Ever had a day when you have so many things to do you know you’re going to drop the ball somewhere? Do you make lists with everything that needs to be done today, stuff that can be put off until tomorrow, and things that must be done by next week?
Factor into that all the things you’re supposed to remember for your family, who apparently can’t function unless you keep on top of them, and you start to feel that horrible knotted feeling in your stomach. Time management goes out of the window and you throw yourself into things that aren’t a priority – clearing out cupboards or the kitchen drawer – and completely forget to do the important things such as food shopping and laundry.
We all have days like these and I’m fast learning how to handle them, resulting in better time management skills, something I resolved to do back at New Year. I may have abandoned several other resolutions I made at the time, but this is something which will reduce stress if I can only get organised.
I’m a list person, I love making long lists and get a ridiculous amount of pleasure from crossing things off it, putting a line through all those annoying ‘must do’s’ which drive me crazy. I try to multitask, working online while making annoying phone calls, paying bills while cooking dinner, racing to see how fast I can iron a shirt, that kind of thing. The plan is, if I get things achieved in a timely manner I can have some time off, chill and do nothing – but sadly that never seems to happen.
We all know this results in feeling overwhelmed, under pressure, anxious and irritable, and everybody in a five-mile radius suffers. Once in that mental state it’s difficult to unravel, stop a while and take a breather, you feel you’re on a hamster wheel spinning ever faster and can’t jump off.
Actually you can. I’ve discovered I’m more productive and focused if I step back, walk away from something and come back to the task in hand later. It ends up taking less time, I’m more relaxed and the results are generally better. All the wisdom in the world backs this up so why do so few of us take that time for ourselves?
My new strategy is to take a mental health day every so often, however much I ‘should’ be doing other things. It’s not easy, I fight with myself, argue that I can’t possibly have time out, there are way too many other things I have to do, but of late I’m allowing myself the freedom to do just that. And I love it.
Shutting down the computer, forgetting deadlines, leaving the keyboard and going off to do things I normally wouldn’t ‘waste’ time doing is a treat – reading through recipe books, mooching around the shops looking for nothing in particular, smiling at people in the street. Just being.
It’s a wonderful tonic for the soul – calming, energising and freeing at the same time. Today has been a day like that and I’ve achieved far more than I planned. There are things I haven’t done but, hey, so what, the world hasn’t ended.
I thoroughly recommend everyone take a mental health day on a regular basis, you won’t regret it. Promise.