My daughter has just entered one of those extremely busy seasons when she’s lucky if she can take time to breathe. She has a 30-hour a week job, a photography business with a full schedule for the next month or two, and is selling her home and moving into a new one at the end of the month. Yep – she’s got a busy couple of months ahead.
She was pretty stressed about it, so as is my custom, I gave her some advice. And that got me thinking that the advice I gave her could help someone else in the same situation. Just keep in mind that this advice is for a TEMPORARY busy season – not a lifestyle. If you have a crazy busy lifestyle that doesn’t have an end in sight, well, that’s a post for another day.
So here goes:
- Write everything down. Write everything down whether it’s big or small. When you’re extremely busy, you can’t rely on your memory. It isn’t trustworthy. It might normally be trustworthy, but during these crazy times, it just can’t keep everything straight. So write it all down!!!
- Plan, plan, plan. And plan some more. Maybe you can wing it when life is normal, but when it isn’t, you have to plan or you’ll lose your mind. It doesn’t matter what format you use or whether it’s a planner, a calendar or a notebook, but you need to plan. If you don’t, bad things will happen.
- Check your plan FREQUENTLY. Don’t open your planner/calendar/notebook at the end of each day or every couple of days – that’s not enough. Keep it open and with you at all times. As soon as something pops into your head, write it down. And check it often.
- Follow your plan as closely as possible. During a very busy time, you don’t have the luxury of being spontaneous and rearranging your schedule on a whim. If you do, you may find yourself in big trouble. Trust the plan.
- If you possibly can, so no to all new opportunities. If you can’t bear to say no outright, at least ask if you can talk about it later. If you’re as busy as my daughter, it’s not likely you can fit anything else in until things calm down. So just say no – at least for now.
- Delegate. Okay – I’m not very good at this one. It’s not that I can’t delegate, it’s just that I hate to bother other people since I know they’re as busy as I am. But if you can delegate, that’s one way to get an item or two off your plate or at least get some help.
- Let some things go. You only have so much time so there are probably some things you normally do that you can let slide for a while. If you normally do a lot of cooking, maybe you can choose simpler menus and work in some semi-homemade meals. Or eat out once in a while. Or eat finger foods like sandwiches. You can save a lot of time if you don’t cook big meals every day. Minimize your cleaning. Decide what MUST be done and then let the rest go until you’re schedule calms down. Or do your regular tasks less often. If you dust every week, do it every other week. If you vacuum daily, do it every other day.
- Don’t sacrifice sleep, food or a little fun. When you’re CRAZY BUSY, it’s tempting to sleep less, skip meals and work, work, work. But that’s no good. Even if you’re ridiculously busy, you still have to take breaks. And the truth is, sleeping, eating and having a little fun will make you MORE productive. Skipping those important functions will slow you down.
- Automate everything you can. I normally pay my bills weekly. But if I was going through a busy time like my daughter is, I would pay all my bills at the beginning of the month. Anything you can automate is one less thing you have to think about.
- Don’t stress. You can only do what you can do and being stressed doesn’t help anything. In fact, it just makes things worse. When you’re stressed, you’re clumsy, forgetful, slower and make more mistakes. Does that sound like a good thing? No. Just take it slow and easy and in the end you’ll see better results.
- Keep reminding yourself this will be over soon. Being crazy busy gets old fast but you can’t give up. Remind yourself there’s an end in sight and then your schedule will be back to normal.
What advice would you give my daughter?