Organizing life has always been challenging, even in times before the crisis that came to change our lives in so many different ways. But while the big discussions around the crisis take the political and economical stages, we are all struggling with the new set challenges in our every day lives.
Working from home, back to back video conferences, e-mails piling up, staying fit and healthy, taking care of our loved ones, maybe entertaining and teaching the kids at home, keeping the household tidy and running – that’s a lot to juggle at the same time.
So, how can we increase our efficiency to keep our calm? Here are the top five tips that our community has gathered:
1. Create a to-do list
Yes, it’s old but gold and we absolutely see why! It is undoubtedly one of the most satisfying feelings to tick the boxes off one by one and it can probably only be topped by doing that with a glass of wine in the other hand, or a jar of Ben & Jerry’s.
Keep a to-do of of your daily tasks, and most importantly stick to them. We see how this is so popular since the infamous to-do list can be scribbled on a napkin, the back of an envelope, the newspaper, even toilet paper (if you are one of the lucky ones who’s stacked plenty of them in the basement and can become creative with the use of it) or even in your head (that is of course only, if you’re blessed with a good memory). It helps to give the day structure and allows you to celebrate the little daily achievements with yourself. Nothing feels quite as rewarding as a completed to-do list (okay, actually there’s quite a lot but you get the point).
2. Take on what’s most annoying first
We tend to put the most unpleasant tasks at the end of our to-dos, or even continue to reschedule them just because we really don’t want to do them. Eventually we have to face the truth: There’s simply no way around getting them done and if you don’t, nobody will. So why not tackle the most annoying tasks heads on first, so things can only improve after that and we’re more relaxed since the worst part is already behind us? Not everything has to feel like a steep mountain climb.
3. Involve your kids (or pets, if well-trained)
Locked at home with kids full of energy? Well, why not involve them and recycle their energy in useful tasks like tidying up or cleaning the windows? The kids might not be able to live up to your usual cleaning standards, but see it this way: If they already scrubbed off most of the dirt, it’ll at least be easier for you when you redo it. Channel their energy for your purpose and be rewarded with exhausted kids when it’s finally bed time. If that doesn’t do the job, then replace this with another physically challenging activity like pointlessly carrying boxes from A to B and back.
For the pet owners, this one depends a lot on your training skills and your persistance. We’ve tried explaining the drill to our cats several times, and sometimes I imagine seeing them making extra effort in catching the insects off the walls. That’s better than nothing, we assume.
4. Communicate clearly and delegate tasks
Nothing is worse than explaining things over and over again like a broken record, and reminding people like an annoying push message. If you live in a household with several members (or even only one with an extraordinarily resistant hearing), make sure to communicate clearly and upfront what are their tasks and until when they need to be delivered. For this one, there’s no method too cheap: Make use of any tool you can find to help you achieve this. If you’re blessed with the memory of an elephant, it might be helpful to understand that not everyone is, so be sure to make use of classic and technological tools like post-its or apps.
The reason why this point is particularly important is that this will help to keep your own calm. Nothing is as important as your energy level and you want to make sure not to drain it on avoidable discussions. So in order to keep the atmosphere at home happy, make sure to communicate clearly about who needs to do what until when, or who has an important video call at which time and cannot be disturbed under no circumstance.
5. Regularly indulge in Me Time
Many of us are familiar with the term “It’s not all about you”. Well, but sometimes it sure damn is. In order to keep sane and balanced, it’s occassionally needed to even enforce quality time with ourselves. Try to aim at a good total 30 minutes per day just for yourself. Whether you’re a crazy busy parent, a dedicated employee, a freelancer under pressure or a student with too many deadlines, we all need time for breathing and reflecting.
People are different in the way they use it and while to outsiders it might not look like me time, it’s entirely up to you to decide how you define and interprete it. Some might read a book, some might let their thoughts wander freely, some might want to shop some nice things online, and others want to just sit on the couch and stare at a wall in silence.
No one is to define what your me time should be but you. But be sure to aim for it to relax your mind and clean it from the clutter of the day (rumour has it, that this is actually sleep’s job, but it’s good to pre-prepare, isn’t it?).