We are all guilty of glorifying busy from time to time, but it is something that we need to try to stop...or at least cut back. To-do lists are great, but sometimes it can feel overwhelming, neverending, and depleting. Some days I feel I have so much to do that I hardly get anything accomplished. I think about all the things I have to do rather than focusing on one task at a time. Here are a tips that can help to simplify our daily lives.
1. Be present in the moment. This may sound super cliche, but it is necessary to keep a clear head. This could mean slowing down to truly experience your daily life and what is happening around you. Take a moment to step, or look, outside. Stop and actually enjoy your lunch. (As a teacher, this can be hard to do in 20 minutes, but the point is to try.) Take a mental note of something happening right now and fully experience the moment.
2. Organize and declutter your living and working spaces. I can't stress this enough. When I really get on a creative kick, the spaces around me seem to blow up. I pretty much just throw things anywhere. My desk becomes a huge mess, and I get really overwhelmed. However, when I put everything in its place, my mind calms down and things seem to relax a bit. Organized chaos is fine, but clutter creates stress and drains energy. In the words of William Morris, "Have nothing in your home that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful."
3. Make your to-do lists attainable. I am so guilty of doing the contrary of this. When you begin thinking of all the things that can or need to be done, the list can get extensive and exhausting. This makes people push it off and procrastinate doing anything at all. Make a mental or tangible list of a few things you want to get done in that day. If you get overwhelmed easily, start with a list of only three to five items. If you finish all the items on the list, reward yourself. Take a break, watch that show you've had on the DVR forever, have a bubble bath, treat yourself to a coffee, etc. When you've had a sufficient break, think about what else could be done. Add things as it feels appropriate. Don't try or think it is necessary to conquer the world in one day.
4. Enlist help when needed. This can be for work related things or for simple life tasks. If you feel stressed, ask a friend for help. It can be hard to do at first if you are super Type A like me. People are always willing to lend a helping hand. Sometimes we just need to realize when we need it.
5. Take time for yourself. Sometimes we are so busy worrying about our jobs, our families, our friends, the world, etc. that we forget to take time to replenish ourselves, too. Meditate. Go to a yoga class. Go running. Read that book you've had on the shelf forever. Take a nap. Enjoy a walk by yourself. Do whatever it is that makes you feel good, energized, and replenished. If you have a hard time with this, try adding it to your to-do list just once a week. When you feel ready, add more time.
What do you do to stay balanced and sane?