Are you always overwhelmed and struggling to manage your busy life? Managing a busy life can be overwhelming, but with the right tools and mindset, it is possible to stay on top of everything. You’ve come to the right place to deal with a busy mind, busy schedule and manage your busy life effectively.
In this post, I’m going to explain 5 steps to manage your busy life.
You will learn:
• Planning your day
• Optimize your workflow
• Self-care during busy days
Why are we Busy?
I used to have crazy busy days, juggling different roles in life, and then one day I went into thinking why is my life so busy? even though everything in these times is made for our convenience. I did some research and I found out that the annual working hour has significantly reduced over the years as per our world in data. But still, we are busier than ever.
At first, I did not agree with the stats but then when I gave it a little more thought I realized life around us has simplified in terms of convenience and accessibility but expectations from work and life have also changed and what we need is a better approach to manage things.
I realized that a more personalized and sustainable approach is required to manage our busy life and I would like to share the same with you, it has definitely worked for me and I am very sure it will work for you too.
The problem of having a Busy Life?
Being busy is glorified and often associated with success. But being busy all the time may give rise to many problems. It can affect your physical, social, and mental well-being.
When you are busy all the time you lose your focus at work, and you are less effective. It gives one an illusion of doing a lot of work whereas it may not be a fruitful outcome.
For more details read 5 Reasons Why You Are Busy But Not Successful.
How to get started with managing your busy life?
The most effective way to manage your busy life is to review how you spend your day and know your essential responsibilities and deliverables. With this clarity, the next step is planning effectively, followed by a schedule that will ensure your plan is executed. Further to it one can optimize the workflow and get more benefits. Creating an effective morning and evening routine will just make managing a busy life very easy. To keep the plan sustainable it is very essential to have some self-care time to prevent burnout and ensure that you don’t give up on your work-life balance goal.
5 steps to manage your busy life
I like to simplify this whole process of managing busy life effectively into 5 steps for easy understanding and execution.
Let’s get deep into each of them.
Step 1: Review your day
The best way to understand why you are busy is by understanding how you spend your day. This will help you understand what are the things that take up most of your time in the day and many times you may be surprised to see that there are some things that take a lot of your time and you don’t even realize it.
So how do you do it?
Well, the best way I feel is to write everything I do right from getting up in the morning till the time I go to sleep, with actual time and hours spent.
In fact, you can pause reading, grab a pen and paper and write each and everything that you do along with the timing.
Once you are done with this, take some time to review and look out for the following.
- Which activities are taking most of your time?
- Which activities are most important for you?
- Which activities are not essential?
- Which activities are taking more time than they should be?
- Which of these can be taken care of by someone else?
- Which of these can be batched?
- What things have to be done in the morning and which of these?
- What things can be done in the evening?
With all these details and clarity, now is the time to plan everything.
Step 2: Plan everything
Reviewing your day will give you clarity on the time you spend for the day but making a plan will ensure that everything will be done. The best thing about planning is that it gives your mind a sense of calmness and assurance that work will be done and also eases the pressure of thinking about what to do next.
During planning, you need not go into the minute details but just know that you have to assign a plan of action for each and everything that you have noted from the previous step.
So at the stage of planning, you should find answers to the following.
- What work needs to be done in the morning and in the evening
- Which of this work is really not essential
- What are the things that are not critical and you can take help from someone? (It may be possible that there may be some work at which your partner is an expert and it will be beneficial to seek their help.
- What of this work can be batched together and done in one day rather than you spending time on it every day
- Which of these are just counterproductive and you should stop doing them
- Most importantly, when are you going to have time for yourself, in the morning or in the evening?
One of the easiest ways to plan daily activities is by building routines, they help you structure your day and get things done without making them seem like big tasks and eventually become part of your life when the routine is rightly created.
Here are some posts to help you build the right routine for you.
Step 3: Schedule is the key
Based on the planning now is the time to schedule, a schedule ensures plans are being executed. To make a perfect sustainable schedule do not over-schedule and keep it realistic.
I also like to keep some buffer time, in case things go unexpectedly.
While scheduling I find it more helpful to break it into monthly schedules, weekly schedules, and daily schedules.
A Monthly Schedule
Monthly planning helps to see a bigger picture of how your time should be spent.
A monthly plan is very important for planning ahead as with the daily task list you miss important upcoming things. It also helps you to effectively prioritize work. Before starting the monthly plan you should reflect back on the previous month to be more effective with the new month’s planning. You should use the 100 end of month reflection questions for self-review for monthly review.
On a monthly schedule, one should review upcoming events and schedule it and other work accordingly, for example, an upcoming vacation or visit from friends and family. Putting things on a monthly schedule gives you an overview of your month at a glance.
For more details on the monthly schedule, read my post
Based on the monthly schedule, the weekly schedule is a further breakdown. However, I like to keep the same weekly schedule with few changes based on the monthly plan. Once I make my weekly schedule it is the same for a very long time, this reduces the planning time and more importantly, it keeps me in the rhythm of work. I highly recommend you do the same as it takes time for us to adjust to a schedule and if we keep changing it we are putting additional pressure on ourselves to cope with it.
I like to make a weekly schedule of different activities, for example, a cleaning schedule, laundry schedule, and meal schedule.
On a similar line, you can schedule your week at work too, for example, Mondays for team meetings, Tuesdays to monitor weekly performance, etc. depending on the type of work.
Read Weekly planning secrets for work life balance to help you make a good weekly schedule, you can do this on the weekends to make the best use of your time.
P.S. You may like to read 10 productive things to do on the weekend to manage a busy week
Once monthly and weekly scheduling is done daily schedule is just going through these schedules and your to-do list to fill your day. However, your daily schedule will have a specific time assigned to different work, for example, 8:00 am breakfast, 11:00 am making a project report, and so on. Your daily schedule should be very specific and appropriate time must be assigned to different work.
The best time to make a daily schedule is the previous day, the evening. However, some find it effective to do it the same day morning. You can choose what works best for you.
There are different tools available to help you schedule. Some prefer a physical planner or a notebook while others prefer a digital scheduler. The most effective and simple to use digital scheduler is Google Calendar.
You can create a morning and evening routine based on your schedule, to ensure the momentum is maintained and things get done smoothly.
Step 4: Optimise your workflow
This step is not immediate and will need some time for you to reach it. This basically involves understanding your work and life and trying to find ways to optimize it so that you can get the most of it by spending less time and energy.
Once you start a schedule as per your plan you will realize that there are certain things that can be improved and that will help you do things faster. Do not be in a hurry to proceed to this step, give yourself sufficient time to get comfortable with the schedule that you have prepared, and at the same time be aware and conscious when you are following the schedule of certain things that need improvement and give a possible scope of optimization.
You may be doing something on an everyday basis but it can be done on one day for an entire week and you will not need to spend time on it daily, this is called batching your work. When you batch work you spend less time on it and do it more effectively. As an example, you can do meal preparation for an entire week on one day, and spend no or little time on a daily basis.
Another way of optimizing your work can be by automation. Maybe you are spending time making bill payments every month. This can be automated so that every month automatically payments are done and you need not spend time doing it. At work, you can schedule follow-up emails or meetings.
Optimization may seem a little difficult initially but once you start seeing the benefits of it you will get more comfortable with it and will be able to do it much better.
Try to make the most of your time, here are 12 Smart Strategies to Help You Work Smarter, Not Harder
Step 5: Keep time for self-care
Well truly speaking this step goes in parallel.
The most important thing to manage your busy life is to keep some time for yourself. This does not mean that you need to spend hours in a day but just spending 10 to 15 minutes mindfully for yourself will make a lot of difference. Most of the time we are chasing the schedule but we don’t understand the importance of “Me Time” till we reach a point of burnout.
I have observed that most of the time my systems and schedule collapsed or did not work for me because I had not scheduled a time for myself. This would eventually make me feel overwhelmed and frustrated.
I highly recommend having some personal time in your daily schedule to ensure you do not get overwhelmed and feel motivated and enjoy the process of managing your busy life. Self-care becomes more essential at work as we often get more stressed at overwhelmed at work and trust me it does not take a lot of your time. Here are 10 self-care at work tips for your wellness at the workplace
Spending self-care time can again be different for all of us. You can do the same or different activities each day of the week. It can be reading, journaling, watching web series, drawing, singing, walking in nature, yoga whatever it is it should make you feel good about it. Sometimes just sitting and doing nothing is also an amazing way to relax.😋 Make it an everyday routine to relax after work to avoid burnout and have a work-life balance, here is a 5 step system to help you relax and unwind after a busy day
In today’s day and age there are all possible tools and help to save us time but at the same time expectations at work and life and the amount of work has also increased, so the best way to manage your busy life is by having a system to make sure everything is done in an efficient way at the same time ensuring there is personal leisure time to ensure you don’t burnout.
A good review of your day followed by effective planning, and scheduling is a good start to managing your busy life. Over the period one can move to optimize their workflow to get the most benefit.
I hope this was helpful to you.