I have a tendency to overbook and take on more than I can accomplish. As my life gets busier, I get more stressed. But it seems to me that there is a need to step off the hamster wheel and start living a more relaxed schedule.
I ran across an article over at Dumb Little Man called 8 Ideas To Break the Hurry Habit. It’s more about how to cut back on your load than anything else, limiting the amount you have to do. I have summarized them here, and added one idea of my own that in addition to the others, makes the greatest impact on my life.
- Analyzing your current use of time. If you don’t know where your time is going, you can’t figure out how to cut back.
- Cut back on time wasters. For me, this includes mindless surfing, tweaking my iPod, and reading books just to finish them.
- Accept the fact that you don’t have time for everything. Time is a limited resource. Use it wisely.
- Remove Perfectionism. Perfectionism can be seen as effort and time spent to take something beyond “good enough”. The laws of diminishing returns apply here, and it is important to figure out that you can stop, and should stop, before something is perfect.
- Delegate Tasks. My shopping is outsourced. My daughter cleans the toilets and feeds the dog. My husband is responsible for dinner on Monday nights. All these help lighten my load quite a bit.
- Set time limits. Have you ever spent an entire evening doing something unintentionally? Something you only meant to do for 10 minutes? How about not getting started on something because you dread the task and can’t face doing it for an hour? Timers are great — they keep me on track and get me motivated (see Five Eccentric Productivity Jump-Start Tricks
- Have a place for things. Too much time in our lives is spent hunting. Hunting for lost keys, paperwork, phone numbers, and in a weird case last night, some clothing my daughter had borrowed (granted, we found it in my in box, but that’s not the point). Having designated places for things speeds up things because you don’t have to think where to put things away, and you know exactly where to look.
- Schedule fun time. I can be so focused on getting things done that I don’t take time to do fun things. To get me started, I scheduled fun time, where I’m not allowed to do other things. This is not the same as putting my daughter on my to do list (see Freeing Myself from the To Do List) but rather scheduling chunks of down time. I aim for five evenings a week that I am away from the computer and spending time with my family or hobbies.
- BONUS: Do One Thing At A Time. I find that I think I am busier than I am if I am trying to multitask. If I focus on what I am doing, I have much more time available to me.
Photo by Zach Klein