Tackling your ‘To Do’ list in a stress free way

I’ve never had just one job.  I’m the sort of person that is interested in several things and am constantly thinking of new ideas whilst trying to work out what I can do to extend that into a project or spread my interests to others in one way or another.  Although this may keep my life interesting – it can also build up and sometimes be quite overwhelming and stressful.  Over the last year or so I have learnt ways to control all of my ideas and therefore prioritise things in my life.  I have learnt that it is more important to keep myself happy than panic about keeping others happy with my work, especially with social media these days and followers constantly asking for things.  I have always been so grateful for the relationship I have with those that follow me on my journeys and take an interest in my life, but every so often I will stumble across the tweets where people ask ‘why haven’t you posted on Instagram’ ‘when are you going to give us another YouTube video’ and it’s those demands that can send my stress levels through the roof as I all of a sudden feel I have a duty to provide whether it makes me happy or not.  I am sure that those comments are said through kindness and for a want of getting involved in what I’m doing but I also feel as though I can’t force my work to happen, I work extremely hard at each project I take on that when I am asked for the one or two things that I’m not focused on at that specific time I get a pang of disappointment that I shouldn’t be concentrating on what I am doing but avert my attention to what everyone else wants, despite whether it makes me happy or not.  In order to make sure I focus on the things that I want to focus on, I follow these simple steps to get things done so that I can then move onto the things that others are asking of me.

Write Things Down

Most of my ideas come to me late at night either whilst I’m watching TV or just before I go to sleep.  I always keep a notebook by my bedside and as soon as I think of something that sparks my attention I write it down.  Once I have written down at least 5 ideas or thoughts I will number them accordingly in order of importance.  This tells me what I need to do first and what needs my attention first and what can come secondary.  This could depend on a number of things, either deadlines that I need to stick to or simply what I have the most excitement for at that time.

Timetable Tick Sheet

Create a timetable – it can be a very loose one but a structure of how much time you will allow yourself for each of the things on your ‘to do’ list.  When I know I have to get a blog post done I will allow myself perhaps 2 hours from start to finish of creating the blog post (not including if I have to shoot pics for it!) and I will make sure I have completed the editing and writing in that time so that I can start the next thing on time.  I also apply this to if I am packing to go on holiday, allow yourself a certain length of time to get your suitcase packed so that you can move onto the next thing you need to do.

Minutes in Music

One thing I have started doing recently to stop me from getting behind with the smallest of things is to set a task to the length of a song.  It used to take me ages to get going in the morning but now I get up and put on a playlist which helps guide me through my morning routine and ensures that I don’t spend 15 minutes making a cup of tea and some granola but that it is done within 1 Ellie Goulding song and then I have another 2 songs to allow me to get dressed for the day.  This works great for those short tasks, even like showering (I’m a serial shower hogger and love to take ages in the shower – therefore making me late for EVERYTHING else!) but if I only allow myself one song for my shower it keeps me in time for everything else I need to fit in and has stopped me from rushing out the door!

Take Time Out

This is a really important one to remember.  Chill out.  Sometimes when we have a lot to do it completely consumes us and we find it hard to switch off.  I am definitely one of those people and have found myself out with friends at dinner still focusing on things that I need to do but physically cant do at that time – so what’s the point in thinking about it?  In order to stay positive and passionate about whatever it is that you have to do it’s important to take a break and switch off from it so that when you get back to it you’re refreshed and a lot more focused!

I’d love to know if any of you sometimes feel a little overwhelmed by life.  We all have different stress levels and our breaking point will change depending on what we have going on in life at that time.  Let me know in the comments if you have ever felt similar to me or if you have any ideas you want to share about how you keep life in order sometimes.