Location: Galway, Ireland
Many people who live in major cities – myself included – wear a lot of different hats every single day. For example: I’m a full-time publishing employee, the VP of a nonprofit board, part-time babysitter/dog-sitter, sister, daughter, friend and blogger…off the top of my head. Not to mention my travel, volunteer and workout schedules, dating life and the fact that I’m moving in a couple of months (more on the last two later). It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities. Believe me when I say I’ve lost countless hours of sleep worrying about being everything I need to be, or letting myself down.
The problem for me is that everything stays in my head. Not to pat myself on the back here, but I’ve got a really good memory and really don’t need a planner or calendar, but I use both anyway. When everything is in my head, I’ll remember it, but it gets jumbled, and sometimes I feel like I’m running back and forth without actually accomplishing anything. It can be both exhausting and defeating.
For people who can relate to what I’m saying and for those who consider themselves scatterbrains alike, my biggest recommendation is find a system that works for you. There’s definitely a lot of trial and error involved, because ultimately your goal is to eliminate your stress, not add another.
Here are some tips, based on what works for me:
Write Everything Down
At an early age, I became addicted to writing (now here we are), and I really enjoy the visual and tactile feeling of crossing something off of a list. I always keep a notebook with me. I don’t care what type or color mine is, but I tend to lean towards the soft Moleskine lined ones. They’re lightweight and easy to flip through. In my notebook, I make two To Do lists daily: one for work and one personal. I do not add my schedule or plans here, literally just what I’d like to accomplish. This helps because I add, cross off, change dates, etc throughout the day, and I’m able to look back for reference if I need to. I also write down packing lists, grocery lists, blog post ideas…really anything that crosses my mind that I want to remember, but not lose brain space over.
Keep to a Schedule
For my schedule, I switched to using iCal this year instead of a paper planner. At first I was nervous, but now I’m happy with the switch. My plans will show up on all of my devices with maps, estimated times to leave and more. Between my iCal and my notebook, I always know in advance what I have lined up and where I’m going, and I literally sleep better at night.
Mental and Physical Health
I’ve talked about this before, but ever since I started meditating in the mornings, I have also noticed a difference in my mental clarity. I don’t get overwhelmed as easily and can compartmentalize a little better, which was something I really used to struggle with. Good diet, sleep and exercise schedules also help. The days where I’m “good” in these aspects, my energy and creativity levels are higher and I accomplish more.
What are some ways you keep yourself scheduled and on track? I’d love to know!