It feels like you’re juggling a thousand things and you jump from one priority to the other. I do it all the time. It’s a constant dance of dealing with deadlines and responsibilities that can leave you feeling exhausted.
Try following these steps to an effective, productive, balanced life when you have many balls in the air!
1. SET BOUNDARIES
Boundaries are essential to maintain a balanced life. Knowing and understanding your own limits is key here – which only comes with practice. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t manage everything perfectly all of the time. It’s a work in progress, and four years after leaving full-time work I’m still finding my groove! Consider what triggers your stress, what workload you can actually tolerate, and the quality of life you want to maintain. This will help you with step 2 below.
2. BATCH + COMPARTMENTALISE.
Create a schedule by blocking out time for certain tasks and follow it. You have roughly 16 waking hours to play with so use your time consciously to make the most of each one. Eg. 1 hour workout, 1 hour for social media engagement, 2 hours for study or self-improvement, 1 hour social time, 1 hour answering emails etc etc. Be sure to leave room for personal appointments, interruptive phone calls and errands, and don’t forget to add important deadlines such as exams or project end dates.
3. LEARN HOW TO BEST MANAGE YOUR OWN STRESS
When you’re juggling a million things and your to-do list seems never ending, stress management needs to be something you really focus on. This can be trail and error – what works for me may not work for you. There are SO many ways to get your zen on – meditation, a jog, walking the dog, chatting to a mate, painting your nails, reading, taking a bath. Whatever it is, add it into your schedule DAILY. It’s a non-negotiable, like brushing your teeth. If you want / need to juggle so many things at once, you just need to do it.
4. NOURISH, MOVE, HYDRATE + SLEEP.
Your brain doesn’t function well if one of these 4 pillars is lacking. Prioritise 7-8 hours of sleep a night, feed yourself wholefoods full of vitamins and minerals, drink 3 litres of water a day and don’t neglect your steps. Helpful tips to make this easier:
- Keep a big bottle of water next to you so you mindlessly sip on it.
- Stretch on waking and before bed.
- Set a timer to stand up and move for ten minutes for every hour your sat working.
- Fatty fish, dark chocolate, green tea and blueberries and my go-to brain foods for focus.
5. REWARD YOURSELF
You’re working yourself to the bone with a new structure (including self-care time) – here comes the reward to pat yourself on the back to keep that motivation buzzing. Give yourself permission to put yourself first and lock in a monthly massage, a weekly facial, a coffee with a loved one – whatever truly brings you joy and lets you completely detach yourself from your responsibilities. Make sure it’s something you really look forward to. If you hit a speed bump, it can keep you eye focused on the end goal.