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10 Easy Ways to Get a Grip on Your Life

Home > Everywhere > Misc | Lists | How To | Health and Fitness | Health and Beauty
by Lionel (subscribe)
Join me as I travel, play, eat, live and work in cities and places around the world.
Published January 30th 2013
Photo by doodlehedz of Flickr

For some of us, Christmas have catapulted us headlong into the New Year and all the talk about New Year resolutions have added to the festive stress. We return after the weeks of holiday break to thousands of email messages, new deadlines to meet, targets to achieve, meetings to attend, marriage, kids going to school, new baby on the way. The list goes on and suddenly you're pulling double duty due to restructuring in the office. Your world is spinning out of control and you're unhappy, worried and overwhelmed. The mobile messages continue to pour in as you read this article. If this is how you're starting the year, do yourself a favour and stop the crash and burn. Here's 10 easy ways to get a grip on your life.

* Pen It Down
Photo by Alexandre Dulaunoy of Flickr

When too many thoughts are speeding through your mind like the autobahn, it's time to put all of them down in writing. Penning them down on paper or typing them into your online task list is an excellent way to get quick control over the mental clutter. At least now you can keep track of all your thoughts and have a higher chance of accomplishing them. Getting an Apple iPhone 5 or Samsung GALAXY S III LTE might encourage more scribbling for some folks. The good old pen and paper still works for me.

* Focus on One thing

Often when you're working on one thing, something else will pop up requiring your attention. Before you know it, you'll be stressed just thinking about all the different tasks you have to accomplish and likely nothing gets completed successfully. It is therefore important to focus on completing one task at a time before proceeding to attempt the next. You may be pleasantly surprised at your increased efficiency.

Photo by Michael Dales of Flickr

If you have challenges focusing, try a few sessions of yoga, which is one of top fitness trends. Studios like Satya Yoga in Singapore, Agama Yoga in Amsterdam, Virayoga in New York and BodyMindLife Yoga in Sydney provide sources of references for yoga classes that clear the mind while strengthening the body at the same time.

* Budget some Spare Time

Photo by Blackwood XL of Flickr

No matter how well you plan your day, there's always something that occurs beyond your control - your car broke down while driving to work, a client calls up for an urgent meeting, you left your office keys at home, the kids missed the school bus etc. So leave some elbow room in between your daily tasks for all the unpredictable occurrences.

* Stop Controlling Everything

Photo by Steve Rhodes of Flickr

Perfectionists and control freaks aside, most of us try to do the best job in order to live up to the expectations set by others or ourselves. It is encouraging to put your best foot forward but you need to understand what it and isn't under your control. Even highly regarded chefs like 3 Michelin Star Bruno Menard of &Made's and Tetsuya in Australia cannot control how their diners will respond to their food. The best step forward is to concentrate your efforts in the areas where you can achieve your desired results.

* Don't Over-Worry

Now that the Mayan end of the world in 2012 forecast has passed without incident, don't spend your day playing clips of worst-case scenarios in your mind - what if my boss did not like my proposal? did my colleague overhear the joke about her dress? Will the dykes in the Netherlands burst and New York be buried by a massive tidal wave?

Photo by Domiriel of Flickr

Stop the self-destructive over-worrying and you'll find yourself looking younger and living longer. If you still find yourself in that space, try something fun and lively like dance workouts. IslandDance in Hong Kong and The Space Dance and Arts Centre in Melbourne provide references of various classes that get you into a positive mental and physical zone.

* Take Short Breaks

Photo by ellenantill of Flickr

We're not taking about short vacations but periodic breaks in the day. Most of us are led through the day by a barrage of tasks that leave our brains and bodies drained. It is important to take a breather, even if just a couple of minutes, every hour to allow us to revisit our tasks feeling refreshed. Chatting with your colleague over a quick cup of coffee in the pantry or lounge often helps.

* Cut Out the Non-Essentials

Sometimes there's way to much for one person to handle. Cutting out the non-essentials can do wonders. With the daily surge of voluminous information available on the internet and print publications, you simply can't hope to keep current and absorb everything. So pick 3 or 4 news sources that are most important to your day like a current affairs website, market report, lifestyle magazine or and leave the rest for spare reading.

Photo by circulating of Flickr

The same-weeding out approach can also be applied to email communications. Revert on those considered urgent or top priority and leave the rest for a saner time in your day when there's less buzz around you and the workplace is quieter. Consider removing the unnecessary spending on expensive meals, clothes and holidays if these luxuries are putting a strain on your wallet.

* Buy Time

As our lives become more fast paced, time has somewhat become a luxury as we try to get everything done in the day. Sometimes it just impossible and you have to decide if there are dead end duties that can be delegated to someone else at a small fee.

Photo by thisisbossi of Flickr

Some time savers could include online grocery shopping that allow you to avoid the lengthy tour of supermarket aisles and queues at payment counters, switching to online billing and payment instead of opening envelops and writing out cheques and getting casual hired help with housework if you're snowed under by office and parenting priorities. Let someone else sweat the small stuff and don't let your 'Rest and Relax' become 'Rush and Run' times.

* Just Say NO

Photo by IBWK of Flickr

Saying 'Yes' to everyone might get you up high on the popularity list but being agreeable is not always a boon when you already have a full plate of tasks to complete. You also run the risk of doing a poor job and letting people down. Apart from priorities and unavoidable obligations, learn to say 'No'. Otherwise you might just end up become highly strung like Jim Carrey' character in 'Yes Man'.

* Enjoy this Weekend

Give yourself a break from all the hum drum this weekend and start getting a grip on your life again. Check out Weekendnotes for a wide range of places to go, things to see and stuff to do, either by yourself or with your family, children and friends. Wherever you are and whatever you choose, have a great Weekend!

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Why? Don't start the year all stressed up and frustrated with life
Your Comment
Thanks Lionel. I will take it on board and stop trying to control everything. I can already feel the stress dissipating. Thanks Nadine.
by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (score: 3|6089) 3335 days ago
Hey Lionel, Love your article and all the appropriate pics you have placed throughout, esp the grass and penknife scissors which made me smile. Susan.
by Susan Jackson (score: 2|846) 3436 days ago
thank you for the great tips - very timely to read this!
by carme (score: 1|28) 3436 days ago
Great article :) Have to remind myself about those non-essentials - it's a constant struggle.
by Gerii Caulfield (score: 2|398) 2677 days ago
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