In our lives, we are always searching for the next thing to do. If we want to look successful and productive, we need to be doing something every minute of every day. We need to give the appearance of busyness so we look like we are barely holding ourselves together while still getting everything done.
So what happens when we really are just barely holding ourselves together?
I am jam-packed in the middle of the most stressful month of my life to date.
To give you the illusion that I am successful and productive, let me tell you all the things I’ve been doing/have done: working full time, coming up with podcast ideas, coming up with blog ideas for myself, ghostwriting blog posts, recording and writing script for news segments, training for a half-marathon, traveled to my alma mater, flew home to see my brother, planned Thanksgiving and Christmas trips, building a relationship, trying to maintain a social life, taking general care of myself, and writing a novel.
That’s a whole lot of ‘quantity’ I’ve got going on, and I can bet you have as many things or more fit into your schedule. The thing is, none of these items matter if we’re not giving them the quality they deserve. If I’m investing all of my time working, other parts of my life will suffer. If I let holiday trip planning consume me in anxiety, I’m not going to enjoy the trips themselves.
To give our life quality, we need to give it focus. Here are some ways I’m making sure I stay afloat and keep myself healthy through it all.
It always comes down to sleep. I am a morning person usually, but because this month has a lot of variables, I’ve noticed my sleep quality is suffering. To make up for that, I’ve transitioned away from my normal morning routine.
If I want to feel rested and provide quality throughout the rest of my day, it works better if I’m up at 5 instead of 4. I adjusted my evening schedule too, allowing myself some time to work on my passion (writing blogs, articles, and my novel). Sleep is vital to being present throughout my day.
I could continue to stretch myself thin. I could continue to give everything I have to each moment every day, but by the end of the day when I’m empty, where can I give to myself?
We need to be our first priority, and if we have nothing left for that, we can’t be our best selves. We have no quality to give. If we learn to say no to things, such as a social gathering or even writing time, we can make sure our quality is still there.
Stick to Your Priorities
This marathon, to me, is a top priority. Not because I want to say I ran in a marathon, but because being healthy and having some competition with myself is important. Health is my utmost value, be that exercise or getting a paycheck to provide healthy meals and a roof to stay safe.
Therefore, if working on writing my novel is getting in the way of my health in any way, I have to be willing to let it go at that moment. I’ve closed my computer several times this month before finishing my word count. Learning what is healthy to give to each task so you can give it quality at the moment is important.
If I want to give quality to my work, I can’t be thinking about that email I still need to send or that flight I still need to book. I have to be in the moment doing whatever task is in front of me. Mindfulness is a good exercise here, allowing you to stay focused on the present moment while also giving benefits to your health! The only acceptable form of multitasking.
Set Perfectionism Aside
News flash: no one is perfect. We don’t have our lives together every moment of every day. The pressure to be perfectly intact can be exactly what breaks us. We want quality, not perfection, and all that quality needs is a bit of focus. We don’t have to have everything figured out to give our lives quality.
It goes back to staying in the moment and accepting we won’t get everything done. If we set our priorities and goals based on our values, and continue to strive for the next thing, we will continue to grow. That is the ultimate quality we can give to any aspect of our life — growth. Growth in our job, growth in our health, growth in ourselves.
Solidify Your Values
When things get the most hectic, it’s actually the best time to reevaluate your values. Values that you established for yourself during a non-stressful time might not be what you need at this moment.
Our values should constantly be evolving with us, and when you need to set priorities and objectives, reevaluating what serves you best can provide great quality to your life. It can help put a lot of your work in perspective and give you new motivation to keep working through the tough bits.
In hectic times, we all need a reminder that it’s okay to step back and give ourselves space and solitude. We don’t have to be so busy that we can’t give our priorities, or ourselves, the quality they deserve.
Take advantage of the little moments where you can give quality. I have repurposed my commute for learning (via podcasts or audiobooks), relaxing (music), or relationships (calling my parents).
I minimize time on social media and instead build up a backlog of articles and other learning tools to peruse for a break. I took advantage of some time on the plane to contribute to my novel word count and nap. There are so many ways to reframe your day so you can give quality to your life in some new manner.
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