You have heard it all before. You know the benefits of being less busy and having fewer commitments on your schedule. You have tried every app out there selling the promise of streamlining your life, so it runs like clockwork. Yet, you are still busy, exhausted, and stretched to the point of snapping on the daily. Here’s what to do about it.
Busyness has long been held up as a marker of success. The assumption being the busier the person, the more successful they are. But that is not the case. In order to be super effective in your work, and also have time for yourself and your family, you need to ditch busyness, and instead, opt for productivity.
Here are 3 tips you can implement today to create less chaos and more calm in the week ahead.
Schedule Your Free Time First
"Ummm... what free time?!?!" I know, I know! The mere thought of having free time is making your brain do back flips, right!? But stay with me.
I totally get it - running your own business and being a parent are both full time jobs. And there will always be more to do. Which means that there will always be a reason to stay busy, keep soldiering on and tick more things off the list.
In order to give your best to your customers or clients and your family, you have to make sure you aren’t just serving them, but also serving yourself. If you’re running on empty, you don’t have anything to give.
ACTION STEP // Decide today your days off next week. Then block that time off on your calendar.
This seems like a simple act. It's sticking to it that’s the tricky part.
When you frame your free time as being as important as that client presentation, the meeting with your accountant or the parent teacher conference, you create more balance in your life.
Scheduling and honouring your free time is an act of love, to everyone in your life.
Create Pockets Of Saturation
We live in a world of hyper connectedness. And whilst this offers amazing opportunities to create huge impact with your work, it also comes with an endless stream of distractions.
Multitasking can feel like you’re getting more done, but it makes you less effective.
A study by Gloria Mark, an ‘interruption scientist’ at the University of California, shows that when people are frequently diverted from one task to another, they work faster, but produce less.
After 20 minutes of interrupted performance, participants reported significantly higher stress levels, frustration, workload, effort and pressure.
Creating Pockets Of Saturation in your day creates momentum. This means you can produce more in less time.
This applies in all areas of your life, not just work. Studies show that it’s the quality of time spent with your children that matters, not quantity.
ACTION STEP // Look at your schedule for the coming week and block out Pockets Of Saturation for specific tasks and people.
For example: 60 mins to work on your book 30 mins to reply to email 20 mins to play basketball with your son (this was one of my pockets today!)
Create Your Week On Purpose (+ ditch your to do list)
It might feel like your daily to do list is the thread that’s holding your life together. But it’s actually the very thing keeping you chronically busy, anxious and stressed.
Because there’s no end to the list.
Those items you didn’t get to today get added to tomorrow's list. And then the incomplete tasks on tomorrow's list get added to the next day… Sound familiar?
ACTION STEP // On Sunday evening, write your to-do list for the entire week ahead. Every single thing that you need and want to do. Then, take each task, and put it on the calendar. Once everything is scheduled, take that to-do list and throw it in the bin!
When you make a plan for the week and schedule it on your calendar, life is so much calmer. There’s no self negotiation required as you move though your week. You won’t suffer from decision fatigue that has had you feeling exhausted and flat.
All you have to do is show up and follow the plan!
As Napoleon Hill said, “Plan the work and then work the plan.”
We can be lured into thinking that when we get ‘over there’ life will be quieter, calmer, less chaotic and more peaceful. But there’s no such thing as a happy destination from a miserable journey.
Balance isn’t about doing everything perfectly at the same time. It’s about intentionally creating opportunities to be fully present with the people in your life. And that includes with yourself.
Vari Longmuir is a coach to female founders and influencers. She teaches them how to make their lives feel as good as they look on Instagram.
Originally from Glasgow, Scotland, she now lives on the Mornington Peninsula, just outside of Melbourne, Australia with her two sons, Gabriel and Noah and their adorable staffy, Stella. Vari works 1:1 with her clients guiding them to easily set and achieve their goals in business and life with more ease, flow and fun.