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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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'.
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!