Staying on top of it


How is it already mid-September?! It was only last week that I found myself in the Christmas section of Myer where they had already started selling Christmas trees, Bon Bons and the like and I literally stood there for a few seconds just shocked that it’s already that time of the year. Lately we've been so busy with wedding planning, concrete making, juggling family and friends, all on top of our two full time jobs - it really does start to snow you under. It feels like as soon as you tick something off the list there’s always something new to do. Anyone else with me?! The weeks seem to fly by and you wonder what you've accomplished and how time got away from you so quickly.

Sometimes it’s the little things that really help you feel more on top of life and allow you to get it all done and I wanted to share a few things that I do to stay on top of it all - small stuff that I've found really helpful when I’m feeling overwhelmed, stressed and like there’s just too much to do with too little time!

1. Make a list
I've always been an avid list maker - since primary school you’d find me scribbling lists on post-it notes and to this day, I still stand by my post-it note obsession. It really helps to see everything written down on paper. So often our heads can just be a jumble, but being able to see everything written down makes it seem more achievable. It also helps you process exactly what needs to get done. Write everything down – from the small, useless tasks that might take 5 mins to the larger and more time consuming tasks that could go over a few days or weeks. It’s satisfying to be able to tick something off your list and it also means you can see what you've accomplished, which is always a great motivating factor to keep going.

2. Set goals
It always helps to set some goals for when you will get things done. While lists are a great starting point, sometimes they can also be overwhelming but if you prioritise and set goals for when you’d ideally like to get them done, it spreads everything out onto a timeline and helps you realise you don’t have to get everything finished all in one go. I like to start with daily goals and then move onto weekly goals. This helps me to see what I need to get done throughout the day whilst still being able to see the big picture. This is especially helpful in seeing what might be going on outside these daily tasks in the context of the whole week or even month.

There are different methods of goal setting. For me, I find what works best is getting all the little things that are less time consuming and less involved out of the way so that I can then sit down and concentrate on the bigger tasks at hand. Others prefer to get the big things out of the way so that when they are feeling a little less productive and tired, they can get through the smaller tasks without much effort. It’s really up to you and what you find works best for you and your schedule.

Don’t forget that setting goals also means putting rewards in place for when you do accomplish them – things you enjoy. Planning something fun after achieving a few tasks will motivate you to get them done.

3.  A change of scenery
Sometimes no matter how productive we are, even the more exciting tasks can feel monotonous if we’re sitting at the same computer in the same spot all day, every day. I always find it helps to move around and work in different environments, whether that means bringing my laptop to a cafe, taking a pen and notepad outside to write or even just moving into another room with a different outlook. What I enjoy the most is taking my work out to our veranda that looks right out onto our garden. It helps your productivity to change the environment you’re in and what you’re looking at around you for inspiration.

4. Look after yourself
We can get so bogged down in the tasks we need to tick off that we forget to look after ourselves - we forget the basic needs like eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep. Remember to take time out for yourself in between all the daily tasks. That might mean sitting down and chilling out for an hour in the afternoon with a tea and a good book, baking a cake or going to the gym - whatever it may be, work life balance is important and looking after yourself and doing what you love shouldn’t be neglected. Most importantly, getting through anything in life is extremely hard if you've been sleep deprived so make sure you are letting yourself get to bed at a reasonable hour and not slogging away to try and get everything done, only to wake up and do it all over again on little to no sleep!

Image via Moorea Seal and edited by Hunting Louise