How do you deal with busyness? How do you keep from getting completely overwhelmed? If you don’t count “organization” as one of your personal strengths, if your commitments seem to outnumber the hours in a day, or if you’re a person with autism, sensory processing disorder, or depression or anxiety, are there ways to cope successfully with the pressures while still managing responsibilities?
I’ve gleaned several tips over the years from personal and professional experience:
1. Prioritize activities and commitments. It’s easy to go through life simply doing everything that comes our way without thinking through the best use of our time and talents. Sometimes keeping a written “to do” list can provide satisfaction as items are completed, and can help us identify the most important things that should be done first, and give us a system for remembering those that can wait until later.
2. Know when and how to say “no.” This is easier for some people than for others. At times, I have had to practice saying this before replying to a request to fill a volunteer position or take on some other commitment. Another person might be disappointed to hear us say, “This sounds like a great opportunity, but I won’t be able to help/join you this time.” Yet it may be the best thing we can say at this point in time to maintain our own health or well-being.
3. Find a way to structure time and responsibilities. Developing a routine (for meals, sleep, homework/housework, etc.), even when busyness creates some chaos, can help people stay calm and maintain focus. Using a calendar or other organizational system can help us remember the important commitments, as long as we remember to check it! As we’re teaching others how to structure their time, it’s important to help them find a system that works for them. Some individuals work better with paper and pencil, others with a computer program or app, still others with a watch that has alarms that can beep at important points throughout the day.
4. Take care of yourself. Maintain your physical and emotional health by exercising, eating right, and getting enough sleep. Sensory breaks, relaxing hobbies, and time with loved ones are all essential to our overall well-being. It’s easy to think that there isn’t time for these when we’re facing countless high-priority responsibilities, yet we will be unable to do many of those if we’re not feeling well!
5. Get help when needed. Any one of the above steps may require assistance from someone else. Often a fresh perspective, an encouraging word, or practical assistance may be the key to successfully managing the busyness of our lives.
Whether or not you’re facing a busy week, I hope it’ll be a good one! Feel free to share your tips for managing busyness either on our Facebook page or on our blog. And please let us know if there’s anything we can do to assist you! Successfully managing busyness can help all of us as we continue our lifelong journey of growing personally and interpersonally!