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We are all busy.
Commitments, work, family, friends, responsibilities, chores. And the list goes on, right?
It’s been an especially busy season in the Torres household with the preparation of opening up the ice cream shop amongst everything else. It can be challenging and overwhelming as you enter a new season, especially a busier one.
Stress and burnout are common because we feel like the days are slipping past us and we don’t have a grip on the things that matter. That’s why I’m sharing my tools and tricks that have helped keep me on track and make progress in the areas that are important to me. Busy can be fruitful. It’s going to be inevitable at times, so lets be intentional in making the most of it!
Set your goals
If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?
One simple thing that has made a huge impact for me is setting and writing down my goals. This is a chance for me to look at where I’ve been and plan for where I want to go. It doesn’t always work out the way I have planned, but it’s a place to start.
My favorite tool for goal setting is my Powersheets*. This is an intentional goal planner that allows me to learn more about myself, my goals, and my intentions through prep work. It’s a place where I can see my progress and plan for what’s ahead. I make sure my “busy” is purposeful (and organized!) by cultivating what matters and letting go of the rest. It’s easier said than done sometimes, but it’s made it so much easier to say “no” to things when I’ve already realized what’s in alignment for this season.
Now you don’t have to use the Powersheets to make this happen (although I highly recommend them because they’re amazing)! You can start by simply writing down goals you have in the different areas of your life.
Health. Friends. Spouse/Significant Other. Family. Finances. Spiritual + Personal Growth. Work. Recreation.
Not every area will be important in every season, but you can use as a guide and focus on what’s most important to you right now. You might be in a season of a brand new job, so the Work area is important to cultivate, but maybe recreation isn’t for right now. And that’s okay.
Use a planner
In the spirit of “not everything is important all the time,” not everything needs to make it into your planner. If you’re someone who doesn’t use a planner of some sort, I honestly don’t know how you function. I’ve kept a planner for years and years. My current favorite is the Simplified Planner*, but find that works best for you!
There have been seasons where I overwhelm myself because I pile too much onto my plate. Reserve your “yes” for those things that move you closer to where you want to be. Again, not everything is important or right for this season.
I’ve also gotten myself into trouble when I’ve committed to something, but forgot to add it to my planner. Now any commitment goes right into my Simplified Planner. Every meeting, appointment, Pure Barre class, friend date, reminder, anything. It all gets written down so nothing gets overlooked or forgotten.
This has made life so much easier because I don’t have to store all this information in my head. I can make sure I’m not overcommiting myself and that I’m using my time well. I feel a lot less frazzled and more organized when my days are straight!
Keep a running list
If I don’t write something down, usually I’ll forget it. This used to drive me crazy! Busy season or not, I’m sure there are moments where something pops into your head that you need to remember, like pick up dry cleaning or don’t forget to grab milk at the store, but the next moment you’re sidetracked by something else and forget. This only makes the busyness feel more crazy.
I don’t always have my planner on me, but I pretty much always have my phone. So I use it to my advantage! I used to keep a “to do list” in the notes section on my phone, but this got a bit cluttered. For a while I’ve been using an app called MinimaList and it’s amazing! I can quickly add things to my list and it serves as an external brain for me, remembering everything so I don’t have to. From there I can add things to my planner as needed or just let it live in my app until it’s crossed off (yes it gives you the satisfaction of crossing items off a list!)
Just last night I was laying in bed and thought of a few things I needed to get done today. Instead of letting this keep me up trying to make sure I remembered, I simply added it to my list and moved on. I set it up as a widget on my main screen so it’s easily accessible and used all the time!
Prep your food
You’re probably sick of hearing about this, but I cannot stress enough the magic of meal prep! Or at least ingredient prep! What I mean by this is instead of prepping your whole meal and putting it together, you prep the ingredients so they’re ready when you are. This seems less overwhelming to me and I can mix and match the ingredients to make different meals.
I really got back into meal prepping again during my Whole30. It’s such a dream to have good, healthy food ready to go especially when you’re super busy and/or super hungry. Yes, in a situation like that you could just hit the drive through, but food prepping saves you time and money. Plus it’s usually healthier! Win-win-win!
I feel more relaxed and enjoy my food more when I’m not trying to scramble putting things together to cook it. Set aside 30 minutes this week to plan your meals (they don’t have to be fancy). Make your grocery list based on your plan and what you already have. Go to the grocery store. Then set aside 1-2 hours prepping whatever you can! It does take time up front, but it will save you so much time and hassle throughout the week.
I took it a step further and got my lunch boxes ready for a few days and that made me feel like I was queen of the world! Set yourself up for success!
Choose your outfit the night before
Have you ever noticed picking out an outfit might take you 2 minutes at night, but 30 minutes in the morning!? That is precious time and mental energy that does not need to be spent.
I have been picking out my entire outfit the night before for a while and it’s incredible to not have to make that decision in the morning. It makes me feel prepared and on top of it. Mornings can be so hectic, so why not make it easier for yourself? The morning sets the tone for your whole day — don’t let that tone be panic, stress, and frustration.
Moral of the story: get things out of your head and simplify.
We tend to make things more complicated than they need to be especially when we’re busy and not thinking clearly. My hope is that these tools and tricks will help you flourish no matter the season you’re in <3
What is your best tool or trick to flourish with a busy schedule? I’d love to know in the comments below.