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How often do you collapse into bed at the end of the day and wonder where the time went? I know that feeling well. I used to, anyway, and while there is still some work to be done, I’ve found ways to hop out of the hamster wheel and into a more sensible routine.
I still have busy days (don’t we all?), but there’s a difference between being busy and rushing headlong through each day without stopping. Over time, I’ve found a few techniques that help enormously. Have a read through them and see how you get on by applying them to your own life. Even if you only tackle one at a time, they could help you detach from the noise and drama that seems to fill each day
A diary, a whiteboard on the fridge, a planner on your phone… there are plenty of tools around to help you plan each day. Planning means you’re less likely to overbook yourself. It helps you stay in control of your schedule.
But it also means you can focus on white space. That’s right – not every page, hour, or section in that diary needs to be filled in. I regularly include blocked-out sections in mine, and that time is sacred. You could go for 15-minute blocks here and there throughout the day, if that works for you, or block out an hour in the evening. There’s no right or wrong, but do recognise the power of freeing up some time.
It’s a great way to begin, too. Stick to your usual routine this coming week, and write down everything you do. Add times and details. At the end of the week, review your schedule. How much did you do that need not have been done, or could have been done differently? I promise you, it will be an eye-opener.
There’s a thought! I used to say yes to everything. I couldn’t bear the thought of someone thinking I was being selfish by saying no. But declining to do certain things is worth it if it means you are taking care of yourself by doing so.
You won’t need to – or want to – say no to everything. But do focus on your own thoughts and feelings before saying yes or no to anything. It’s very easy to focus on how the person asking the question will feel, but your focus here is on self-care. If you need some time to work out how best to respond, ask for it. Very few requests need to be answered immediately, and it means you won’t end up saying yes when you wish you’d said no.
ELIMINATE TASKS THAT ARE UNNECESSARY:
What do you do that you don’t really need to do? Now, you may think everything you do in your day is crucial, but chances are there are lots of things that aren’t. Do you need to check emails every hour, for example? Do you need to check Facebook as often as you do?
Again, by keeping a minute-by-minute record of everything you do in that first week, you’ll uncover lots of things that keep you busy – many of which can be reduced or eradicated altogether.
SCHEDULE REGULAR CHECK-IN TIMES WITH YOURSELF:
When you’re busy, you spend all your time rushing around without putting any real conscious thought into what you’re doing. I’ve spoken about planning already, and this is yet another way it can prove useful.
Check in with yourself several times a day, whenever it works best for you. Ask yourself how you are feeling. Are you feeling rushed, hassled, behind time? If you are, ask yourself how you can change that. Remember, this is a learning process, so if you’re struggling, figure out why and make changes. If you’re feeling good and relaxed, enjoy it! And see if you can continue in that same way.
I’m passionate about mindfulness and the many benefits it offers. It’s easy to be mindful when you put your mind to it (!), but more challenging to do every day. Persevere – I promise it’s worth it.
Being mindful of everything you do and take on will help you break that cycle of busyness you’re stuck in. Mindfulness allows you stay in the moment rather than letting your mind rush forward to worry about something that is still to come. It also makes it far easier to see when you’re being busy for the sake of it. Read more about how staying present in the moment increases happiness.
However busy you are, you can take a new approach to your day to reduce that sense of busyness that damages the soul. It’s not a bad thing to put yourself first. In fact, it’s one of the best things you can do.
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.