It would be great if we were able to choose how busy we are but sometimes it
‘is what it is’
So, how do we manage busy times without going pop?
R is for Reality
How do you plan?
Last Wednesday I had three events in one day. I did two speaking gigs, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, then drove off to the monthly meeting of the Professional Speaking Association East Midlands region.
Ideally I wouldn’t plan to have all that on one day, but you can’t always orchestrate the things you have in your diary to spread out evenly. Like traffic on a motorway, sometimes we get stuck in a cluster of vehicles going slow, like there’s some sort of hold up, and then it clears. There was no reason for it, just an accumulation. Does that happen to you?
All the things I had in my diary for the week were things I wanted to do. And when they happened, they were all fabulous things to experience, I enjoyed them immensely! If you were at any of those events, I hope you enjoyed it too 🙂
These kind of diary clusters, just like traffic clusters, can lead to health and safety problems if we don’t manage them.
Whilst we can’t have complete control over what we need to do each week or how these things sometimes bunch up, it’s easy to miss opportunities to take what control we do have.
I really think it’s possible to manage busy times more than we realise.
You may know that I’m just coming out of a tricky time with the menopause which has massively affected my energy levels. and, just like you, I have multiple responsibilities and life challenges with both work and family – that’s always going to be the case for everyone unless you run away to a monastery! I can’t do that as a brown robe wouldn’t be in my colour palette.
With these things in mind, I’m never going to tell you what you can and can’t fit into an average week. It’s more about you being tuned in to three important aspects of wellbeing:
1. What is your tolerance for busyness each day/week?
Notice how much you can manage before it starts to have a negative affect on you.
2. Acknowledge what you have on your plate at any one time. Just realising how many things you have to do, or hold in your mind, or have concerns about, can help you set more realistic expectations of your time and energy.
3. Take action on both prevention and recovering, bearing in mind the two points above. We can be terrible for saying things like “Yes, I really should take a little time to relax” and not actually doing it!
The R of my CARE Model is about looking at your Reality on any one day. And rather than being your superhero self ALL of the time, you take a realistic look at how much you’ve got going on and what you need to do to balance things out.
Here’s an example of how I used the 3 points last week:
1. I know (at the moment) delivering talks is massive fun but that I’ll be tired the next day. I know that after two days delivering talks and the second day having 3 events and a late finish, I’d be particularly tired.
2. I know I was also thinking about what I need to do in the house before hosting a meeting (ie do three weeks housework in an afternoon! lol), check my mum’s ok, liaise with my dad’s social worker about his care and find a dress to wear for a very important wedding (more on that soon!) And obviously all the other things that need to be done when you have a life and run a business.
3. I did all the above thinking in advance and so put in my diary a clear space the following morning to languish in bed, do yoga at home and have a leisurely breakfast.
If you’re using up extra time and energy on being busy, you HAVE to put that energy back in the tank somehow.
Over to you
Having two days of busyness might be nothing at all for you, and that’s fab. Maybe for you your tolerance is all cool until you’ve had two weeks of constant full-on busier-than-usual commitments. The important thing is to notice what’s true for you and to plan accordingly. Take action to plan realistically to keep you happy and healthy.
A morning in bed
That morning in bed, plus an easier day, re-hydration, nutritious food and an early night put me right back in a good place. I know if I hadn’t done that, I could have carried on but that energy debt would come back to bite me on the bum at some point. Perhaps with a cold or other illness that would have me in bed for longer, and a lot less comfortably!
Choose your recharge moment before it gets forced upon you.
The ideal situation is that we manage our schedule so that it’s not too exhausting. But when it just gets bunched up and we can’t do anything about it, we need to make sure we do what’s needed to recover.
Please look after your precious self 😉