*first of all I want to say that my thoughts are with all the victims and hurt people that suffered in Paris. This world becomes more cruel by day. Rest in Peace.
I’m good at planning. I can manage a lot of task and projects at one time. I know a lot of people struggle with this part in life. As I teacher I also meet a lot of students that have this problem. Work, family, relationships, studying, sports. Things that take up a huge part of our lives. We don’t know how to deal with them. All at the same time.
We only have 24 hours a day, filled with stuff we HAVE to do and we WANT to do. It’s not a surprise that many of us face the effects of stress. We sleep less, we eat bad, we don’t workout anymore. We become lazy. We spend most or our times facing the light of our screens. We forget our goals in life. We are not focused anymore and feel the negative effect in our mind & body. But we can’t stop.
I’m not going to give you a solution for the problem. But I do know what works and doesn’t work for me. The following part of this article is something I really believe in and is worth a try if you struggle with planning, keeping focused, or facing a lot of misbalance in your life.
Face your situation, what’s going on?
Ok, so your’e stressed, your’e tired, something is going wrong in your life. But you don’t know what it is. The first step is to write. I’m a huge fan of paper and pencils but if your’e more digital, just open a plain document and start with the following steps.
1: Write down all your main activities in a week. For example: Work, school, social stuff, relationship, working out, grocery shopping, time to relax, hobbies, etc. After you wrote it down, think about the amount of time these activities take up in your life. Example: Work, 30 hours a week, school 5 hours a week. Etc.
2: When you have written down your activities and the amount of time. You can see right in front of you what kind of activity takes up the most part in your life. What works for me is to make a circle diagram of your week. The full circle is 100% but your’e going to make slices out of this pie.
Be critical. And realistic. Do not include sleep, only your main activities. Give every activity a %. Example work: 40 %.
Right now you have a simple diagram of your week. This won’t help you reduce stress or make planning easy. But personally I find it useful to see what my life is about.
I love planning. Since a week Iv’e switched to Google agenda, I still need to get used to it but I used to have a year planner made from good old paper. I still love to write things down but since I’m busier than ever I noticed that a digital planner works better because I can write a lot of stuff down , there is always enough space to add more. Do what works best for you. But choose something to plan with. This is how I plan.
For example. On Mondays I have:
School + Evening class –> this is the biggest part of my day. I do not include the times because they are already in my head. I like to use some part of my brain haha. When you make every step and task you take digital you forget to think for yourself and let your computer do all the work for you. I’m not a fan of that. This trains me to feel responsible for myself and my tasks.
During that day, I have subtask I want to do. I marked the word want bold because I don’t NEED to. For example:
- Writing a blog post for Fragrancy (I do this if I have time left)
- Reading stuff for my thesis (max 30 pages)
- Writing a reflection on my school-blog (after class).
- Reading something for evening class (literature)
- Rest time -> coffee company
- Going to the doctor. 19:30
My subtasks are all the things I want to do that day. I don’t mark anything as important. Because when you decide on Sunday writing a blog post is important, you might think different about it the next day. That’s why I decide on the particular day what I would do. Sometimes, writing a blog post is a little to much when I’m busy. But I gave myself the option to do it. Instead of being bored.
As you can see I do wrote down the time for my doctor’s appointment. That’s because you get a bill when you don’t show up. (Hooray Holland!) and I don’t like spend money on useless things. So I need to remind myself.
I try to finish all my subtasks, but if they don’t work out, or my day is different than I thought. It’s fine. I can always look back at my planner and see what has to be done.
Keep it simple
I believe in keeping your planner simple. Don’t write down little tasks like doing dishes, laundry, watering plants etc. Because when your’e present you know you have to do these things. If you forget them, don’t get a plant. It might not work for you. If you struggle with doing your laundry on time, don’t buy many clothes and create a capsule wardrobe so you HAVE to wash otherwise you don’t have anything to wear.
Also I believe that we people shouldn’t be lived by our planners. A little structure is ok. But remind yourself everything you forget isn’t important enough. If you forget everything you have to do, you might just have a problem with over-planning or being to harsh on yourself.
Take a break , even if your boss does not agree on that.
I think in order to be productive, you need to take a break. Go for a walk, have some coffee, call someone, have some tea. Do something to get your head empty. I do not recommend being on your phone, but sometimes editing some photos or typing a message can also help. For some people meditating works, or gaming. Choose something you like and fully enjoy and focus on it.
Limit your social media – intake.
I don’t use Facebook. Deleting my account years ago is one of the best decisions I ever made. Also do not care about social media. Most of the time it’s not useful. When you find yourself scrolling again remind yourself that your’e wasting your time. Focus on yourself.
In the past I used this as a to do planner, right now I only write down some things I don’t wanna forget but I can’t categorize. For some people it’s very helpful to create a to do list everyday. You can stripe off any task you succeed.
The most important thing. What are your priorities. When you find yourself on Facebook but you actually have to get a lot of work done. (In order to keep your boss happy) you need to think about your priorities. Is work important for you? Focus!
If you don’t know why you are distracted all the time, and you can’t finish your tasks at work, you have to sit down and think about the fact : is this really something for me? Am I just bored?
Here is an example of my personal priorities:
- My number one priority is listening to my body no matter what.
- Get everything done before going home.
- No work after 8 at night.
- No work before 9 in the morning.
- 8 hours of sleep.
- eat breakfast everyday.
- Answer e-mails right away.
- If it takes less than 5 minutes, do it without a doubt.
- Eat when I’m hungry.
- Try to walk every hour.
- Find some time for hobbies, stuff I love.
- Have fun with everything I do and if I don’t , stop doing it.
Give yourself the time to create a lifestyle that suits you.
If you can’t workout, because you want to type a new blogpost, you have to think about what you want the most and decide.
Try to eat healthy.
Do not compare yourself with people that are always on time, never have any kind of stress, you can have this to.
Don’t use a lot of apps / registration kind of methods. If you have to log a lot of things you might lose focus. The only planner you have is your weekplanner. Let go of anything else.
Find some kind of routine. A bedtime routine for example really helps to fall asleep easier.
Make sure to laugh everyday.
And last but not least.
Wear a good scent.
Have a nice day.