Always racing from one task to the next, but accomplish very little? Sound familiar? Most days I'm incessantly striving for a clean loo, disinfected worktops, a clear inbox, a flatter tummy, school gate acceptance and career success. Sometimes I just want to stop the clock. I often dream of having a free afternoon to curl up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a good novel.
We live an extremely fast pace of life these days and it's very easy for things to become out of balance.
If you're feeling like life is out of balance and you're on the brink of burnout, I've put together 8 simple tips to make your busy schedule more manageable and enjoyable. Why not put them to the test.
Create an energy drainer list.
We all have things in our lives that continue to drain our energy, the broken loo seat, the mountain of ironing or the disorganised paperwork. Looking at these things day in and day out drains and depletes our energy levels leaving us feeling weary and apathetic. Make a list of ten things in your life that are sapping your energy. Then write a list of ten actions that will eliminate these 'energy drainers' from your life once and for all. This could be putting your bills on direct debit, buying a filing cabinet or fixing the broken loo seat. Put your list on the fridge door and work your way through the items over the next 30 days. Get rid of those energy drainers so you can put your energy in to more positive and enjoyable things.
Your Power Hour.
Once a week set aside 1-hour that you're going to call your 'Power Hour'. Set a timer for 60 minutes, find a quiet place away from distractions and solely focus on your personal admin tasks, such as going through the week's post, checking your finances online, replying to any letters or e-mails, making phone calls or simply decluttering. Just one hour a week will help keep you up-to-date with all those niggly jobs that invariably get left to the last minute. Creating a 'Power Hour' once a week will eliminate any last minute panics, reduce your stress levels and increase your energy and motivation.
Do it daily.
A great way to become super organised is to keep a daily 'to do' list. Nothing surprising I know, yet very few of us do this. Having a daily focus list keeps us on track and there is something very empowering about crossing items off! Just before you go to bed each night, take a couple of minutes to think about the coming day and what tasks you'd like to achieve. Make a short list of no more than six items and pop it somewhere you'll see it the next morning, on the fridge door maybe, in your phone or by your computer screen. Focusing on your tasks daily stops them building up so you don't have to spend your weekends rushing around like a headless chicken.
Turn it off!
Did you know that we watch on average six hours of TV a day? That's 42 hours a week! That's more than most people's working week. Imagine how time-rich you'd be if you stopped watching TV, playing on the computer or gossiping. Instead you could spend time talking to your family about their day, maybe cook a meal together, play games, but most of all communicate more and enjoy each other's company. Decide on one evening a week where you have a TV/social media/gaming night and leave the others free. Make sure the whole family agrees to do this.
Hand it over.
Modern life is hectic and everyone is grappling for our attention these days. Quite often we take the weight of the world on our shoulders playing the role of the super hero. Take a few minutes to think about all the tasks you do over the course of the week and then consider who might be able to help in taking a little bit off your plate. Maybe you can get the kids involved in some weekly chores, maybe you can order your groceries online or how about hiring some help? Look for ways to simplify your life.
Take a Break
Take regular breaks throughout the day - many people work best in one or two hour increments. See what works best for you. When you feel refreshed, you'll work with far more impact. Get some fresh air if you can but step away from the environment you're in and you'll come back to it in a much more productive frame of mind. You can do this on a bigger scale by booking holidays but you shouldn't be in a state where you are constantly craving a break. On a daily basis, be still and meditate for a while or do what it takes for you to clear your mind - run, walk, do yoga, jump around!
Just Say No!
Many of us subconsciously obsess about seeking approval and validation from others. We like to be needed. It gives us a feeling of self-worth. This can mean staying on and doing extra hours at work, going to an event we'd rather not, being a kind ear to every kind of drama, volunteering to help out somewhere. These are all great things but not if they're a constant demand on your time and energy and not if you put them before your own needs.
Remember, after a successful week of managing your life and getting all those tasks ticked off your list, take a little 'self nurturing', a luxurious hot bath maybe, a trip to your favourite café or a quiet half hour to snuggle up with a good book. And the great thing is, you'll be able to enjoy this time to yourself totally guilt free!
Louise Presley-Turner is one of the UK's leading lifestyle experts and author of Finding a Future That Fits (Hay House 2012) Get your Life Evaluator now at www.thegameoflife.co.uk