Here’s a typical day in my life.
7:15 am - I drink my coffee while getting dressed. While digging through the dryer for clean pants, I notice we're out of laundry detergent and mentally add it to the grocery list in my head.
7:30 am - I leave for work. While climbing into the car, I remember that the dog needs her medicine.
7:35 am - I give the dog her medicine and make a mental note to book an appointment for her with the groomer.
7:40 am - I go to work. A commercial for a hair salon comes on the radio and it reminds me that I have a color appointment set up for this week. I make a mental note to call them to find out when it is.
8:30 am - I arrive at work. On the way to my desk a colleague stops to chat. He invites me and my family over for dinner on Thursday evening. Since I can’t remember if we have plans on Thursday, I smile and tell him I need to check with my husband and will get back to him later today.
Whew! I’m going to stop there. I just got to work and I’m already exhausted. This example of a typical hour and a half of my morning clearly shows how much we tend to juggle in our heads.
This can be a huge source of stress for a lot of people, not to mention the cause of missed appointments and disappointed friends and family.
Well, I'm proud to report that I’ve found a way to fix this problem.
The key was to get it out of my head and put it down on paper. Or in my case, on my phone. It took a little while to make this a habit but now that it is, I sleep so much better at night.
Here’s How it Works
- The instant that a thought like, “I need to buy shampoo,” pops into my head, I tell Google Assistant to add shampoo to my grocery list. This would work for Siri or Cortana too. If you prefer to use a calendar or agenda book, write it down right away.
- When a task gets added to your life, like giving medicine to your pet, book time for that in your calendar immediately. Do it as soon as you get back to your car after leaving the vet’s office.
- Add appointments to your calendar as soon as you make them. Include the phone number and address of the appointment and note any items you must bring with you as a note in the calendar entry.
- If you think about a friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while, book a time in your calendar to contact them.
- Check your calendar (and lists) first thing each morning, at mid-day and again in the evening. If you notice there is something you were supposed to do and you didn’t have time or didn’t feel like doing it, like calling your friend, move it to another day in your calendar.
See, the stress you feel when you think about how much you have on your plate, is really caused by having to remember everything. Making a plan right away for things you would otherwise have to remember, allows you to get it out of your head. You’ll be amazed at how relaxed you feel once this becomes habit.
The trick is to always have your schedule handy. You can use your phone or if you are someone who prefers to write things out, use a planner.