If you’re anything like me, you may get a little overzealous when it comes to taking on new tasks or projects. However, if you’ve got a lot on your plate and aren’t great at time management, then you’ll definitely start to get overwhelmed with everything. Instead of letting your long to-do list get you down, take a look at these tips for how to stop over-scheduling your life.
Know Your Work Pace
If you consistently find yourself feeling overwhelmed and not able to get to everything on your to-do list, chances are you’re overestimating what you can get done in a workday. I find myself way more productive when I write a shorter, more realistic to-do list for myself. I don’t find myself getting stressed just from looking at everything I’m planning to get done that day, which helps me to really focus on the task at hand. Plus, if I end up finishing everything on my list early, I can dive into the following day’s list. Really it’s just about knowing your work pace and then scheduling yourself a little extra wiggle room as well.
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Things can definitely start to get overwhelming when we start to let different parts of our lives take over others. For example, if you bring work home with you in the evenings, it starts cutting into time that would otherwise be used for personal matters, and suddenly you start to feel very overscheduled! I’ll admit, I’m totally guilty of this. I regularly bring work home with me and check my work email religiously evenings and weekends. That being said, I definitely set those things aside when I have other items on my to-do list in the evenings.
For some people, setting boundaries with a boss or coworker might be challenging, if they expect to be able to reach you and give tasks at any time. For others, it might be more of a matter of setting those boundaries with yourself, if you’re the one who is always convincing yourself to work just a bit longer.
Stay on Top of Your Calendar
If I’m overscheduling myself, it’s often because I commit to something without checking my calendar to see what my actual availability is. I used to prefer to carry a paper planner that included my calendar, but since I didn’t have it with me all the time, it made scheduling difficult. Since then I have finally switched over to a digital calendar so it’s easy for me to check dates before deciding to commit to something.
One reason you might be over-scheduling yourself is that you schedule certain tasks and activities with the intention of multitasking. While that can sometimes work, I would say this is almost always a bad idea. You simply can’t give your full attention to two tasks at the same time. So in most cases, this means that you’re going to doing a lackluster job at both tasks. In addition, both tasks are going to take longer than necessary, meaning you really aren’t saving any time when it comes right down to it.
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Know Your Priorities
At first glance, everything on your to-do list might seem important. But once you have a firm grasp on your priorities, it makes it significantly easier to cut the less important tasks from your schedule. My priorities were definitely tested earlier this year, and it meant cutting back on some activities that are important to me, but not as important as others. I was super busy at work and working longer hours than usual. My evenings were shorter and I was always more tired when I got home. Evenings and weekends are when I usually do my blogging, but I was also in desperate need of some self-care and relaxation. In attempting to balance the two, I took a couple of months off blogging to focus first on work, and then on self-care. It was definitely easier to make that decision once I mentally cleared up what my true priorities were.
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Schedule Down Time
If you feel like you’re managing your schedule well but still find yourself having absolutely no downtime, then start scheduling it into your calendar like you would any other task. It can be tempting to schedule over that time if something else comes up, but having time to decompress and relax is super important, so try to resist that temptation.
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Are you guilty of over-scheduling your life? How do you put a stop to it?
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