We’ve all been there: life becomes hectic and sometimes it feels like there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. We have to work, pay bills, eat and sleep -not to mention somehow find the time to socialise, pursue our hobbies and learn new skills. But how exactly are we supposed to manage all that? More to the point: how are we meant to do so without losing our minds, running on 4 hours sleep a night or surviving on ready meals?!
I work full-time alongside running this website, which, believe it or not, takes up a lot of my time and thought. It really is a balancing act and I find that no matter how good my intentions are, sometimes certain areas of my life have to take a backseat. That might mean that my social life suffers one week and the next I don’t dedicate as much time to recipe testing or exercise. On the whole though, I feel like I’ve finally achieved a relatively good balance and there are a few key tips that got me there.
It’s Time To Get Realistic
Be realistic about what you can manage. This one might sound obvious, but the more we worry about things the less productive we are and setting yourself up to fail certainly won’t get you very far. Although it’s admirable to aim high and try to get as much done as possible, it’s also crucial to acknowledge what is reasonably possible and practicable. You may have a hundred things to do each day – whether that be sorting out the cupboard that’s been calling your name for weeks, mastering a foreign language or anything and everything in between – but to avoid disappointment it’s important to understand exactly how much is actually possible and achievable and to come to terms with that before you start. A huge part of this process means letting go of the worry that surrounds not getting things done.
Lists, Lists and Even More Lists
Some of us are natural-born list-makers (I happen to be one of them) while others…not so much. I’m going to need you to take my word on this one though: making a note of your outstanding tasks, goals, meetings etc. is a great way of keeping on top of things and managing your priorities. I have a diary or some sort of notebook on me virtually 24/7 as that way I can always refer to it to remind myself what I need to get done that day, week or month. If you can keep your diary up-to-date then you can stay on top of your life! Not only does a daily/weekly planner give you an overview of all your To-Dos, it gives you the chance to prioritise and plan when you’re going to tackle them. Personally, I like to split my diary into sections including work, socialising, fitness and creativity, which allows me to compartmentalise my time and make sure I’m not neglecting important aspects of my day-to-day. I’ve found that the process of writing things down actually helps me to de-clutter my mind; a busy head isn’t conducive for working – or much at all for that matter – and by writing a to-do list, you’re giving yourself the headspace to focus on actually achieving your objectives as opposed to having them looming and buzzing around your mind.
Create Your Own Space
My final – and arguably most important – tip is creating an environment that is conducive to work in and this goes back to my earlier point: just as a cluttered mind won’t do you any favours, nor will a cluttered working space. If you’re perched on the edge of an unmade bed with wires in a tangle at your feet, you’ll likely be itching to get away as soon as possible. And while I appreciate that we don’t all have the luxury of a home office that’s kitted out with a fancy marble desk or nearby espresso machine, there are lots of things we can do to create our own little sanctuary to work in. If possible, I recommend keeping your work space separate from where you eat and sleep as that way, when you want a break you can physically take yourself away from that space, helping you distinguish between when you’re working and when you’re relaxing.
Secondly, keep you space as clear as possible! Try and be strict with yourself about what you actually need around you so that you don’t become snowed under an innumerable amount of miscellaneous so-called essentials. If you’re working on something using the laptop then try and keep as few tabs open as possible and have a couple of things to hand such as a notebook and pen.
Lastly, if you’re knuckling down to some work then don’t forget to brew yourself a cuppa in your favourite mug and prepare some healthy, hearty snacks to keep you fuelled and focussed throughout. There’s nothing worse than getting distracted by ‘hmm I wonder what I could have for lunch’ – we all know when you start thinking like that there’s simply no going back…
If you like the look of the planner I’m using then go and check out Personal Planner where you can create fully customisable planners and choose from loads of different layouts and styles to suit you best. If you’ve got to get organised then you might as well do it in style, right? Find them on Facebook and Instagram for inspiration!