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3 Key Life Management Tips for the Overwhelmed, by Dr. Christina Winsey

Life is too short to allow the demands and distractions of our very complicated world to drive you crazy and keep you in stress overwhelm. If you're not spending quality time in what matters most to you, it's time to tame some of that craziness. Here are some quick tips that can help cut down on some of the overwhelm.

If you’re like so many people these days, one of the most common complaints you may have is,  your plate is fuller than full.

The demands of modern life often leave you feeling dragged out and inadequate.  You may know intellectually that you can’t give 100% to everything, yet still you have unreasonable expectations for yourself.  As a result, “something’s got to give,” and usually, it is your self-care and personal fulfillment.

See if this sounds like something you might be saying to yourself.  “Life just seems to be whizzing by me, and I don’t really feel as though I’m spending enough quality time on the things that matter most to me.  I worry a lot that I’m going to somehow miss my life and then it will be over.”

Life’s demands may not slow up any time soon, and learning to balance life is an ongoing art.  If you think one day you will “get it all done, and then you can relax,” you are bound to be disappointed. 

So then how can you ensure that those things of greatest importance to you get the amount of attention they deserve?  Consider the following absolute basic life management skills.

Number one: Identify the top four priority categories in your life (i.e., spirituality/personal development, family/relationship, career, personal care/health) and honestly assess how much time you give to each category.                                               

Often people have expectations of themselves that are unreasonable given the amount of time they have to devote to something.  If, for example, you are giving only 50% of your time to career, it is truly unreasonable to expect yourself to be a superstar in that category.  Additionally, if kids and family are a top priority to you, giving only 50% to career is probably the max you can give and still have enough time and energy left over.

Number two:  Write things down!  Don’t use your brain as your day planner.  Doing so increases stress.  Consider making five separate “to do” lists.  The first four lists correlate with your four top priority life categories (from our example above, one for spirituality/personal development, one for family/relationships, one for career/work and one for personal care/health).  Then the fifth list would be for general “to do’s” that don’t fit into those top four categories.

From these lists make sure you schedule the important items in your priority categories FIRST, BEFORE anything else makes it onto your calendar.  As a result, you won’t have to worry whether you’re making time for priorities.  Then you can pick and choose from your general to do list which additional activities you may need to, must or (actually want to), fit in.  By the way, don’t be afraid to use that good word “no” to any time-robbers you identify!

Number three:  Practice being in the present moment only.  Let’s say you’re always thinking about your endless pile of work at the office when you’re home with the family.  Fact is there is absolutely nothing you can do about those things on your desk.  Worrying about it takes precious time and attention away from your priorities and increases your feelings of dissatisfaction about life.

It takes practice and some mental self-control to keep your attention on what’s happening in the present moment, but this tip alone will bring huge rewards.  When you savor the series of life moments one by one, you will find you don’t feel as though you’re missing out.

Be patient and loving with yourself.  Always remember, life is an ongoing process, and it will throw you curve balls from time to time.  But with practice, you will find coming back to equilibrium gets quicker & easier.  As a result, you will enjoy life more and have a more consistent experience of happiness.