1.22.2013

Tips for a Busy Life

It's cold here.
Like my friend Sam said via twitter 'Freeze the snot in your nose cold'.
The air is windy and unforgiving.
We are measuring the temperatures in negative degrees.
Saturday it was 55 degrees.
It's a bit of adjustment.

That's how these past couple weeks have been for me.
We had the nice, quiet days of Christmas break and then we went back to work.
Then my schedule just exploded.
This week I worked full days at my regular job, then I also worked 3 night shifts at the tax office and a full day yesterday there as well.
Talk about an adjustment.

Somedays feel like this- I try to avoid that!

I have managed to still squeeze in time with T, workouts, writing, reading and even some cooking and social time with friends.

Often, people say to me, How do you have time for all this stuff?, When do you sleep?

To which I reply- I don't have time and I haven't slept in years!
Just kidding. :)

We all have VERY busy lives it seems these days and lives that just seem to get busier as time goes on. Work commitments. Family commitments. Social commitments. Community commitments.
There has to be a balance so you can do the things you love and not go crazy in the process.

So here is my list of tips and tricks that work for me when life just gets so dang busy.

1. PLAN AHEAD

When I did my Goals In Motion challenge, they used to always tell us this mantra when it came to planning workouts and eating healthy:

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

I firmly believe that is true. In all facets of life.
I have a routine on the weekend to prep for the week ahead:

Food
- Take inventory of what is in my fridge/cupboards and make a list to supplement what I need for lunches and dinners. I focus on fresh veggies and fruits that will keep me feeling healthy and free of sickness when I don't really have time to catch the flu!


- For lunches- I try to make some kind of dish that provides 5-6 servings I can dish up for lunch. I've been prepping my way through Angela's Top 5 Salad Recipes of 2011. I really love the 'Back on Track' salad and  the 'Red Quinoa and Black Bean' salad. Both work well atop mixed greens as a meal and are easy to prep. I also have fresh fruit like apples and oranges as well as nuts or trail mix for snacks- easy to transport!


Detox Salad dished out for lunches
- For dinners, I plan on cooking one big thing one of the two nights I'm off and eating leftovers of it the other nights or having something easy to cook up (think a grain like rice or couscous and stir-fried veggies). 


- Clothes
- I pick out all my work outfits before the week starts. Including jewelry and shoes. This saves me a TON of time in the morning. Each night before I go to bed, I pull out what I'm wearing the next day and hang it up where I can see it. Then there is no browsing through this mess in the morning.



2. START YOUR DAY OFF RIGHT
Before you have a chance to make excuses or other plans get in the way, do these three things in the morning:

WORKOUT

SPEND TIME WITH JESUS (#shereadstruth)

HAVE A GOOD BREAKFAST
I am 100% convinced that my day and my attitude are better when I get a little sweat in, then recover with a heart healthy green smoothie and the words of  God. It's a way to center myself physically and spiritually each morning and honestly- it's my favorite part of the day.

3. USE THE TIME YOU GOT WHEN YOU GOT IT
Often, it seems like our to-do lists never end. I find that I often end up with a bunch of things that would take 5 minutes if I just sit down and did them- like responding to emails or blog comments (sorry guys). Or there is something I've been wanting to do- read a book, work on a craft, etc- but keep waiting for the perfect time to do it. Instead, I've found any free time is the 'perfect time.'

I use my lunch at work to read and eat. It's a nice break in the middle of the day and then I'm still keeping up with on my books and blogs and emails. 
And sometimes those 'free moments' don't seem like the ideal moment, but it's the moment you have.
Hence why this instagram of me cooking veggie burgers at 10 PM occurred  I needed lunch for the next couple days and this is when I had time.

I actually find cooking very calming and relaxing
Here are some other things that help me:
I don't have cable. Which means I can't get sucked into HGTV for hours. Often, I won't even turn the TV on (I have Netflix and Hulu) or will just play music. It's one less thing for me to feel like I'm missing out on (if that makes sense) and I can use that time to volunteer or work on crafts or just talk on the phone with family and friends. 
I have some pre-planned social events. I have a group of girlfriends that has dinner together once a month. I meet with friends at a certain time of week for coffee. I have work friends that I have scheduled lunches with bi-weekly. This is not to say my life lacks spontaneity- but having these planned times ensures I get to see the people I care about without trying to figure out everyone's schedule at the last minute.
- I always use a planner and a calendar. 
Calendars are your friends. So are lists. Daily/weekly/monthly lists. Break things down and they become more manageable. Plus crossing things off a list is just so incredibly satisfying.

4. BE OKAY WITH SAYING 'NO'
I have a hard time with this one- so this advice is for me too.
Each of us know how much we are capable of- how much our minds and schedules can handle. Often, I feel obligated to say 'yes' to whatever I'm invited to- even if I know I really don't have time.
This can be hard. You have to say 'yes' to the things that are really important and 'no' to the things that can wait...but also leave some time to just be and enjoy some 'you' time.

Evening walks with the dog are a 'YES' for me

 Ask yourself if the event is something that will further your 'love list.' 
I mentioned this article in my Sunday 7 post- figuring out those things that in life that you love the most and make you feel most content and inspired. The more I get to know people in my city and network around town, the more events I get invited to. If I wanted, I could attend 2-3 events PER DAY it seems.
I want to support the ones I really care about- which means I don't go to everything. Figure out what your focus is and be okay with saying 'no.'

5. HAVE FUN
It's easy to get caught up in the to-do's, but make sure you spend some time just laughing and talking and hanging out with the people you love.
Go on a movie date

Meet a friend for a run date and coffee



Hang out a coffee shop- chat, have a treat and play Ipad games!


6. REST IS BEST (My 2013 motto!!)
We all need a little time to decompress and when we don't do that for ourselves- we'll get burned out and unwell. If you are feeling tired and rundown, listen to your body and take a night off. Drink some hot tea. Watch TV from the bed. Do some yoga. Sit in the silence. Take a day off work and just nap and read. Go to bed early. Do whatever it is you need to do to get well and ready to tackle life again the next day.


How do you handle the busy seasons of life? Do you use any of these tips?

I'd love to hear how you keep sane when life seems just too busy- share in the comments below!