I’m one of those people who is busy all the time. No, no I don’t mean one of those really annoying people who will go on about how busy they are over social media. I’m actually someone who does many different things in a day with a job and life that is forever changing. I manage to keep myself together most of the time. Sometimes I’m even mildly impressed with how I balance my life out. I mean there are have been several breakdowns, psychologist visits and weeks on end of Gilmore Girls reruns but you know what? I think I’ve worked out how to be busy whilst still maintaining a semblance of sanity, fun and meaning in my life.
I don’t agree with being busy for the sake of being busy with no meaningful end. I don’t understand people who are busy all the time with work they hate because they are in debt trying to live a life that society tells them to. Cars, houses, possessions, countless bills… you know, that kind of thing. I don’t agree with being put in a box and doing what you think is expected of you because seriously, what’s the point? Why do things that aren’t making you happy or fulfilled? We are the ones living these moments in our lives, not those other people whose expectations you feel you need to meet. Ok, rant ended.
Let’s look at a few well thought out (lol), practical and realistic ways you can stay productive, be happy while being busy and actually have some meaning in your life.
Don’t do shit you don’t want to do.
I feel like I talk about this a lot. If you read most of my posts you are probably sensing a theme here. Guys, please stop doing shit you hate doing. Worse than that, stop making excuses and come to terms with the fact that you are the one who needs to change what’s going on in your life. For example, you hate your job but tell everyone you have to stay. Why do you have to stay? To maintain the lavish, unnecessary lifestyle you have created. Here’s a thought, how can you even enjoy your lavish expensive lifestyle if you spend more hours a day at the job you hate? Ok, sure, you have weekends but what exactly are you even doing on these weekends. Drinking, partying, seeing friends? Are you fulfilled? Are you happy? Do you feel like you are doing something meaningful? I’m going to guess not. Quit your crap job, get a job you like, cut down on expensive pointless materialistic crap and give your life some meaning.
Guess what, if you actually enjoy your job you will be a happy human. If you are a happy human you will be a productive human. You will take up that hobby you’ve been harbouring secret desires for or read that book you’ve been dying to read. You’ll exercise and eat healthy because you are happy and you love yourself.
Write lists, it’s a basic skill so just do it.
Ok, so you have a lot going on and you’re thinking of hanging up the towel and calling it a day coz there ain’t no way you can do it all! Wrong, I believe in you, you can do it. You just need a priority list. Trust me, I work and study from home before heading to my afternoon dance teaching job. Procrastination and I are best frenemies, I know these things. Get a pretty notebook or some scrap paper whatever is going to make you feel good really. Write down everything you need to or think you need to do that day.
Here’s an example of a day I might have:
- Listen to uni lecture
- wash dishes
- do laundry
- read one uni reading
- look at scripts for shows/class/rehearsals
- rehearse song for audition
- call Telstra
- lesson plan for teaching
- social media work
- write a blog post
Like that shit can all be prioritised and I can seriously multitask the hell out of it all. If I let all these things run through my brain like a steam train with no breaks I go nuts and end up panicking. Seeing it all laid out like this makes it clear. Duh – I can listen to my uni lecture while washing the dishes. Then I can rehearse my scripts or songs while cooking. I can force myself to read my uni crap for 30 minutes and then reward myself with a relaxation break and so forth, so forth.
I won’t lie to you, it is hard to be disciplined and sometimes my daily tasks look like this and I only get one thing done. I’m human, these things happen. My advice? Be kind to yourself, do what you can and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
Stay on task and don’t get distracted.
Oh, woe is me. I am the distraction QUEEN! I get so distracted. My brain runs on overdrive and my capacity to think quickly is abnormal so of course, it means I get easily distracted. Any time my brain can just chill out and go into zombie mode I really, really take advantage of that. For example, I will allow myself a 30-minute break that turns into 75 minutes which then makes me fall behind my schedule and am late for everything else.
Another wonderful thing I do is I settle down to start one task and then all of a sudden think of 3 other things I need to do and start doing them instead. It’s terrible but I have figured out ways to keep myself focused. One thing I do is keep a notebook near me so when I get a distracted thought I write it down. These thoughts turn into to do lists or ideas lists and I make sure I date them so I can look back through them in case of accidental brilliance and genius. It also removes the distracting thought from my mind and I feel as if I have done something productive by writing it out.
If I know I’m settling in for a long haul of reading, writing or study I make sure I’m fully equipped with all necessary supplies. I’ll have my tea (or coffee), snacks, water and such all right in front of me so I have no excuse to get up for the next 30-60 minutes thus avoiding potential distraction.
Also, basic distraction banishment 101 – put your phone on silent in another room. Just do it, you have no self-control you will not be able to have it next to you. Just put it somewhere out of sight and out of earshot!
There you have it!
My ‘tips’ for staying on task. Sometimes they work and sometimes I’m just losing my shit. It’s at those times when I strongly suggest you take a long break and refocus your energies.
What do you do to stay focused and on task? Let me know in the comments.