How To Beat The Stress Of A Busy Schedule

How To Beat The Stress Of A Busy Schedule

Kick the daily feelings of stress and anxiety to the curb with this tactic.
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We all know at times it can be nice to sit back, relax, and go with the flow--but sometimes it can also create problems. You find yourself running around like a madman, unable to meet priorities, always late to events, and putting things off until the last minute. You aren't making it to the gym. You aren't finishing your homework. You aren't meeting deadlines. Why? You've probably said to yourself (and others) that you simply don't have time. You're busy. Everyone is busy. It's important to keep in mind that being busy is merely a mindset. It's a representation of your priorities and time management. If you consistently find yourself wishing there were 6 more hours in a day, keep reading. I have an efficient and effective strategy to help tackle your busiest of days.

You can confide in anyone about your stressful schedule and I can almost guarantee their advice will be centered around concepts of time management. They're right. Being busy is and can always be solved through effective time management skills and planning. The key is how you manage your time, but people typically don't understand how to improve those time management skills. Okay, so now you're thinking...how do I improve? How do I even manage my time? Is there a way to make a plan? How do I execute it? You create a personal schedule tailored to you. A precise, accurate, and to-the-minute schedule that will guide you through your day one task and priority at a time. Here's how.

You can start with a blank sheet of paper, a new Note on your iPhone, or even make a spreadsheet with time intervals like the one below. Whichever is going to help you be most successful is the best option.

1. Schedule in specific time-oriented priorities.

For example, a time-oriented priority would be your job (you have to be there at a certain time) or an appointment. They are things that you must do or attend with a specific time/place attached to them. Whatever they are for you, schedule them in. Only focus on the day at hand

2. Add in travel/commute times for the time-oriented priorities. Make sure to leave extra time in case of traffic or emergencies.

I always like to add 10-15 minutes to however long my commute is for cushion-time just to be safe. No one appreciates chronically late employees or friends. With that said, if I need to be at work at 9:00am and I know it takes me 30 minutes to drive there, I'll want to leave 40-45 minutes before I start.

3. Write out any other priorities that are not time-oriented.

An example of priorities that are not time-oriented would include eating at least 3 healthy meals a day, getting ready and taking a shower, and going to the gym. This includes all and any tasks you know you need to do, but don't have to be done at a certain time. If any of these events require travel, make sure to include the commute times.


4. Add any additional activities and/or responsibilities you have time for.

This can include reading a chapter of your favorite book, watching a YouTube video you saved, or working on a paper you started.

5. Order them up in a consecutive list and execute.

Once you have everything in order for your day, you'll have a time for when you need to wake up to get everything in and a time you can go to bed.

Tips, Tricks, and Things To Remember

1. Don't try to tackle more than one day at once. Create a new schedule for each day as you need one. I find myself creating my daily schedule as I lay in bed before I fall asleep. That way, your plan is fresh in your mind and you're ready to execute the following morning.

2. Always allow extra time. You know yourself better than anyone. Are you slow to wake up in the morning? Fit in an extra 5-10 minutes to account for the snooze button. Find yourself needing more time to finish your makeup? Start a few minutes earlier.

3. Keep calm if things don't work out. Sometimes, things will come up, your plan will be thrown completely off track, and you'll feel rushed, behind, and late. Simply adjust your day--don't let it break you. Just keep going.

Stress can suffocate you. You feel like you're drowning and you're barely able to keep your head above water. When will I find the time? How will I get it all done? You are capable of creating the time. You are capable of setting yourself up for a successful, positive day.

It's okay to need structure and a routine to follow. It can give you mental peace and clarity, a sense of control, and the ability to perform at your best. There's nothing wrong with needing to take the extra step to feel more secure in your everyday life.

Some may say this strategy is extreme and over the top. Some may like to go with the flow and execute tasks as them come with no rhyme or reason, but not everyone works that way. Some have anxiety over their daily life. Some struggle to keep up. For some, this can make a difference. Give it a shot for one week--you'll notice it.

Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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The Potomac Urges Me To Keep Going

A simple story about how and why the Potomac River brings me emotional clarity.

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It's easy to take the simple things for granted. We tell ourselves that life is moving too fast to give them another thought. We are always thinking about what comes next. We can't appreciate what's directly in front of us because we are focused on what's in our future. Sometimes you need to snap back to present and just savor the fact that you are alive. That's what the Potomac River does for me.

I took the Potomac River for granted at one point. I rode by the river every day and never gave it a second glance. I was always distracted, never in the present. But that changed one day.

A tangle of thoughts was running rampant inside my head.

I have a lot of self-destructive tendencies. I find it's not that hard to convince yourself that life isn't worth living if nothing is there to put it in perspective.

My mind constantly conjures up different scenarios and follows them to their ultimate conclusion: anguish. I needed something to pull myself out of my mental quagmire.

All I had to do was turn my head and look. And I mean really look. Not a passing glance but rather a gaze of intent. That's when it hit me. It only lasted a minute or so but I made that moment feel like an eternity.

My distractions of the day, no matter how significant they seemed moments ago, faded away. A feeling of evanescence washed over me, almost as if the water itself had cleansed me.

I've developed a routine now. Whenever I get on the bus, I orient myself to get the best view of the river. If I'm going to Foggy Bottom, I'll sit on the right. If I'm going back to the Mount Vernon Campus, I'll sit on the left. I'll try to sit in a seat that allows me to prop my arm against the window, and rest my cheek against my palm.

I've observed the Potomac in its many displays.

I've observed it during a clear day when the sky is devoid of clouds, and the sun radiates a far-reaching glow upon the shimmering ripples below. I can't help but envy the gulls as they glide along the surface.

I've observed it during the rain when I have to wipe the fogged glass to get a better view. I squint through the gloom, watching the rain pummel the surface, and then the river rises along the bank as if in defiance of the harsh storm. As it fades from view, I let my eyes trace the water droplets trickling down the window.

I've observed it during snowfall when the sheets of white obscure my view to the point where I can only make out a faint outline.

I've observed it during twilight when the sky is ablaze with streaks of orange, yellow, and pink as the blue begins to fade to grey.

Last of all, I've observed it during the night, when the moon is swathed in a grey veil. The row of lights running along the edge of the bridge provides a faint gleam to the obsidian water below.

It's hard to tear away my eyes from the river now. It's become a place of solace. The moment it comes into view, I'll pause whatever I'm doing. I turn up the music and let my eyes drift across the waterfront. A smile always creeps across my face. I gain a renewed sense of life.

Even on my runs, I set aside time to take in the river. I'll run across the bridge toward Arlington and then walk back, giving myself time to look out over either side of the bridge. I don't feel in a rush for once. I just let the cool air brush against my face. Sometimes my eyes begin to water. Let's just say it's not always because of the wind.

I chase surreal moments. The kind of moments you can't possibly plan for or predict. Moments where you don't want to be anywhere else. The ones that ground your sense of being. They make life truly exceptional.

Though I crave these moments, they are hard to come by. You can't force them. Their very nature does not allow it. But when I'm near the river, these moments just seem to come naturally.

I remember biking around DC when I caught sight of the Potomac. Naturally, I couldn't resist trying to get a better view. I pulled up along the river bank, startling a lone gull before dismounting. I took a few steps until I reached the edge of the water. The sun shone brilliantly in the center of the horizon.

A beam of light stretched across the water toward me, almost like a pathway to the other side of the river. I felt an urge to walk forward. I let one-foot dangle over the water, lowering it slowly to reach the glittering water below. I debated briefly whether I could walk on water. Though it sounds ridiculous, anything felt possible. Snapping back to reality, I brought my foot back up and scanned the vast blue expanse before me.

Eventually, the wind began to buffet against my left cheek, as if directing me to look right. I turned my head. A couple was walking along the bike path. They paused beneath a tree for a moment and locked eyes. Smiling, the man leaned in and whispered something in the woman's ear. As she giggled, they began to kiss softly.

While I looked on with a smile of my own, I couldn't help but wonder if there was someone else out there in the world willing to share this moment with me.

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