suddenly find ourselves run ragged with Christmas concerts, parties, parades, and family gatherings. On top of that, we still have to find time for, well…life!
Now, more than ever, it’s time to focus on balance. If you’re finding yourself dealing with a hectic lifestyle right now, keep reading for my best tips how to live your life while still getting everything done.
Schedule Down Time
It might seem counter-productive to schedule in time to not finish your to-do list, but down time is so important!
When you’re dealing with a hectic lifestyle, it can become easy to feel over worked and over tired. That’s when mistakes start happening, which makes everything take longer.
Learn to Say “No”
Part of the reason things get hectic in the first place is that we forget to say “no” to things that aren’t as important. We end up scheduling way too much and leaving ourselves with too little time to recoup. Remind yourself to say “no” when you feel like something will just add stress. And, if you think you’re not good at doing that, there’s no shame in practicing!
I used to be horrible at saying “no,” and I’m not even joking when I tell you I practiced in the mirror to boost my confidence.
One of the biggest struggles with a long to-do list is knowing where to even start. Do I fold the clothes? Or go buy groceries?
When we prioritize by most important, we realize that groceries are more important than folded clothes. (At least, in most cases).
Prioritizing tasks helps life move a little more smoothly, and ensures that the most important things are always getting done. It’s okay to let the rest slide sometimes for peace of mind.
Get Organized to Avoid a Hectic Lifestyle
I often find that when things are feeling hectic, it’s because I’ve dropped the ball somewhere, and I’m scrambling to keep up.
Find a way to get organized, whether that’s a stack of to-do lists, a bullet journal, a wall calendar, or even notes and reminders on your phone. Whatever it takes to help ensure that you get everything done.
Practice Self Care
“You can’t pour from an empty cup.” I’m sure you’ve heard the saying before, right? It sounds corny, but I’ve learned over the years that it’s so true!
When we’re worn out, overworked, and frazzled, we don’t do as good of a job. Make sure you’re taking time to take care of yourself. That can be something as small as a face mask and bubble bath, or an hour to get your workout done every day. Whatever it is that makes you feel human, make time for it.
Keep a Calendar
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Keeping a calendar diligently is a great way to make sure you’re not over-booking yourself. Of course, this takes some practice, because if you don’t remember to write it down, it doesn’t work.
There are so many ways to keep your schedule on track. If you’re a digital planner, the calendar on your phone, or even Google calendars is a great option. Personally, I’m a fan of a paper planner. Something about physically writing it down really helps me. I currently use a bullet journal, which I love because I can customize it. I’ve also used and loved the Erin Condren Life Planner and the Inkwell Press Planner!
Keep a To-Do List
I’ve touched on this a bit already, but it’s important enough that it deserves it’s own heading. When life starts feeling hectic, keep a to-do list! I find that a brain dump is extremely helpful when I get really overwhelmed. You just sit down with a piece of paper and write down everything that comes to mind. Don’t bother keeping it organized, because that’ll slow you down. Just get it all out, and then you can break it up and organize it once it’s out of your head. You can read more about my system right here.
But whether you practice this or just keep a running to-do list, you’ll find that seeing it all written down can really help you be more productive.
Create (& Follow) Routines to Manage a Hectic Lifestyle
Aside from keeping a calendar and a to-do list, sticking to a routine is the most important thing you can do when life feels hectic!
Doing the same things over and over, in the same order, really helps keep things moving in the right direction. A routine can also help you make sure you have time for the most important tasks, because they’ve become a habit to do every single day.
I know it seems to go against everything you’ve ever heard, but multi-tasking does not make you more productive. In fact, multi-tasking opens you up to make more mistakes and makes each task take longer.
There have actually been studies to prove that people who are always multi-tasking have a harder time recalling information or switching from one job to another.
Ahem. Facebook, anyone?
I know, I know. It seems obvious that we should be avoiding social media and other distractions when you’re super busy, but come on. Most of us still do it.
In fact, as I sat here trying to finish this blog post on time, I found myself switching over to Facebook to clear out notifications, checking my email for tracking info on a package, and answering a text from a friend. I also remembered 3 things I need to write down on my calendar for this week before I forget, and my kids keep trying to get my attention for various reasons.
These are all distractions, and they effect productivity. Of course, some of these are within my control, and some aren’t. Short of leaving my house, I can’t really avoid my kids trying to get my attention. But, I can exit Facebook, put my phone on “do not disturb,” and make a note to myself to write those dates down when I’m done.
Be proactive by eliminating those distractions ahead of time so that you can give each task your full attention.
Feeling a little frenzied and rushed? See that big, long to-do list and it’s got you stressing out?
Take a minute to slow down and really allow yourself to focus on what needs to be done. Eliminate distractions. Avoid multitasking. Write that to-do list. Slow down and give yourself time to do each of the things listed here so that you can really focus on things as they come up.
Wake Up Earlier
Last but not least, it’s everyone’s least favorite suggestion. Wake up earlier. I’m not talking about waking up hours earlier. But, give yourself an extra 30 minutes to an hour to get ahead of your day. Have some coffee, get in a quick workout, or knock a few items off your to-do list before your day really gets started.
Need some ideas on how to wake up earlier and get into a routine? Check out this post for some of my favorite suggestions.
Use These Tips to Cope with Your Hectic Lifestyle
Of course, the best way to cope with a busy lifestyle is to avoid over scheduling in the first place. But, if that doesn’t work out, these tips can help you find balance.