There is a way to keep your busy schedule from getting you down. There is a way to ward off the headache, exhaustion and overload of busy.
If you could stay organized—in a clean home, with a clear head—during the busy times, life won’t feel like a rickety roller coaster ride. Instead, it’ll be more like a smooth cruise along the scenic route.
But how do you organize head and home enough to turn busy into easy?
For starters, you might want to adjust a few things in your day-to-day routine. Nothing too drastic, these 7 habits will help you begin to organize your busy life.
Habit 1: Open The Day With Intention
Clear Head: Ready and open the mind to receive and respond to how the day unfolds. Not in a reactive way, but in a mindful way. The habit of setting an intention primes us to do so. Intention sets the pace of the day because you choose how you want the entire experience to look and feel. Then, you get to show up and meet it in exactly the same way.
Clear Home: Make your bed every morning. It’s an easy way to reset the body and wake up. The act itself turns off the sleepy brain and alerts the waking brain to get to work. Plus, the room just looks tidier and welcoming with the bed made!
Habit 2: Catch & Release Your Clutter
Clear Head: When you’re mindful to the thoughts you think on a regular basis, you’re able to catch a thought that zaps your energy or kills your mood and release it. You can then replace that headtrash with a more uplifting, empowering thought. Don’t let that clutter stick around.
Clear Home: Create a few spaces in your home that are catchalls for pajamas, accessories, wallets, phones, papers to review, etc.—things you use on a daily basis that don’t have to be “put away” until the weekend, for example. Small areas, shelves, or countertops that allow for tidy and temporary storage for those times they’re in use.
Habit 3: Create Clear Communication
Clear Head: Consider what happens with a breakdown in communication; fights, break-ups, divorce, war. Each of which takes time away from other, more productive things. When we’re open and honest about how we feel and what we’re thinking, people will be more likely to do the same in return—which sets the stage for understanding and compassion.
Clear Home: Something I learned from my friend and home organizer, Ellen C. Lee, have a “Command Center” in your home where all the important papers, announcements and dates go so the whole household is on the same page. Unspoken expectations cause drama where there doesn’t have to be. Let this designated space be a place to gather and hold quick family meetings if you really want to get a gold star for communication.
Habit 4: Fuel Your Body
Clear Head: Hydrate! We talked about this in the Declutter Code, one of the most important ways to fuel your body is with water. We need to hydrate our bodies and minds with water. The rule of thumb is: drink 1/2 our body weight in ounces of water. This will help us stay lucid and clear-headed (which is not the case when we’re dehydrated).
Clear Home: Create a spot in your fridge and kitchen for meal prep and meal storage so you can grab-and-go on busy days. Knowing you have healthy options will keep you from munching on fattening and sugary foods out of desperation. I like to eat something healthy before I even touch something unhealthy because I usually lose my craving for crap after I eat something healthy. When you have healthy options, you curb your tendency to reach for junk food.
Habit 5: Know What Matters
Clear Head: When you know what matters, you can say no to what doesn’t. You can fill your calendar with things that bring you to life, excite you, challenge you, and make life a joy to live. No longer busying yourself out of obligation, guilt, or ignorance. You can begin to turn off the distractions and act on what’s important.
Clear Home: A clear head leads to a clear calendar, categorized according to priorities, spaced out adequately in time blocks. Sound like a dream? It’s possible. When you start using your calendar as a life map, rather than a death sentence, you can let what you love live in those squares. You can let what you love fill your days. Take it one day at time, removing what doesn’t matter, and watch the free time increase.
Habit 6: Manage Stress & Schedule
Clear Head: Thinking about what you’re not doing or wishing you were doing something else takes just as much energy as doing the thing. Plus, when you’re doing one thing, wishing you were doing something else, that’s stressful! But that’s how most people spend their day, disengaged and disconnected. If you hate doing it, stop doing it. Can you put more energy toward doing what you love? Every small step counts.
Clear Home: We manage stress by first managing our schedules. Blindly filling our to-do lists without being present to why we’re doing any of it, leads to monotony and misery. How are you spending your time? What’s got you so busy? Cut back on the not-so-important stuff by delegating it or erasing it, so you leave room to de-stress (see habit #5).
Habit 7: Close The Day With Reflection
Clear Head: Take quiet time at the end of the day to reflect on what happened in the day—unfavorable or favorable, exciting or scary. What did you learn about yourself? About your encounters? About your activities? Reflection breeds mindfulness because we’re more mindful to what is happening as it’s happening, making it easier to recall, recollect and release later.
Clear Home: The day is over and it’s time for bed. But before you hit the sack, turn off the TV (no TV in the bedroom!), and get comfortable. Let your body and mind get ready to rest. Let the household settle down. Sit with yourself for a few minutes and be present with the silence, your thoughts, your highs, lows, successes and failures of the day. Now you can sleep soundly knowing tomorrow is a fresh start.
Print the 7 Habits infographic here and have these handy everyday.