10 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself!
Never Enough Time?
How many times do you hear the phrase, "Not enough hours in the day!" Or how many times do you find yourself saying it throughout your work day? Well, what if I told you that you need to take some of those hours back--for YOU!
Have you ever asked yourself these questions:
- Am I in fact working on too many things at once?
- Why can't I get anything done?
- What have I accomplished?
- Why is my task list still growing?
- Will I ever complete anything?
If you find yourself asking these, all the time, then you need to better manage your time NOW.
I speak from experience when I say that juggling too much , often times, leaves me deflated, defeated and with more things to do. Why? Because you start one thing, get distracted and start a new priority; never finishing the first one and the vicious, stressful cycle begins while your motivation, focus and productivity suffer.
What did I do about it? How do I continue to work on stopping this vicious cycle of continuous to-dos, and manage my time better; to finally complete and accomplish goals in an efficient manner?
1. Multi-tasking Is Overrated!
Yes, I said it. Multi-tasking is not all it's cracked up to be.
Why do I say that? Because I have been guilty of working on five different things, all at once, while texting, talking, singing, dancing and never completing or accomplishing any of them. To then blink, and there are now ten more things to do, but nothing has been checked off and put to bed.
Multi-tasking, while something that is reveled and admired in all walks of life, from home to corporate America, does not really do for it me. Although many times we need to multi-task in many work and life situations, but it's not all it implies. I know you are all shaking your heads and saying, "What in the world is she talking about? She's crazy!" For some it's a virtue even an art form, but for me, eh, not so.
You may be multi-tasking, but are you multi-completing, ( I just made that up!), finished and done; over with that task or are you just treating the symptom while never finding the cure?
Find one thing, work on it first thing in the morning, for an hour or two, and focus on finishing it. If you stop and move onto something else you may find yourself slowly but surely overwhelmed, unfinished and incomplete. And guess what? You may never, ever, ever (sorry if I sound like Taylor Swift) go back to that task! Try working on one task at a time and complete it. Take a risk and don't multi-task for once. Enjoy the moment; the accomplishment. Try it, you may like it!
2. Use A Calendar NOT a To-Do List
When you use your calendar you give yourself a deadline. When you use a to-do list you will always add to it and nothing gets crossed off over time!
Once it's on your calendar you have a beginning and an end time--stick to it and go!
Got it, good!
3. Organize Your Time Instead of Making Time
Notice that when you say you have no time, it's when you have a lot of it? Confused? Well, let's think about it. Why don't you have time? Because you've overbooked, overworked and never managed yourself to schedule time for YOU!
Let's face it, we, especially myself, have been guilty as charged for trying to please the world. How so? Listening to every child rearing piece of advice with my first child and regretting half of them (Don't tell anyone I said that!) and above all I waste time trying to attend every occasion, impromptu meeting, or sob session! Just say no! Man, Nancy Reagan was so on point with that!
Single, married, divorced, with kids, no kids--there's always something to do, so schedule your priorities. Do not prioritize your schedule. Simple.
Make yourself happy and the rest will follow!
It's Complicated! Why is it? Why does it have to be? Who made it complicated?
Life is simple, but often we humans, complicate it. Let's begin to unravel and simplify life. It almost seems that the digital, technological world has made us so, well, ummm--complicated. We do not confront each other when we have an issue with one another, but we'll sure make it known on Facebook, twitter, and every social media out there. We create problems for no reason sometimes. Stop doing that!
Use your dishwasher. Get a virtual assistant. They are not that expensive actually. Answer emails at designated times and stick to it. Shut off your cell phone after 6pm. Set it to voicemail or if you have an iPhone, like me, use the "Do not disturb" feature-love it.
KISS-Keep It Simple S$/)#%!
List your top 3 most annoying, stressful and self-destructive problems and start carving out a plan. Focus on them, make a plan, enlist help and JUST DO IT. Nike really knows what they are talking about.
5. Learn To Say NO!
Set the world aside for a day, week, month or year (lucky you!) and say NO to them and Yes to YOU! By this I do not mean to go out and schedule another special occasion to attend or host,(read number 3 again if you need clarification!), but REAL self time!
Meditate. Take a walk. Watch a movie. Get a mani-pedi (men get mani-pedi's too!) Sing out loud. Get a very difficult pronouncing starbucks product and pay the $7.00--invest in YOU! Get a massage and love it and do it again. You are not selfish, be SELFLESS!
Then go back to your issues and tackle them with a clear mind, relaxed body and happy self. Yay, you!
6. Take Strategic Breaks
No, you are not lazy or less of an American if you take a break for goodness sakes! We are human beings and we need down time. I read somewhere that many of us don't even know how to not do anything. Make sense? Yes, it does.
We are always on the go, go and go. We eat, drink and even sleep at our desks, cubicles, offices, work stations, cages, whatever you have been granted to be chained to on a daily basis to complete your work tasks.
Therefore, if you are given a break--take it. Unwind. Daydream. Close your eyes. Breathe deep (We have forgotten how to do that too!) and just BE.
7. Cut The Mobile Device Chord
Wherever we go our digital devices follow. At times, and I find myself saying it too, I am addicted to them. I can't function without it. I am lost. Is it really that serious?
I have left my cell phone at home and have felt devastated, empty, lost; almost grieving it and now that I think about it, how horrific is that? You mourn a loved one, not a device! Shame on me! (Read #4 again!)
So, with that, I say, have a day where you truly disconnect from your devices and spend time writing (with a pen and paper-what a concept!), thinking deeply, playing with your kids, like a kid, and go back in time when a device was not the most important thing in your life.
8. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries is not being lazy or abandoning your responsibilities, duties and obligations, but it is a way to recharge your inner self. It allows you and others to realize that the world will not fall apart if you cannot do it all because you have been honest and forthright on what you are willing to take on and accomplish.
It is also very important for you to be able to say NO! Yes, I said it, again, NO!!!!!! Say it with me, "No, I am sorry, but I cannot do that on Saturday. I apologize, but I have plans I can not re-arrange, re-schedule or cancel. Perhaps some other time. Thank you." Practice makes perfect. Do not over commit. It does no one any good and you will feel awful if you make promises you cannot keep.
Setting boundaries keeps you, your family and all your other life treasures healthy.
9. Disengage From Your Day Job
Have you ever gone on vacation and come back needing and wanting another because you still had to check emails, respond to calls and check in with the boss? In that case, stay in the office and never go on vacation--what's the point?
Your job responsibilities will always be there. If you know how to manage your time in the office, get projects completed and communicate well with your peers, subordinates and, or, colleagues then you can step away from your job and enjoy your vacation as it should be.
Stepping away from your job to renew and recharge yourself, without being interrupted, is essential to your health and mental well-being.
Step away in confidence that when you return your job will be waiting patiently for you-maybe not patiently, but willingly! In addition, you will be rejuvenated and ready to hit the ground running again.
Now go book a get-away and get away!
10. Focusing Is OKAY!
This goes back to #1--Multi-tasking. When you engage in one task and fully do so, you accomplish more. When you participate in multiple tasks you split your attention, into fragments, which most of the time (not always) seldom accomplishes anything in its totality. It may leave several tasks unfinished with minimal time to ever complete any given one.
Fully engaging your attention, within an allotted time, and focusing on accomplishing and completing the task increases your overall productivity.
Begin to rethink all the multi-tasking we all say we do and ask yourself, "Have I truly FINISHED anything today? Can I truly move on to the next task and put the one I started to bed, once and for all?"
If you answered no to any one of these questions, please read this hub again, pick a number, focus and practice. Master it and repeat! Then move on to the next; now put your phone down, stop posting on Facebook and eating that ice cream, all at the same time, and FOCUS.
In The Long Run, It's All Worth It
By using the steps I have outlined above--which are very simple and downright common sense, you will stop relentlessly burning through your energy levels, over the course of a day while increasing available time with every passing hour. In addition, you will feel better and able to accomplish more without adding more to-dos.
I always think about those nights with my infant when I experienced "interrupted" sleep versus "uninterrupted" sleep. Which one do you think I prefer? The same applies to time. Interrupted work time is not the same as uninterrupted work time. The quantity may be the same, but the quality is definitely not. Think about it.
Encourage yourself to have more finite, absorbed periods of focus leading to constant, continuous and shorter periods of real renewal.
You are so worth it. Oh, and please stop shaking your heads, it can be done. I have done it and love it.