Monday, July 13, 2015

Balancing Act: Staying Organized & Keeping it Together

Photo: DAN BURN-FORTI
We all have to do it at some point.  Whether you're a mom, a business owner, social butterfly, volunteer enthusiast, or frequent traveler, life sometimes requires us to perform the ultimate balancing act.  Balancing the "want to's" and "have to's" of life.

This is a stressful task in itself and can cause anyone to feel overwhelmed.  But these few simple tips can keep things running smoothly without running you ragged. Check them out below.



 1.  Get a Planner

I know.  Planners often bring people back to their school days of writing down homework assignments and quiz dates.  But planners have come a long way since then.  Whether you choose to get a customizable planner for anywhere from $30 to $60 or a more affordable option found in stores*, having a planner will not only help you remember your appointments (and your children's appointments, and, let's face it, probably your significant other's appointments as well) but it can also help give you a visual of your week. By writing all of your to-dos/scheduling notes in your planner, you will be able to see a visual of how balanced (or unbalanced) your time spent is; making it easier to note where adjustments need to be made.

*More on planner options HERE


2.  Overestimate your time

Overestimate how long tasks/appointments/errands will take to avoid being late or rushed.  The unexpected happens.  It could be a random traffic jam, unusually long line at the store checkout, or your doctor running behind schedule for the day.  Whatever it may be, overestimating how long each appointment will take can help avoid that frantic, stressed-out feeling that comes with being behind.  If nothing runs over, then you have EXTRA time on your hands to spend relaxing, catching up with family/friends, or starting a task that you had scheduled for a later date.

3. Learn to say no

This is a tip everyone gives.  And its always easier said than done. But it is really important to know when to say "No" to a request.  If you're in a phase of life where it seems every moment of your day is booked, it's time to consider answering "no" or even "not at this time" to some requests before you run yourself into the ground. Whether it's your friend's dog's birthday or a last minute volunteer event, it's ok to say "No" and take a little time to breathe.

4. Lie to friends/family who are habitually late.

This one sounds bad... but sometimes it's necessary.  I've found you can't change someone who is habitually late.  They most likely have every intention of being on-time... but something always seems to happen that causes them to show up late... which can put you behind on your own schedule.  They don't mean for it to be disrespectful or hurtful. But you can't control their actions or time management.  You can only control your own.

So, what do I sometimes do?  I tell the late comers the event starts earlier than it actually does.   Now I don't do this ALL of the time - because they will catch on.  I usually pull out this tactic when it's a particularly important event or I have an unusually tight schedule that day. It normally works.  They'll show up "15 minutes late" but actually on time.  If they apologize for being late, I will come clean and tell them they are right on time. No one has ever gotten upset with me for pulling this.  Late comers are aware they are late a lot.  So they usually understand. But again, you only pull this when it's REALLY important.

5. Double up errands when you can

There are times when I've done some grocery shopping at Walmart - even though I much prefer Publix.  Why?  Because I needed more diapers and Publix doesn't carry my son's brand/size of diapers. Walmart, on the other hand,  has both the diapers and food.  So... in order to save time, keep myself from making two trips with a toddler, and spend less of my day stuck behind the wheel, I suck it up and get whatever food I really need at Walmart.  Publix is a much more pleasurable experience, but making my day even just a tiny bit busier when it doesn't need to be is not worth it.

6.  "Me Time" - You need it

This is another "easier said" tip.  But just like saying "no," it is a very important part of keeping your sanity. Whether its watching an episode of your favorite show, reading a few pages of a captivating book, listening to music while taking a long shower, or *ahem* writing, make sure there's at least one part of your day that's for you.  Even if it is just a tiny part.

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