10 Tips to Juggle the Daily Load

jugglerI just recently read a blog post regarding the quest for perfectionism in our society. It talks about how we strive for perfection in every aspect of our life: work, marriage, parenting, health, fitness, nutrition, etc. and this leads to an overwhelming feeling. We are bombarded with information, news, and media. Basically we know too much, understand too little and measure ourselves to the masses. Too often we attempt to smother fires before they become infernos, just to find another one around the corner.

How to calm the mind and attempt to get it all done, while staying relatively sane? Here are some tips to help juggle the daily load:

1. Wake up a little early – No, I am not encouraging you to get less sleep. However, many of us are going full speed from the second we wake up until the second we go to sleep. By waking up even just 15 minutes before the household, you’ll be assured a little peace, perspective and a little quiet time before kicking off the day.

2. Take advantage of your commute – Are you stuck in traffic for 30 minutes every day on the way to work? Take advantage of this time. You can use a voice recorder and make your to-do list or record an audio journal. If you never have time to read, get audio books. You can listen for pleasure, learn a foreign language, listen to motivational speakers or take a class through audio books.

3. Buy a slow cooker – Using a slow cooker will  not only save you time, but will also bring you peace of mind to know that dinner is taken care of. Just throw in the ingredients in the morning and your dinner will be done when you get home from work.

4. Figure out your time wasters – Examine your daily schedule and see if there are tasks that are non-essential and can be removed or delegated.We all have things we do that eat up time. Do you spend 20 minutes looking for your keys every morning? Start putting them on a hook on the door. Do you waste an hour surfing the web every night before bed? Limit screen time in your house — for your kids and yourself.

5. Find a job you love – If you’re going to do something 2,000+ hours a year, make sure it is something you enjoy and an environment you enjoy working in.  If you do enjoy your job, examine if the environment is family friendly and as flexible as you need. If not, ask for the flexibility you would like, so that you have the balance you desire. You want to work for a company that considers its employees and their families to be one of its greatest assets.

6. Take advantage of apps – These days, there is an app for everything. Take advantage of technology to help save time and your sanity. With banking apps, you can deposit checks from your phone. With grocery apps, you can use coupons without any clipping. With calendar apps, you can keep your family’s appointments and events organized. With food apps, you can find recipes that are quick and healthy. Check out these must-have apps for busy moms.

7. Learn to say NO – These days, most families are overscheduled. You don’t need to join every group, volunteer for every committee, sign your kids up for every activity or attend every event. Decide the things that are truly important to you and your family and make them a priority.   Overpacking your schedule only leads to more frustration and exhaustion – learn to say no and measure yourself by your standards, no one else’s!

8. Learn to cut corners on things that don’t matter – Or give yourself permission to delegate them to someone else. Despite what you might have heard, there’s no law that says that you have to make all your meals from scratch, clean your own house and peruse Pinterest to build a better homemade mousetrap! Do enough housework to keep yourself from going crazy, but don’t overdo it. Better yet, if you can afford to, hire someone else to do your cleaning. You will  have more time for the things that really matter to you — like spending time with family members and friends, or investing in your business.

9. Take care of yourself – put exercise on your calendar – You aren’t going to be able to keep up with work or your family if you don’t take care of yourself. Exercise will clear your mind and build your body. Even if it’s only 15 to 20 minutes a day, you need to make the time for yourself. Your health and family will benefit from this priority.

10. Live, laugh, love –  Spouses and friendships  are your support system so don’t push them to the backburner to be forgotten or taken for granted.  Schedule “date” nights and “friend” nights; regular outings to catch up, get away  and renew. If it is on your calendar, you are more likely to make it happen.

Again, there is no “right” way or magical formula to manage life.  so, give yourself a break from the perfection carousel. Try to priortize and attack your to do list, but also give yourself breathing room and time to exhale.  Find peace in the freedom to be the best YOU that you can be in any given moment. If a ball drops, let it bounce!

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  1. Mickey on May 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Item #1 is huge for me. I don’t do it every day, but I love when I do. I can get my email back under control, publish a blog post and just kind of get a good feel for the day before the rest of the house gets moving.

    At times I’m jealous of #2. While I’m happy to not have a commute, that time in the car to think would be nice sometimes.

    #9 was big for me as well. I never had time to exercise, but putting it on the calendar has made a big difference. I’m early into it, but with great results so far (11 days of exercise in the past two weeks).

    I’d also add inbox zero to your list. Keeping that clean really helps to keep track of what needs to be done that day — it’s hard to juggle if you’re not sure what you’re dealing with.

    • natalie on May 20, 2013 at 9:16 am

      Congrats on the exercise regime – that is a great start! And I was hoping you would have an app or two to add to the list! Thanks Mickey.

  2. Ali on May 20, 2013 at 9:37 am

    Hi I’m Ali and I’m a Productivity-aholic 🙂

    There are tons of tips I can share here, but here are two off the top of my head:

    1. Establish a project management system you trust. This system should allow you to include deadlines, notes, and have easy access via phone, web, etc. We use Asana for our task management and rely on it very heavily. We are able to map out a plan of action for each work day by scheduling tasks according to deadlines, etc. For more information on task management, read Getting Things Done by David Allen!

    2. I have a system for creating grocery lists on my iPhone that is as easy as can be. In my reminders app, I have a list called “Grocery List”. While it doesn’t connect with coupons or anything fancy, it’s really a simple app to keep open at the store and check items off as I go. My FAVORITE feature, however, is that I can hold down my home button at any time and tell Siri to “Add milk to my Grocery List.” Without even having to type a single letter, Siri will add items to my list. This makes it easy to make a grocery list on the go, while driving etc. If something pops into your head, just tell Siri and she’ll populate the list for you 🙂

    • natalie on May 20, 2013 at 4:40 pm

      What a great ideas, Ali! I am setting up the grocery list on my iphone as soon as I finish typing! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Carel on May 20, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Wow, great list. My secret is to always double up on things, e.g., listen to CDs during a long drive, vs mindless talk radio. My favorite to get me to exercise is to watch a video while on the treadmill or to use it to memorize chapters on the Bible.

    • natalie on May 20, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      Carel – I also reward myself when on the treadmill with my recorded, guilty pleasure TV – not nearly as productive as your Bible memorization! Impressive! Thanks so much for your comment.

  4. successnotsabotage on May 23, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Love the slow cooker and agree with the get up early. You feel like you got enough done for the day that you could quit at noon! Great tips!

  5. Courtney Abrams on May 27, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    these are some great tips! i am queen of making to do lists but find they never end. i like the idea of waking up early a lot. i am rushing the moment i open my eyes and sometimes feel scattered as result. doing that will allow me time to just be and get ready to face the day. and of course, the slow cooker is the best! i also like your idea about limiting screen time for ourselves as well as the kids. feels like half my life is sucked away trolling the internet for nothing.

  6. Gerald on May 30, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Great list. I would only add finding some time during the day to just think and reflect. Commuting, exercising, even taking time from busily “doing stuff” at work are all good times to give your mind the freedom to ponder.

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