Being a grownup is hard. Daily life is busy. Some days there just isn’t enough time. It is easy to get down on ourselves when our to-do list isn’t complete each night, and our list of projects continually grows. Life can seem chaotic as we try to balance time running errands, cleaning the house and managing the family. No matter how organized you may feel, life and its craziness just doesn’t seem to stop.
However, take heart. This stress and pressure can be stopped. You can lift this burden off of your shoulders and be a more successful parent, spouse, child and friend. You simply need to streamline your life. Here are a few tips to get started.
One of the most effective ways to streamline your life is to say “no” to the different tasks and responsibilities you may be asked to do. Although, for many of us, this is much easier said than done. Consider the different projects and responsibilities you have that are most important to you. It could be your church responsibilities, a part-time job, your position on the PTA, whatever it is, plan it accordingly in your day. However, think about those projects that don’t really mean much to you, and you are doing them “just because.” Complete those responsibilities so you have more time to focus on your family.
When you are asked to help with additional tasks and responsibilities, think about what this would mean to you. Would this task be something you are passionate about or just something to fill time? If there is no passion, then just say “no.” If you wonder if passion may come, just say “no.” If the passion isn’t there in the beginning, say “no,” and place your energy into the other tasks and responsibilities that must be accomplished throughout your day.
Take care of larger projects more often
It seems counterproductive to streamline life by adding more projects such as throwing away the clutter that is in your home. However, if you complete these projects on a more regular basis, the magnitude of the project will dwindle, saving you time and a lot of anxiety. I try to go through my closets and cupboards at least monthly. Within the month, it is amazing how much I accumulate, but when it is time to organize, it isn’t an overwhelming project and I can complete it much faster.
Do tasks that take little time right away
When you have tasks to do, think about how long it will take to complete the task. If it will only take a few minutes, sit down right away and complete the task. This is a great tool if you are trying to complete chores around the house. For example, sorting the mail, paying a bill, making the bed, these tasks don’t take long if you do it right away. The longer you wait to do small tasks, the more they pile up and the longer and more time-consuming your to-do list will become.
One of my favorite ways to get things done and eliminate stress is to designate certain days for certain activities. For example, Monday is my shopping and laundry day. I do my grocery shopping that day and sort, wash and fold all of the laundry. Tuesday is my major cleaning day. I designate every Tuesday morning to scrubbing the bathrooms, the kitchen, the floors, dusting, etc. Wednesday is my finance day. I go through and pay all the bills for the week, balance the checkbook, etc.
I keep a to-do list for each day on my calendar. As unusual projects come up, I add them to the appropriate day. For example, if I have a few extra stores to visit, I add that on Monday so I can do all my shopping at once. If I need to reorganize my closet, I do that with all of my other major cleaning projects on Tuesday. This helps me stay organized and stay more efficient.
Take time for yourself
As life throws you every which way, you need to take time for yourself. If not, you wear yourself out, and you will find you become burnt out and overwhelmed more easily. Spend a little time each day for yourself. Whether you lie in bed for 15 minutes and read or go out for a run, do what you enjoy and don’t feel guilty for doing it.
Life as an adult is hard. There are many responsibilities that you must accomplish. However, you can do it. With a little effort, you can become a more efficient and effective adult.
Courtnie is an editor for FamilyShare.com and has a degree in journalism. She has a slight obsession with running, newspapers and large fuzzy blankets. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband and two sons.