Yes, we know that sometimes if we don’t do a job ourselves, it just won’t get done – but we all have our limits. You could be stretching yourself too thin by doing everything yourself.
Take a look at the following statements and see if any of them sound familiar.
- I’m always busy, but I don’t seem to achieve anything.
- Sometimes I just don’t know where to start.
- I’m always exhausted by the end of the day.
- I find it very difficult to say no when someone asks me to do them a favour.
- No one ever offers to help me with anything.
- I feel like my life is slipping away.
If you agree with any of the above, chances are that you’re biting off more than you can chew. It’s good to be busy, but when it leads to feeling stressed or out of control, you need to take a step back and see how you can manage your time more effectively. Our guide will help you get started.
3 ideas to help manage your money
- Can’t cut up your credit cards? Then freeze them in a saucer of water – it’ll be such pain to thaw them out, you’ll think twice about going on a spending spree.
- Always make a list before you go to the supermarket, then stick to the aisles where the items you want are. You’ll save money by only buying the items you need.
- Don’t spend R5 coins – keep them in a money box and save for a rainy day. You’ll be amazed how quickly they can add up.
How to get rid of what you don’t need
We make our lives so complicated by surrounding ourselves with things – and people – we don’t need. When things are making you miserable, de-clutter!
- Don’t procrastinate: If you leave the mess to grow and multiply, you’ll either get used to it or feel powerless to throw it out. If it’s your home that’s in need of a good clear out, free up a weekend and get stuck in. Plan a treat – maybe a visit to a nice restaurant – for when you’ve finished the task.
- Start small: If the job seems too overwhelming, you’ll never tackle it. Make a start by clearing out any old magazines, sorting out your underwear drawer or bathroom shelf. Gradually work your way up to bigger tasks.
- Be ruthless: We use only 20% of our possessions 80% of the time – the rest of it is clutter. If you’re unsure about whether to keep something or not, create a ‘holding box’ with a time limit – if you haven’t used or thought about what’s in it during that time, chuck it out.
- De-clutter your life: Start throwing out everything that causes you any unnecessary stress. Friends, jobs and obligations should be party to the same rules as any other harmful clutter – if something is making you unhappy, get rid of it.
One quick fix you can plan right now
You might think modern technology has made our lives easier, but it can also sap our energy. Mobile phones mean there’s little escape from stressful people or situations, while email and the internet often distract us from the things we ought to be doing. And while watching television might seem relaxing, spending hours in front of the box in the evening can actually lower our energy levels and make us feel depressed. So, declare tomorrow ‘technology-free’ day and switch it all off.
3 suggestions to find more ‘me’ time
With everything we have to do and think about, it’s not surprising that we often forget to fit in things that we really enjoy doing.
- Get up earlier: This might sound hellish (especially if you like a lie-in), but an extra hour in the morning – free of kids, noise and chores – can be one of the most relaxing ways to start the day. Read a mag, have a proper breakfast, watch the sunrise… just make sure you get to bed earlier the night before.
- Take a walk in your lunch hour: You spend all day with your colleagues, so you’re not going to miss out by spending an hour on your own every once in a while. Find a new place to eat your sandwich, clear your head, listen to your iPod and start the afternoon with renewed vigour.
- Make a date with yourself: Before you stand by and watch your diary fill up with school stuff, work assignments, husband and friends, pencil in an evening in the near future and save it just for yourself. You could go to the cinema on your own, have a beauty treatment, or just relax in your bedroom, making sure you leave strict instructions not to be disturbed.
6 tips to claim back your life
- Just say no: The more you take on, the more people will ask you to do something else. It’s perfectly acceptable to refuse.
- Be clear on your priorities: Make a list of what’s important to you (in order of importance), then start from the top and work your way down. You’ll be surprised how little it matters if you don’t get to the bottom of the list.
- Write it down: An overly busy schedule looks ridiculous on paper. And it’s very satisfying to scribble out unimportant tasks.
- Stay organised: You’ll save yourself some time and keep stress at bay by maintaining your obligations on a regular basis, rather than having to fulfill them in a rush.
- Ask for help: People won’t offer to lend a hand unless you ask them.
- Know your limits: Only you know how much you can cope with. If you feel yourself getting stressed, stop, take a deep breath and step back from the situation.
A learn-to-let-go method
Next time something is worrying you, ask yourself:
- Is it really that important?
- Can I do anything about it?
- What’s the worst that can happen?
Just thinking through your anxieties in a calm, objective way will help the situation seem less stressful. And nine times out of 10, it will stop you worrying about it altogether.
Three relaxing tricks you swear by
Finding a way to relax will help you to make your life more enjoyable.
- ‘When my two-year-old is driving me mad, I stick him on the back of my bike and go wherever the mood takes me. The exercise and sense of freedom relaxes me, and he enjoys the ride!’ – Jo Campbell, 29
- ‘When I’m feeling out of control, I play my dad’s favourite Neil Diamond CD at top volume and sing along. Not only does it remind me of when I was little, but the effort of singing so loudly and dancing around the room makes me forget whatever I was worrying about!’ – Sam Bridger, 34
- ‘I bake cakes to chill out! I hate cooking, but I’ve found that baking is therapeutic. The satisfaction of making something makes me happy – and I always love the finished product!’ – Caroline Whitworth, 44
A fun way to be spontaneous! Routine is great for staying organised, but it’s healthy to break out once in a while.
‘I was so bored with my daily routine – up at 7am, breakfast, school run, work, dinner, bed – that I asked my husband to look after the kids, and I booked a few days off work. I went to a spa for a bit of pampering. It gave me time to relax and think how I could change my life to make it more exciting.’ – Heather Scott, 41