Dealing with “peak” busy times

So you’ve been humming along, living life, getting stuff done, and all of a sudden, a wave of tasks hit your to-do list. A few examples can include dealing with a basement flood, getting slammed with multiple things at work with competing deadlines, or getting ready for baby. How do you manage to get it all done without going absolutely CRAY?!?!

Here are three things you can do in order to successfully kick booty when life gets busy: 

1) Have a good organization system.

I always suggest that busy people have TWO essential items in place for organization. This is a great way to give yourself an overall picture of what’s on your plate, and make sure that you don’t drop the ball on anything important.

First, a calendar. The calendar will give you a place where you can dedicate specific time to a task. If you’re a paper person, grab a planner from the closest office supply store, and for those who love electronics, set up something in Google Calendar or iCal. If you need to manage multiple calendars, you can do so, but it is most effective when you can see them in one consolidated view.

Second, have a to-do list. What is important about this list is that it has to be accessible in ONE place, for everything you need to do in all aspects of life. Find something like a mini 3-ring binder notebook (with dividers and pages you can move around) or a to-do list app on your phone. These tasks can be sorted by due date, category, order of importance, etc.

2) Know what’s most important to you.

When things get busy, it’s easy to get into “firefighting” mode and do whatever presents itself as the most important thing as soon as you find a moment to breathe. When you know what is most important to you, it’s easier to give yourself some boundaries to work within, and make sure that those things you care about most aren’t compromised. Once you have identified those things, write them down either in your to-do list (if it’s something that just needs to be done) or calendar (if you need to attend to it during a specific time).

As an example, It’s really important to me to cook a healthy dinner at least three times each week where no one is traveling. I physically block time on my calendar to cook dinner and eat with the family to make sure it gets done.  

3) Don’t neglect yourself.

Sure, when you’re on overdrive, it’s common to make sacrifices to get things done: for example, having an extra cup (or two) of coffee, or staying up a couple hours late. I’m definitely guilty of this from time to time. In those peak times, sometimes you need a little pick-me-up, and that’s fine, but don’t go overboard. If you’re running on low fumes, you’re doing yourself a disservice and you’re likely to be less present in everything you do (this is where mistakes can happen!). Listen to your body – make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating all your meals, and taking care of yourself. You don’t want to neglect these things and get sick as a result – especially when you’re really busy! 

Hope this is helpful! There are a ton of other more specific strategies I can share (trust me, I’ve tried a LOT of different strategies to figure out how to run this tight ship efficiently!), but here are three things to get you started. If you have additional questions, feel free to email me anytime!

The Cheerful Mind