I’m sure we’ve all had occasions when we’ve looked on and wondered how someone’s able to fit in as much as they do. Whilst we’re still pondering how to clear our inbox, fit in an important meeting or shop for tonight’s dinner, they may have been to the gym, ordered the weekly food shop, made several important calls, volunteered at a local charity and completed an important piece of work! How do they do so much?
Being organised is the key to getting things done. Without organisation things can become too random, dipping in and out of tasks with very little focus or planning. Lists can be an efficient way of introducing order and control, so enabling outstanding matters to be sorted by degree of urgency, as well as the added satisfaction of being ticked off when completed.
Some things are too big or complicated to tackle in one go. And also, some contribution or expertise may be required from a third-party. Efficiency often requires being focussed and confident enough to pass tasks quickly on so that the next person can start on their input. Be sure to monitor where things are up to and how individual tasks are progressing.
Delegating is a valuable tool in a busy life. Being precious and insisting on doing everything oneself may feel like a positive way to keep control, but not everything needs to be jealously guarded. Let others help, share in the story and perhaps they’ll even come up with new, improved ways of working. It motivates everyone when they’re included as part of the team and subsequently given credit for their contribution.
Hire help. Certain routine or mundane tasks like ironing, cleaning and gardening may be worth outsourcing. It could be a valuable investment to pay money and free up your time for other things. Equally, tasks outside your area of expertise may benefit from being done by someone else, rather than having you spend hours agonising over your accounts, admin or design work. Something you dedicate ages to may take a professional a fraction of the time and be done much better.
Don’t wait for everything to be perfect before you start. There’s no need to rehearse every possible scenario or set of circumstances in advance. Often things come together well enough once you’ve begun. Allow your mindset to be flexible, receptive to the different possibilities and enjoy where they take you. This can lead to interesting detours, unless you’re required to follow very specific criteria.
Double up your arrangements where you can. Why not combine some areas of your life?
Eating out, seeing a show or concert and inviting several of your friends along, may maximise your time and create an almost party-like atmosphere amongst your various friends. Business networking combined with a game of golf or a run can include exercise and business, as does perhaps taking a walk or enjoying a hobby or class with family or friends. Learn to say ‘no’ appropriately. When we work for ourselves or are in a new situation, we’re often keen to fit in and be accepted. It can be tempting to say ‘yes’ and agree to everything in a bid to prove we’re enthusiastic, competent and obliging.
But, sometimes we need to review what we’re already committed to and ensure that we do a good job. Otherwise we may run ourselves ragged, trying to accommodate every request and enquiry, potentially damaging our reputation and our health.
Take regular breaks and recharge. A twenty-minute break allows time to sit and eat a healthy snack, hydrate or maybe go outside to catch some fresh air. Many people find that afterwards they return to work with a clearer mind and renewed enthusiasm for the job in hand.
Remember to give yourself credit for each achievement. Rather than stoically working your way through your list, pause intermittently to value every stage of the journey, each completed task and appreciate what you’ve done. And might it be relevant to sometimes ask yourself why you do so much, why you allow your time to be so fully occupied. Some people are constantly busy because they need to be in control and are loathe to pass on work to others for fear of being cut out of the loop, of it being discovered that others do a better job or of having their mistakes and shortcomings revealed.
FOMO, fear of missing out, of having something to prove, of trying to be indispensable, not wanting to let go of the reins and aiming to fill every second with meaningful activity can all create their own stress. But equally, there are those people who are eager to try everything that’s on offer, every option that’s on the menu. It’s great to be enthusiastic and try new things, but it’s also important to take time to rest, savour and make the best choices for you. Enjoy doing each thing for its own sake, being able to dedicate your whole, undivided attention. Focus on today, knowing that there’s always another day when you can move onto the next positive step on your list.
Susan Leigh MNCH (ACC)
South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer and media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.
She’s author of 3 books, ‘Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact’, ‘101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday’ and ‘Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain’, all on Amazon and with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.
To order a copy or for more information, articles, or to make contact please call 0161 928 7880 or visit www.lifestyletherapy.net