There are times when life is crazy busy. It just is. We’re going through a patch like that here. As a family of five, we spent last week deftly passing a stomach virus like a baton in a relay. One of the kids wound up in hospital. I’m two days behind with work ahead of a week involving two days away for One Direction, two speaking engagements on new topics, two birthday parties on the weekend (at our house!), and all with a step-daughter submitting her Honours thesis and a husband who has a looming book deadline.
Sounds ridiculous, and would be – if it was the norm.
The week after is a ‘normal’ work week (no travel, normal childcare situation etc). I’m having lunch with a friend and going away with my three best school friends for a long weekend of pampering to celebrate our 40ths. That’s pretty much it…
There needs to be ebb and flow. It’s not about creating an artificially ‘together’ or peaceful state at all times. It’s about noticing that you’re in a peak state of ‘busy’, recognising in your body and behaviour the signs of increased stress and building ‘white space’ in your diary to compensate. If stretching before you is nothing but ‘full speed’ – if there are no lulls built into your schedule by you – that’s when the cracks begin to show…
First aid for the chronically overwhelmed
Reaching this see-sawing state of ‘busier’ followed by ‘white space’ – probably won’t happen immediately, unless you’re unfortunate enough to be side-swiped by one of life’s wake-up calls (often in the form of a physical or emotional collapse, or through relationship or work problems). It’s a way of living to strive for and, in the meantime, if things are beyond hectic, sometimes what’s needed is some ‘first aid’.
Take your calendar and identify one thing that you can cancel, one thing that you can postpone and one thing that you can delegate. Add in one thing that will enhance your well-being.
Seize the moments
Look for the nooks and crannies of time. We’ve had a tremendous response to our My 15 Minutes program with people seeing significant improvements in their lives by investing just 1/100th of the day. Most of the participants have been surprised to find that fifteen minutes is ample time to do something meaningful and purposeful, and when we carve that time for ourselves each day – revolving our attention through the parts of our lives that matter most – the habit acts as ‘compound interest’ in building the fulfilled lives that we’re craving.
You don’t need to be doing the guided program to benefit from this approach, and this is where the anti-juggling comes in. It’s a matter of asking yourself ‘what deeply matters to me?’ – then holding these things as precious, saying ‘no’ to give meaning to your ‘yes’ and picking each of them up in turn while you offer your full focus.
Satisfaction in life is found in a quarter of an hour engrossed in ‘real’ conversation with your partner, a few minutes tackling that dumping ground in the corner of your bedroom, half an hour on a walk with the kids, five minutes sipping a cup of tea and watching the sunrise, one focused, internet-free hour on a ‘bang for buck’ work task…
Not all at once. Not even on the same day, necessarily.
Life is challenging enough without us complicating it further. Ride in on your own white horse and rescue yourself.
For more tips on life balance, time management and self-esteem visit www.worklifebliss.com.au where you can download a free eBook on the 7 Types of Busy.