Does this conversation sound familiar?
“How are you?”
“How’s your day going?”
Sometimes that does feel like reality, but how true is it really that a day in itself is crazy? Let’s take a closer look.
We have had days in which we sleep late, the car malfunctions, and the traffic is a hot mess. At some point in a day like this, many people feel frustrated and want to just go home and start over the next day. It makes sense to feel overwhelmed as you try to get to work and engage in daily tasks then challenges occur that derail the best-laid plans.
What if you had a different perspective on these challenges? Sometimes we put ourselves into situations that create chaos. Failure to set boundaries, overbooking, or overcommitment to other people and activities sets us up for feeling out of control. The good news is that you have the ability to take control of your schedule and set priorities!
Many times it’s a failure to set boundaries with people that cause you to be late or fall into disorganization. If you are meeting someone for an appointment and you get a phone call, what do you do? If you choose to answer it and fail to say, “Hey I’m running out the door, I’ll call you in a couple of hours”. What happens? You’re late. You rush through traffic, get frustrated at traffic lights and with other drivers. You reach your destination stressed, and you say to the person you’ve kept waiting, “Traffic was horrible, my day is crazy already!”
There is no evil intent in this scenario, but a person creates stress for herself by failing to organize and set limits and boundaries with herself and others.
Other times, overcommitment to activities leads us to feel stressed and anxious. In my practice, I have seen this particularly with mothers of school-age children. Signing up to chair the auction, teach religion classes, and homeroom or athletic duties can lead a mom to feel like she has not had time to care for her family or make a nutritious dinner. Guilt, anxiety, and self-doubt occur as a result.
The good news is that you can take effective steps to manage your life and schedule!
-Before volunteering, pause and ask yourself-and others-what this will entail and how much time will be required. Balance this with your other responsibilities and your values.
-Set boundaries with yourself and others. Say “no” when you want to say no. It is not another person’s responsibility to set boundaries for you.
-Set timers if needed to alert you when you need to leave the house or appointments.
-Allow yourself some wriggle room. If you’re driving somewhere and your phone says it will take 20 minutes to arrive, it makes sense to allow extra time for parking or traffic issues such as lane closures and construction.
If your phone rings, guess what? You don’t have to answer. Let it go to voice mail. Seriously!
Same with texts. It is not critical to respond to every text you receive immediately.
In today’s world, many of us feel self-imposed pressure to respond to every text, tweet, or social media post immediately. That’s understandable, but think about what’s behind that. Where’s that pressure coming from? What’s the worst thing that can happen if you don’t post or answer a text immediately?
-If you are running late, it shows consideration and respect to contact that person and let them know your ETA. They may be on a tight schedule and choose not to wait. Allow them to make that decision and be kind about it. They are setting their boundaries!
If you find that you are having difficulty setting boundaries and keeping on track with scheduling, it is possible that working with a coach will help you to understand what is behind this. You may be surprised to learn what is behind disorganization and failure to set boundaries. There are many techniques that may help you find peace and a less stressful style of living. You may find that you will actually become more productive and happy—as will the people in your life.
Let’s work on that together!