“Something precious is lost if we rush headlong into the details of life without pausing for a moment to pay homage to the mystery of life and the gift of another day.” (KENT NERBURN)
Life as we know it has changed. Our priorities, our routines, and the activities or events we are involved in are not the same as they were last year. Nonetheless, we have the choice as to how we meet each morning, with a smile and positive energy or not. Sometimes, I just need to pause and be aware of the sights, sounds, and smells around me, as they can be the catalyst I need to savor the blessings that I have. Everything I read about how to cope with the challenges of these times talks about using gratitude as a tool to guide my mindset. An email that came through this week talked about surrounding ourselves with people who were inspired, excited, and grateful. I hope that we can each find individuals who may play that role in our lives. In turn, I’m suspecting that my outlook will change as well.
This reminds me to practice mindfulness, to enjoy the present and absorb the sights and sounds around me. Another life balance is to remember is how I use my time. This means that I learn and practice techniques that help make time for the things that are really important to me and efficiently get the tasks done so that I can relax and enjoy the present, without guilt or resentment. Following are some suggestions that have been helpful to me - I hope some may be helpful to you as well.
Sleep is essential to be effective, so remember giving up sleep may not be the best way to increase productivity. Our bodies and minds need time to reorganize and rejuvenate, so I make getting 7-8 hours of sleep a priority to operate at my prime and reduce my overall stress levels.
Most of us have “to-do” lists, and while they serve as a reminder of looming deadlines, they may not take into account what is really important to me. My priorities may change if I plan to have a top three or four things to accomplish for the day. I try to break down the larger items into smaller tasks and set deadlines so that I can sense fulfillment when I “check it off the list”. At the end of the day, identify another top three or four tasks that can be tackled the next day from your big list. This helps to create focus and motivation.
Know yourself and your key worktime. I know for me, mornings are the best for writing, creating, and thinking through issues. Afternoons are for those items on the list that are routine, and evenings, well let’s just say I turn into a pumpkin early. What time is best for you to work on the top three or four?
Be aware of how much time is spent with technology and social media. The more time spent on line with non-work related topics, the more difficult it may be to get to the tasks at hand. Try limiting so much time to this and reward yourself in other ways like family activity or reading a book. Also remember that some research indicated that prolonged usage of Facebook can negatively impact one’s self esteem, and then getting things done seems much harder. The suggestion is to allow yourself 10 minutes then turn your attention to the things that really matter.
Another technique suggested is to be more organized, “a place for everything and everything in its place”. This will forever be a technique I struggle with, but I love the feeling when it’s practiced. What can you do to identify areas to organize that will make life easier? What can you do to help family members work on this area so that a life skill will be in place for their future work habits? Get rid of clutter and develop a system that works for you.
While this list could continue, I hope that it’s a gentle reminder that life is precious; it’s a gift for the day. There will always be things to do, tasks to accomplish and obligations to meet. May we all learn and practice techniques to live productive lives, but also enjoy the blessings of the journey.
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.
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