Scheduling Under Stress

In a year that seems to have a never-ending supply of stress, I find myself needing simple visual reminders of things I can do that will disrupt moments of overwhelm.  I use the following categories to think about different areas of my life, but you may have different ones, of course:

  • Good for body
  • Good for $
  • Good for work
  • Good for brain
  • Good for home

I started my year with these categories because they encompassed many rituals I wanted to strengthen or habits I wanted to prioritize.  In my journal, I made a list of examples of what I meant for each of these: 

Good for body:  use foam roller to stretch leg muscles, follow a yoga video for 20 minutes, take the dog for a longer than usual walk.

Good for $: reconcile bills with accounting software for the week, update budget for a marketing program, send email to follow up to previous corporate clients.

Good for work:  respond to 5 emails, post once on Instagram, work on the script for the next presentation.

Good for brain:  watch the next module for the interior design course online, listen to a guided meditation, spend 15 minutes on a cross-stitch project.

Good for home:  empty the dishwasher, order new fabric to re-cover chairs, write a sweet card for husband to find later.

These actions fuel different parts of my life, so I wrote them each out on a post-it note and placed it on my desk. When I feel frozen about what to do next, I pick one of these categories and do one thing from my list (or something that has come up that is the same category), and then I place a checkmark on the post-it note.  The next time, I pick a different post-it with fewer check marks on it and do something from that category.  This helps balance out how I spend my time, especially when my attention is scattered.

What do you do to manage your focus and energy when you know something stressful is on the way?

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