The holidays can be a stressful time for a lot of us. Aside from work responsibilities and deadlines, there’s shopping, parties, and celebrations with family and friends. There’s always somewhere to go and something to do. But, if we’re honest, it’s not the only time we feel overwhelmed with our schedules.
Some of us are in permanent rush-reactive mode. Why are we always so stressed and short of time? Rushing generally means we’re running late, and stress can be a byproduct of overcommitment. And when we’re in this harried state of mind, we usually don’t do things well or think through problems fully. Which means we have to go back and fix things, taking more of the time we already don’t have.
So what’s the cure? How can we take control of our schedules and maintain some kind of equilibrium in our daily lives? A good place to start is with a plan.
Have a plan. A plan offers structure for your activity, and structure enables you to stay organized and focused. Whether you’re planning a project or a shopping trip, devising a plan will keep you on track.
Think long term. A lot of this is a mind game. Pace yourself. Always keep the big picture in view. It’s easy to get stuck and discouraged in the minutiae of day-to-day activities, but remember your plan. Don’t let tasks control you, but control the tasks based on your long term goals.
Start early. If you want to roll out a new campaign or promotion in April, don’t wait until March to start working on it. If you’ve got a lot of Christmas gifts to buy, don’t wait until December 24th to get going. Starting early eliminates the last minute panic.
Granted you can’t plan for everything. Stuff happens. And you need to react accordingly. But we often have more control over things than we like to admit. It’s easy to throw blame and play the victim. But whining is unproductive and takes up more time. Choose to be proactive rather than reactive. If you change your mindset, follow a plan, and start projects early, you can minimize negative reactions when the unforeseen does occur.
What About You?
Are you in a perpetual rush? Realistically, what’s one thing you could do to change that?
* Photo Credit: Will Southward (Creative Commons)