Friday, September 18, 2015

how to avoid a frantic hustle



I've caught myself in a frantic, nearly running pace more times than I really wish to admit over the last few weeks. It usually starts with a cup of coffee and me looking over my To Do list. I see the few things there and decide to add a few more. Suddenly the list is ten items long and I have two hours before I'm expected to be somewhere. 

The sane choice would be to put some of those tasks off until tomorrow (certainly they don't all have to be ticked off today), but I do the crazy thing. I start running to and fro, attempting to accomplish everything, not really engaging or enjoying anything. In the midst of the chaos, I'll hear my breathing in its quick and tired bursts, sweat dripping down my brow, hair a mess upon the top of my head and realize I'm making myself frantic.

So, I've been trying to stop myself from that habit. From that habit that's going to die really hard and be difficult for me to purge completely. However, I've found some tricks that have helped me. 

1. LIMIT YOUR TO-DO LIST TO THREE IMPORTANT THINGS.
My mom calls these her MITs or Most Important Things. You're only allowed to have three. They are your non-negotiables for the day. These must be completed before you lay down to sleep at night OR maybe sleeping well is one of them. There's no requirement of importance to these. The only rule is keeping the list to three.

2. BE AWARE OF YOUR PACE.
This can be tricky because a lot of us have desk jobs where we sit most of the day. But hear me when I say this: your near running walk, your elevated heart rate, your full bladder that has to be ignored, your hungry belly that has to grumble because you're too busy are all signs of frantic pace. Now that I've mentioned it to you, you'll get stuck with this in your head. I promise because it happened to me. Slow down. Slow down with a deep breath and thirty seconds of eyes closed.

3. THINK ABOUT TIME BEFORE YOU GET STARTED. 
Yes, schedule things out -even roughly- in your head before you get to work. Sometimes they will go smoother than you expect, other times they'll be hot messes of not-finishing-anything, but often you'll be able to estimate the time required to accomplish your tasks. Laying out your tasks with the time that you've got to work helps you keep yourself on track, away from Facebook, and grants you productivity without the feeling of emergency rush.

4. REVIEW DUE DATES.
When I make my To Do list for the day I don't delineate by the time something is due. I don't take any part of the deadlines into consideration because I'm busy with an entire conglomeration of things I want to accomplish. So, I've started to take a step back to look at the entire calendar of the month as I'm prioritizing. Somehow having the month watching me as I watch my list reminds me that there's more time than just today.

5. MAKE TIME TO EAT AND DRINK AND PEE. 
This points back at tip number two, but when I'm worried about getting ALL THE THINGS done the first thing that drops off my list of To Dos is eating and drinking and bathroom breaks. This is dangerous because I quickly become thirsty and hangry and work suffers really quick. Don't set yourself up for failure like that. Just don't do it. Instead, lay out time to take care of yourself. Rumor has it, when you take care of yourself the other things come to fruition in a far more wonderful way. 

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