I used to live on a self-imposed anxious side. Then I attended a talk presented by Lisa Montanaro called “Crazy Busy is not a Badge of Honor.” She talked about setting your priorities and then planning your day around what those priorities are. I stopped and realized that I was loading up my plate with what others needed from me instead of what I needed for myself. What made it harder was that I am incredibly calm under pressure and people thought I had it all together when on the inside I was panicking.
I finally learned to not put too much on my plate because I detested the way I felt. When life won’t cooperate with my preferred serving size (LOL) I focus on one thing at a time and schedule extra mediation sessions to keep focused and grounded. Through meditation, I have learned to focus on the here and now and not all the other crap that is going on around me. I’ve learned to focus.
So let’s digest this.
The first thing you need to determine is how big your plate is. How much time you have to devote to outside tasks for work, home, and self-care. This is where your ideal schedule comes in. Time mapping is the tool used for creating your ideal schedule. With time mapping you think about your categories/priorities and schedule them on your calendar. I start with recurring appointments and block those out. These are appointments that cannot be changed like the kid’s soccer practice or dance class. Next fill in time for self-care. Big Rocks First and then fill in all the rest. This is your ideal schedule.
You won’t be able to live to this schedule every day but it gives you a starting point to base your week. Now when your friend calls to see if you can get together for a chat then you can look at your blocks of time and say, “Yeah, I scheduled some self-care for Friday night.” You can schedule with your friend guilt-free because you know you have set aside time for the other priorities in your life.
Put your oxygen mask on first by scheduling yourself first!
Now on how to focus. Meditation. There are free apps and YouTube videos. I personally use Headspace. I started meditating in earnest about 2 years ago and I have received so many benefits. I am no longer uncomfortable with silence. I enjoy driving in my car with no radio or sound. I can focus on the task at hand without worrying about the bevy of other tasks that need to be done. I have used what I have learned from meditation in every area of my life.
The biggest change is understanding that the anxiety I used to feel at the number of items I had decided to take on was just a feeling that would pass. It was just a thought. Maybe rapid-fire thinking that was uncomfortable, but deep breathing and focusing on my surroundings calmed the misfiring.
Tell us what you do to combat the overwhelm. Have you tried meditation or creating an ideal schedule?
Time and tech-savvy, Jamie Steele is the owner of Tidy Your Time LLC. She works with individuals to find the order in their lives so they can spend time on what matters to them. With a focus on making technology work for you, she encourages her clients to live life in sync. Contact Jamie today for your free phone consultation. Tidy Your Time LLC works with individuals and small business in the Austin area, or virtually, anywhere.