I wanted to focus on trying to find time for yourself first because I don't think we put enough importance on personal time, but a big part of taking care of yourself is trying to minimize stress. Which is why part two is all about finding tips and tricks to accomplishing your day to day activities without all the stress.
Prioritizing Daily. Having a to do list a mile long can be overwhelming. You want to get everything done but there are literally not enough hours in the day! Especially if you like to do some actual relaxing during the weekend/your time off. Which is why it helps to, as they say, divide and conquer. At the beginning of each week I'll take a look at my to do list, prioritize and then chunk the list into 1-2 projects a day, depending on the time required for each task and my available time that day. I run most of my errands during lunch, if possible.
For example, on Monday I'll go to the grocery store and stop by the post office for stamps. On Wednesday I'll pick up a baby shower present and schedule a few doctor's appointments. On Thursday I'll buy a birthday card for my sister and pick up my prescription from the pharmacy, etc. If I don't plan out what I'm trying to accomplish each day, I'll end up wasting time during my lunch break trying to figure out which task is more important and/or I'll run a random errand that I didn't really need to do. I've also noticed that sometimes you have things to do that are not necessarily urgent but weigh on your mind a lot, creating stress. Checking them off your to do list 'early' can take a huge weight off your shoulders. Thank you notes always fall into this category for me.
- Make a phone call
- Plan dinner
- Have a dance party
- Tidy up a room
- Write an email
I'm obsessed with to do lists. Another eccentricity I've display since I was a kid. I used to write out my to do lists and shopping lists in a small notebook but I've recently switched over to a to do list app. I just started using an app called 'Jamie's To Do' that I read about in Oprah magazine but there are a bunch of them out there for your specific needs. My other lists live on our dry erase board on the refrigerator. It has the week's events color coded by family member, shopping lists by store and a list of all our gift certificates and expiration dates. Any important invitations, gift certificates, coupons, etc are kept in a magnetic folder below the dry erase board.
It's simple. Our lives are busy and they are not getting any less busy anytime soon. Managing as much as we do is bound to get stressful now and then but there are small tricks and tools that can be implemented into your routine that will help lessen the stress. Prioritizing the day, planning ahead and finding useful tools are just a few examples of what have helped me manage my time. As always, it is about finding what works for you. I'd love to hear some of the tricks, tools or shortcuts you use to keep your life in order!