Do you ever feel like you don’t have as many hours in the day as everyone else? I’m right there with you.
Now, I’m young, single, and don’t have kids– I don’t even own a pet– so please don’t judge me when I say I am busier than ever. I’ve found myself getting overwhelmed with the things I’ve said “yes” to that I can’t do find time to accomplish things that need to be done, like putting away the pile of clean laundry on my closet floor that has been sitting there for days.
Here’s what helps me accomplish more even when I don’t think I can add one more thing to my to-do list:
- Focus on today then plan for tomorrow. What needs to be done today? When I look at my calendar just for today, I feel more in control because I’m not wasting time worrying about tomorrow. I’m not telling you to put things off to the last minute, but don’t stress over everything on your calendar for next week. Like Jesus says in Matthew 6:34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” If you can finish everything for today, then you can start on tomorrow. The weekends are a great time to get a head start on the week. I like to sit down on Sundays to plan and prep my meals for the week. This takes away a lot of the stress after a long day at work (and hopefully a workout.)
- Manage your priorities. If nothing is prioritized, then everything will seem important and urgent. The fact is, that pile of clothes I mentioned before isn’t as important as meeting this writing deadline. If something is important to you, then you will prioritize it. One of my goals this year is to read 40 books. It’s a lofty goal, but I’ve incorporated it into my daily routine by listening to books while getting ready and during my commute, and I try to read at least one chapter before I catch up on my shows. I know my goal is my priority so it takes precedence over Netflix.
- Make a schedule and write it down. I don’t care where you write it down; just do it. We are more likely to accomplish something once it’s written down. I like to schedule my priorities in my phone calendar so I know there is time in my day to accomplish them. We can also see the white space in our calendars and use that to our advantage. You might notice you have more time than you thought because you properly scheduled your priorities. Use that extra time to relax or plan for tomorrow.
- Accept help from others. This is especially hard for me, but a necessary lesson to learn. Often times, we don’t accept help because we like to feel in control or we don’t want to impose on people. But, relinquishing control will actually free us from the burden of busy, and we aren’t really imposing when others are offering first. So, start saying yes when people offer to help and watch your hours expand.
- Say “no” more often. You don’t have to say “yes” to every invite, request, or activity. When you start saying “no” more often, you’ll find yourself saying “yes” to things you actually want to do. You’ll begin to curate a busyness you enjoy. Unfortunately, there will be some things you will have to say “yes” to, like your boss, but saying “no” protects you from burnout, exhaustion, and over-scheduling. Try it out. Just say “no.”
- Busyness is relative. Everyone is made different so what is “busy” to you might look way different than what “busy” is for someone else. When you hear that young, single girl talk about how busy her life is, don’t judge her because she hasn’t experienced your level of busy. At the same time, don’t judge yourself for not measuring up to that Pinterest perfect mom who seems to have it all together. For me, this meant learning that what I can handle is all that I can handle. I can’t compare what is on my plate with what is on her plate because our plates are different.
I hope these six tips help you live a less busy life , at least, a more manageable busy life. Now, I’m off to put away that pile of clothes because now it is priority.