I was at an event on Saturday and a young lady pulled me aside to say, “you have so much going on, how do you do it?” I get that question often and I never really know how to respond. The real answer is, I just do it. I take life one day at a time and I get things done as best I can. It can sometimes be overwhelming, but for the most part my schedule is normal to me because it’s mine.
Since I do get the question often, I have begun to give it more thought. Here are a few ideas that guide me:
1. Understand your energy level. I’m a high energy person. I don’t sleep very much and that doesn’t bother me. If you need more time for sleeping or get easily run down, then schedule your time accordingly. Don’t try to pack in a lot just to say you did it because you’ll either half do it or disappoint the people who took you at your word that you would get it done.
2. Take time for yourself. This doesn’t have to mean going on a lavish vacation, it could be taking a moment for yourself. Sometimes when I’m at work and I’m particularly frustrated I go to my hiding place (which I will not disclose) and sit for about 10 minutes. No phone, no email, just me… and sometimes an Oreo Cakester :-). When I come back I’m usually able to focus and be productive.
3. Plan ahead, but don’t look ahead. Use your calendar to schedule lunches, appointments, meetings, etc. for months or years out if you want, but only focus on your schedule for the day. A lot of people get overwhelmed thinking about all the things they need to do later that they never get finished with what they’re supposed to do right now. Whenever someone asks me if I’m doing something more than two weeks away I quickly let them know that I haven’t gotten there yet.
4. Only commit to things you care about. If you join a committee or organization that you only care about minimally then the drama that is inevitable will push you away. It’s hard to focus on the positive of something you didn’t really care about to begin with.
5. Know your limits. This is one that I had to learn because I sometimes assume that since I’m organized and have high energy that I can do everything… totally not the case! I realized my limit once I reached it and now I’m having to back track and remove myself from people, groups, and commitments that I was initially excited about.
6. Take responsibility for your actions. If you make a mistake you don’t have to beat yourself up about it, but you do need to own up to it. Once you recognize that you didn’t complete a task, missed a meeting, or anything in between you should acknowledge it, leave out excuses, and make a plan to rectify it… all without having to be confronted by other people.
7. In all things, do it with love :-).
These are just a few suggestions. Feel free to post anything that works for you!