Sometimes my schedule weighs me down. I put too much on my plate and am left feeling drained, irritable, and sometimes even unable to actually enjoy the accomplishments, opportunities, activities or what have you. Rushed and worn out feelings are certainly not my intention when I’m adding another thing to my calendar, so I’m constantly striving to find balance.
When it comes to managing time and priorities; I’ve found it useful to consider it in the same way I think about balanced eating. When I’m feeling spread too thin, there are a couple things I do to work towards a healthier schedule.
• Filling or Draining? Just like over indulging on food, planning excess is draining, and oftentimes not super beneficial. Looking at an opportunity and assessing how it can be filling and enhancing, to my life and the lives around me, helps me draw positivity in to situations even when they are difficult. In addition, when there are a lot of different directions I’m being pulled it is important for me to prioritize my own well-being. Taking time to ‘re-fuel’ is key in ensuring that I’m able to make good decisions on how I spend my time and also to be able to truly enjoy that time when spent.
• Quality over Quantity Rather than just enjoying a good thing, I frequently find myself trying to do it all (hello, back-to-back-to-back ‘fun’ plans on the weekend). I tell myself, ‘but it’s all good things’ and then I end up rushed and not fully present. I realize that while all the opportunities could bring me joy, if I’m in my head on something else or just stopping through, I’m not fully experiencing it anyways. I want to have high-quality interactions and experiences, not just quick, shallow passes.
• Keeping Tabs My body usually starts sending me signs when I’m on the verge of overload, and I’m getting better at noticing. Cues such as restlessness, staying up too late, avoiding tasks, and eating poorly are all signs for me to take a step back before I get too overwhelmed. Keeping tabs helps me find balance but when I’m experiencing all of the above, I try to curb anxiety by focusing on the ‘filling’ things, so I can rejuvenate and calm down.
• Enjoy the Moment I alluded to this already but most importantly I really just need to slow down and enjoy the moment. We’ve only got so many moments to live; we owe it to ourselves to be in them. I do well when I ensure I have unscheduled time too. Surprise experiences can be the best experiences. And of course, making sure I’ve got some fixed ‘nothing’ time on my calendar.
Hopefully the next time you’re on the verge of overload you can take a step back and try and find a balanced way to move forward. Managing time and priorities is a constant demand, so it’s important to find ways that work for you. And of course remind yourself that you’re not alone, I’m probably having to take a step back too.