Do you ever just get to get to a point in your day where your elbows are fixed on your desk, your forehead is resting on your hands and your eyes have officially zoned out? I like to call this pose, "frozen in to-do".
A lot of times I find myself completely lost and stuck on where to turn next. I've got some much to do but I have absolutely no idea where to start. Between managing social media for a restaurant downtown, co-directing marketing for a dance studio, reporting for the Hawkeyes, being a puppy mom, and an attentive wife, daughter, sister and friend... LIFE GETS ME CRAZY SOMETIMES.
We all have dozens of roles that we play and a million and one tasks to complete throughout the day. If you ever find yourself in a "frozen in to-do" pose, keep on reading for 5 ways to help you manage your priorities.
1. LISTS ON LISTS
Tip #1: Create a list for absolutely everything that you do WITH boxes to check next to each task. If you know you have to do laundry, rather than writing "do laundry", write something that looks like this:
- Hang up
- Put away in dresser
This might look like a lot more work, but the satisfaction of crossing off each task after you've finished it is really satisfying.
Tip #2: Separating your lists. DO NOT make one giant to-do list, that totally overwhelms me. Get out separate sheets of paper (with fun colored pens if you're into that) and write our separate lists. One for work, one for home, etc.
Tip #3: Put the task that will require the most time and effort at the top of your list. This could also be the most important task or something that needs to be done in a timely manner. In other words, be sure to prioritize your list.
Tip #4: Make a new list every single day. Every morning when you're looking at what needs to be done, just start a new list. If this sounds monotonous and you're thinking "who has time for that?"... set your alarm for 30 minutes earlier than usual, brew a cup of coffee, and give yourself time to write your lists and prepare for the day.
2. SCHEDULE BY TIME
What I mean is this:
Once you have this written down or typed out, you can then refer back to your lists of tasks to see where those tasks will fill in between your scheduled items. Tedious, but will help you feel like an organized QUEEN (or KING).
3. GET A GREAT PLANNER
I don't have a partnership with any planner companies...which makes me so sad...but I do have a favorite.
I use the Passion Planner. I just got it this year and absolutely love it. It's got plenty of room to plan out my days according to time and big open space at the bottom of each page for reminders and random crap. It's got a lot of features to help keep you on the right track to reach your goals, too!
Sounds dumb and obvious, but in the past month I've been using breathing techniques as a way to chill myself out when I feel like I'm getting overwhelmed or anxious. I use an app called Headspace, and it's really worked wonders for me during the day and especially at night to unwind before bed. (Side note: I'm not a partner of the app, I just really love it).
Use the app to help yourself get out of your head for a second and focus on the things that are keeping you alive -- your breathe and your beating heart.
5. REMEMBER THE MOST IMPORTANT THING...
You are THE most important thing among every other task you have written down. We can all get wrapped up in the things we need and want to accomplish. You absolutely have to remember to take a step back every once in awhile and do something that will remove you from your lists.
Do what makes you calm. Take a yoga class. Walk around Target with a Starbucks. Take a bath. Put on a face mask. Go for a run. Spend time with family. Just remember that you are the most important thing to take care of.