l sometimes feel that my days are on hyperlapse. It moves along so quickly that I feel like I’m running after the day before I run out of time. The world we live in moves so fast. If we allow it, it will run our lives, leaving us chasing after our time and increasing our stress levels, if we don’t start planning stress out of our day. It may seem like our days are on a loop: errands, appointments, kid’s activities, cooking, cleaning, work, repeat. With all that takes place on one specific day, how do we fit it all in AND have some time for ourselves? Wait, did you say time for ourselves?? Do you have any idea what goes into my day? There is no way I can add one more thing!
Relax – I’m not saying you need to take an hour or two every day. If you can promise 15 minutes to me each day, I’m telling you… you can get back to your busy day with a renewed energy and less stress. We have been given these wonderful lives to do with what we please. Do you want to live one stressful day to the next? Or, do you want to really start living your life to the fullest, making your days work for you?
What are some things we can do for 15 minutes? Well, first tell me what are some of the things you enjoy? I know it’s not a lot of time but it’s a start. What do you like to do when you have the time?
- Reading (Be careful with this one. Set a timer!)
- Browsing Social Media (This one too. Facebook can be a vortex.)
- Call a friend
- Crochet / Knitting / Etc.
- Relax / Close your eyes
- Have a cup of coffee/tea/whatever you like (Make good choices – you still have the rest of the day to tackle)
- Take a walk
- Yoga / Stretching
- Exercise (Micro Workouts are a thing)
I’m here to help you get a better grip on your day and start really living your life instead of stressing over it.
The first thing we need to do is make a To-Do list. The more productive we feel each day the more successful we feel. To-Do lists are essential to understanding how we spend our time. If we plan our day, guess what >>> we can plan in those 15 minutes you were about to promise me.
There have been times in my life when I had to micromanage my day. I would write down everything I have to do and a specific time for each task. If our son had baseball, I would add the game time AND the drive time. Now, this would make most people crazy, but it was what worked for me at the time to eliminate the stress of a busy schedule.
My point – you need to figure out what works for YOU. Most of the time, I make a list of what I want to accomplish each week and then break it down by day. If they are tasks that have to be done on a specific day, I add the time I am going to do it on my calendar because guess what >> if I don’t, there’s a good chance I might not get it done.I like checklists. There’s a satisfaction in crossing off each task. I personally like using an app. I always have my phone on me, so I can check my progress and remind myself what I need to do. However, paper and pen work as well. Again… do what works for YOU.
I have found that when I have a plan, I seriously have more time. I plan everything, including the time to work on a blanket I am making for our youngest. I plan in time to read if that is something I would like to squeeze in, or maybe that day I want to do some research on my blog content… whatever I want to accomplish, I PLAN IT! It doesn’t matter what you are going to do for your ‘me time’, just that you do it and you enjoy it. But stick to your plan!
This was the hardest thing for me to learn. (Shhhhh – I’m still learning this) Ever have that day when you are cruising along, getting things crossed off your list and BAM!!! Life throws you a curveball? Now… my son can hit a curveball, but I haven’t played softball since high school, so curveballs catch me off-guard. My anxiety increases and there are times I go into a full-fledged panic attack. I’m serious! This is something I work on ALL the time! Do not allow yourself to get stressed over this curveball. Get over the initial shock of the Skype meeting that the client decided to schedule for the next morning, and make the adjustments to your day.
You got this! I got this! WE. GOT. THIS! We take it in stride and adjust.
“We Cannot Direct the Wind, But We Can Adjust the Sails”I have said it before; detours make life interesting. Take that curveball and hit it out of the park, then get back to the previously scheduled program. A curveball will not derail us from our journey, it’s just a stepping stone to get us there.
Let’s start planning stress out of our day.
5 Steps To Planning Stress Out of Your Day
1. List What You Want to Accomplish Be as thorough as you can. The more details you add the more comprehensive the list will be. For larger projects, break them up into bite-size pieces. The first thing that will discourage you and set you up for failure is being overwhelmed.
2. When Does Each Item Need to Be Done Next to each item, write a due date. When is it you need this done by? (Be realistic) Remember, don’t set yourself up for failure. Think to yourself – can I really get this done by Friday?
3. Make A Weekly / Monthly / Daily List Get yourself a calendar. I use my Google calendar on my phone. I don’t do well with a physical planner. When I get the baseball schedule for my son, those games, practices, and camps are scheduled in. Our youngest’s tumbling class gets scheduled for every Saturday. They are a ‘have to’s’ so they get priority for those days. Drop in those project deadlines into your calendar. ie. If you want your closet cleaned out by the end of the month – July 28th better have a reminder scheduled to keep yourself accountable.
Each Sunday write a list of what you need/want to accomplish that week. Keep that list where you can see it each day. If there are items on any of your lists that have a specific time they need to be done, drop them into your calendar. Do it! You will thank me later. Then – each night (or you can plan this all out on Sunday – (I do each night so I don’t get overwhelmed) take the items from your weekly list and make a daily list. Break the week up into bite-sized pieces.
4. Focus On Your Daily List When we look at the week as a whole, that’s when anxiety can subtly creep in. Focus just on what you need to accomplish today. If it is a busy day, focus on what you need to do at the moment. Don’t look at the list and get discouraged. Remember – you set up your day in bite-sized pieces, right?
My daily lists are on my Google Keep App. I love that App! I can pin lists right to my home page and have my day in a list format with checkboxes and everything! I’m telling you – checking off a box is so satisfying.
This is also the step where you start yelling at me that you absolutely DO NOT have time for yourself, and this is where I say, “Give me at least 15 minutes.” Find a small window in your day and tune out everything else. Nothing else can be done during this time. You cannot think about the rest of your day or stress about what needs to be done. You can only enjoy the activity you chose for your ‘me time’.
Now you’re saying – give me a break! Are 15 minutes really going to make a difference? Honestly, I don’t know; that’s up to you. You decide how to answer that question. You may find that you can spare another 15 minutes. Only you can make this work, but I cannot stress enough how important it is to take that time, whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour. It could even be two or three 15-minute blocks of time. Some may need to work out a time with a spouse, in order to take the time for you. As I am writing this, my husband did the grocery shopping so I could rest. (I told you he was THEE BEST husband on the planet). My point – find a way to make it work. If we want something bad enough, we will find a way to make it happen. If you make this a habit, you will find that you can squeeze more ‘me time’ into your week.
5. Find A Method That Works For You Putting all of this into practical application is the fun part. Fun? Yes, FUN! For me, I need the organization to plan out anxiety or even panic attacks. I find it easier to keep everything on my phone, as it is always with me. Now… if my phone dies or breaks, I’m screwed, but that’s what Samsung back-up is for right? LOL
If you want to go ALL out and make a beautiful planner; detailing your days, weeks, and months – checkout Chaotic Blessing. These are some of the most beautiful and fun products I have seen for planning. Erika is super knowledgeable about how to plan and offers great advice and encouragement. She’s also very sweet. (Tell her I sent ya!) https://www.chaoticblessing.com/
Writing everything done and keep the list posted somewhere – maybe the fridge or a whiteboard. Getting it out of your brain and on paper or in an app makes us accountable. We also don’t have to keep running it all through our minds. It’s now recorded and we can refer back to it, leaving our minds free of stressful thoughts.
Find a system that works for you and that you KNOW you will stick with. Oh, there’s a catch – there always is. You have to stick to it. That isn’t to say it can’t be adjusted over time because let’s face it, things change – we change.
For a while, I was micro-managing my days. If I did that now, I would drive myself insane, but that is what I needed at that particular time. As I got better at organizing my day, I stopped doing that. So, be flexible! Be patient with yourself! Enjoy the process! If you find that it is not working, change it up. Trial and error is part of figuring out what works for us.
I know what you’re thinking. Jenn – this is a lot of work!
So what? Did I ever say this was going to be easy? This is the foundation for setting ourselves up for success. It’s like a house – if the foundation is weak everything above it will crumble. If we want a strong, secure house, we build a strong foundation. Aren’t you worth it? Yes, you are!! Here’s another article that may put it into perspective: http://lifeperfectlyimperfect.com/2018/06/26/get-living-by-loving-yourself/
Once the groundwork is done, adding our to-do’s is the easy part. We just keep building on the hard work we put in at the beginning. Once your foundation is set, everything will fall into place and you can move forward.
When we organize our days, weeks, and months, we set ourselves up for success in all we do. It will help keep us peaceful, productive, and blessed as we work at really living our lives to the fullest. Making time for ourselves is one of the first steps to reducing stress and getting back to our journey.