We’re all busy, and we all have different ways of coping with and managing those daily responsibilities, mounting tasks and chores, and the mundane-but-necessary things that crop up in our every-day lives. Juggling all the responsibilities of a working adult, parent, spouse, family member and friend can be very stressful, and it can be a thankless job. And yet, we can’t just quit.
Image Credit: Bich Tran
So many people who are incredibly busy are shockingly bad at planning and keeping track of their various responsibilities. It’s hard to imagine, but there are lots of people out there who are balancing work, family and everything else without any type of organization or method to their madness. So it’s no wonder that people are stressed, reaching burnout, and having trouble coping.
The good news is that it’s never too late to change your lifestyle for the better, by implementing easy to follow time management tips that will make your life easier and reduce the stress in your life. Restructuring the way you think about your responsibilities can help them become much more manageable, stop things from slipping through the cracks, and save you time, too.
One of the most important things that every busy adult should do is to purchase a planner. Whether you’re into bullet journals, calendar style planners, fancy, leather-bound planning books or something else entirely, it doesn’t matter. Just get one that you love and get into the habit of writing down your daily appointments, bills, tasks, chores and responsibilities. Write it all down! So many adults overlook important bits of business that need to be done because they quite simply forget, or are too busy to attend to them. Things like car reg transfers; how many of us have forgotten to renew our car registration on our birthdays, only to be hit with a huge late fee – or even a fine, once the local government realizes our error? Keeping a daily planner can help you remember those important pieces of business that we often overlook.
Writing down every task will ensure not only that you get them done in a more timely manner, but there’s something beneficial about striking off or putting a checkmark in front of listed items…it makes you feel more accomplished, more on top of things, and yep, less stressed out.
Another good time management (and stress management) tip is to combine tasks and chores. For instance, if you know that sometime this month you need to spring clean; starting with the the baseboards, go through all the kids’ clothes to get rid of what they’ve outgrown, and you’ve also been eyeing those cobwebs in the basement…instead of getting to each individual chore when you happen to have time, why not devote a certain day to doing all those types of chores at once? In most cases, it won’t even take the entire day – maybe just a Sunday morning, and then afterwards, you can go for brunch? This works in a corporate setting, too. Need to get by the bank to speak to the branch manager, but also need to meet with a prospective client? Plus you’ve been needing to get to the office supply store…rather than letting these little tasks pile up, continuing to put them off, devote an afternoon to them. Meet the client for lunch, head by the bank afterwards, then stop by the store on the way back to the office. Just delegating these tasks into “chunks” that you can complete all together will help you manage your time better, and see your responsibilities in a different, more manageable light. Make sure to check out Spring Cleaning Infographic by Cleanzen.
This is also true of time spent doing more enjoyable things, your “off” time. Don’t just cram in thirty minutes to watch TV after dinner or hope you’ll get to the park with the kids and dogs on Saturday. Schedule time for it. Write it in the book. In fact, why not devote a whole day to having fun? There’s no shame in it. Having it written down will ensure that you actually get out and do it, because it’s planned, and your mind will find it harder to make excuses or bow out because you’re “too busy”.
People often scoff at the planners in their lives, calling them too regimented or claiming that it causes anxiety. In fact, the opposite is usually true. Those who take a little time to plan out their schedules, to write down and keep track of their various appointments, responsibilities and tasks, are often much less stressed on average. They know how their days are generally going to go, there are no surprises, and they find it easier to keep up with their tasks because they are written down and visible. And naturally, changes to a schedule or unexpected things will always occur. And that’s fine! Just because you’re planning and scheduling your day to day doesn’t mean that you have to always follow it to the letter, or that the whole system will break down if things go a little awry. That’s just, well, life!