Have you ever felt overwhelmed by your growing to do list and your quickly filled calendar? We have all been there! Trying to juggle a career and a home life can be complicated. Once you throw in raising children, home maintenance, your partner, social life, and family members, life can be overwhelmingly busy. Spending time taking care of yourself often seems like a pipe dream once you look at your weekly agenda.

Sometimes all of these obligations and to do lists can be paralyzing when it comes to making decisions. Hopefully this guide will help you navigate your schedule and help you make important decisions to simplify your daily life.

  1. Recognise Your Limits. The first step is to understand what can be accomplished. We tend to live in a society where we overbook ourselves. Take a look at your to do list or your weekly commitments and decide if it is realistic. Can you maintain this schedule and while staying true to your core personal values?
  2. Identify Your Personal Values. The answer to this question is going to look different for everyone. Essentially what do you value in your life and what do you need to do every week to stay true to these values? For example, if you value alone time with your spouse, perhaps this means ensuring a weekly “date night”. If you need downtime with your family, perhaps you keep your Saturday morning free of conflicts. If you need to go to the gym, make sure that is a priority in your week.
  3. Untangle your conflicts. Once your have your personal values identified and set into your schedule, it is time to make some tough decisions. What are the to do’s that can be done away with. This may mean learning how to tell people “I’m sorry, I can’t.” Studies show the feelings of guilt or a fear of loosing income are the number one reasons why we can’t say “no” to busy schedules.
  4. Commit to Action, or Inaction. Once you have decided what you need your schedule and commitments to look like, you have to stick to it. There will always be urgent outliers of things that need to be accomplished, but stay strong to your convictions. If you are committing time to spend with your kids, ensure you do it. Sometimes this means committing to inaction if you are committing to rest.
  5. What is urgent? When everything on your to do list seems important, it is difficult to decide where to start. Time sensitive and health issues are usually a good place to start. Once you can decide what is urgent, you can triage your to do list and soon it will seem less overwhelming.

An overwhelming and busy schedule can cause stress in your life. Stress can impact your mind by triggering anxiety, restlessness, or depression. Stress can even take a physical toll on your body through headaches, sleep problems, chest or stomach pains.

The work and home life balance has been decreasing throughout the years as studies show the amount of free time has been cut in half since 1995. The reality is free time and balance in your schedule is vital to living a healthy, enjoyable life.

An exhausting and difficult week here and there is common, but if you feel overwhelmed and unhappy with your to do list and schedule, it is important to make decisions to better your health and well being. If you would like to speak to a psychologist about stress from your busy schedule call us on (02) 6262 6157 or book an appointment online).

Related reading:

Stress: How to Manage (or Even Benefit from) It

Self Compassion: How to be kind to Yourself

Modern Ways to Raise a Happy Family