Sunday, 5 February 2012
stress and time
You may have noticed that my posts have been a little less frequent here lately. After life throwing something of a curved ball just before last Christmas, what I expected to be a hail storm has turned into more of a meteor storm (thanks, climate analogies) and, while these meteors haven't actually exploded or hatched any angry snakes, I am keeping an eye out and preparing for that to happen, too. At least it won't surprise me if it does!
All this means I have been very busy lately. Too busy, really. I love managing my own time, and I'm usually very good at it, but suddenly having these (neither work nor blog related) extra demands on it has made things very hard.
I decided that I'd had enough of the constant butterflies, the always tight-feeling in my throat and the cold backs of my hands (who knew that was a symptom of stress?!) and that it was high time I did something about it.
Here are some of the things I do to keep going when time is short and my to do list isn't. I may not be able to get everything done – I'm not a magician! – but it helps to keep things ticking over and at least moving along. It makes things a whole lot nicer and easier to face, too!
LISTS – AND TABLES
Lists are so obvious, of course. I find that plain old lists help most of the time but when I have a lot of different things to do, one long, endless and ultimately impossible-to-finish list is too depressing. Instead I make a one-page list (use a BIG piece of paper if you have to!) broken down by subject, and end up with more of a table of things to do. Maybe it's a visual brain thing, to need things that. It works for me. Subjects down the side, actual tasks from left to right. It lacks the satisfaction of a long, all-ticked-off list (and who doesn't like those?!) but it really makes thing seem more under control – and I can work out priorities more easily, too.
This might sound nuts if you haven't tried it before, but it really is so amazingly helpful. For all the tasks I find myself putting off because they seem a bit hard/involve brain power/aren't actually much fun – hello, tax returns – I set an alarm. I'll set it for, say, 15 minutes, and during this time I have to work on any one thing until the alarm rings. Trust me. It works. I almost always find that once I have started, I want to go on for longer than the original time limit… and usually finish things then and there. And even if I don't, at least I've already done the hardest bit: getting started. I use my Dulton Co Ltd little red round timer; for on-the- computer jobs, it sits on the desk with me and ticks along companionably as I go. It was a gift from the Miles Mason Trading Company, and it gets used for so much more now than just cooking! Make me jealous and get the mint green one ;)
WORK SPACE AND GENERAL CLUTTER
I have tried to create a place for me to work (albeit in our "sun room" – haha – which is actually our study-slash-dining room, which makes our place sound enormous, and it definitely is not!) that is pleasant to be in. Who'd have thought scented candles in summer – during the day – would be so nice? It's a new found joy for me. Having this one spot organised and tidy makes everything else seem so much easier. It needs a bit more work, but that can wait, for now! A pin board and a nicer table are coming soon. I also like to have something nice to look at while I'm working. There is a big tree out side my window, an old globe on the desk that lights up (for when the sun goes down) and, on a good day, fresh flowers. It all helps! Inspirations boards are coming soon, too. I've really learnt in the past few years how important your environment is.
Again, so obvious, and yet so easy to not do when I'm busy, but some good hard exertion helps me exercise my stress-demons (see what I did there?) and stay happy. I'd be happiest if I could tap dance in a spangly show girl costume, but spin classes are doing the trick for me these days. Still, even just having one vintage spangly show girl costume would be really very nice…
THE SHALLOW THINGS… THAT ACTUALLY MEAN SO MUCH MORE
Taking care of yourself is so often underrated. It always gets pushed down to the bottom of the list of things that need to happen, but a bit of pampering works wonders. I am going to find some time to do a luxurious mani-pedi with some colours from my great present form Darling – perhaps pink and red? Even if I have to do it by moonlight, little things like these feel like treats, and this makes life so much better.
And that's just a start..! There are of course many more. What are your tips for dealing with being busy? Tell me and we can share them!
Posted by esme and the laneway at 10:43