The Minutes-A-Day Way to Keep Cool Under Pressure

There’s always a point during the week where we feel caught in the middle of everything: work, a social life, and chores all seem to funnel into one day. 12–18 hours is not enough time, especially for someone who notoriously wants to do it all. This can be extremely stressful.

Personally, I often feel phantom guilt for not stretching myself thinly enough. “Phantom” because I have no idea why I feel guilty. If I can’t make it, then I can’t make it—isn’t that simple?

No, it’s not simple. Sometimes, you HAVE to make it. Sometimes, you have to plan everything in one day.

Here’s the best way I’ve found to deal:

#1 Keep a Detailed Planner (10 minutes/week)

I have a weekly planner. On the left, the days (Mon.–Sun.) are shown. On the right, there’s a full page for notes. I keep the essential details on the left side, i.e.  places, times, and people whereas on the left I keep detailed checklists for “Home,” “Career,” “Blog,” “School,” “Health,” and “Social.” Each checklist ends up with at least three to six tasks per week. Broken down, I can prioritize tasks based on their list and keep from making one, super-long-list of stress. Additionally, I can easily check the specifics of each meeting or engagement by looking to the left, saving me a ton of time.

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#2 Keep Exercising Even When You’re Busy (20 mins 3x’s/week)

I admit it—sometimes I automatically write off exercise as a priority. Every time I do, I risk making a bad habit of continually skipping workouts because I’m “still too busy.” Here’s the thing: everyone has AT LEAST 10–20 minutes to run, do push-ups, practice yoga or take a bike ride.

Exercise doesn’t have to mean “go to the gym and sweat for three hours to make it worthwhile.” Exercise is an excuse to get outside, step away from your work, and clear your head.

You can even incorporate exercise into your social engagements. Go berry-picking or for a walk in the local park. Doesn’t that sound nice? Yes, it does. In fact, I just inspired myself to go for a jog. Look at that.

#3 If You Have to Choose, Choose Wisely (0 mins)

This applies to all factions of life.

Don’t keep putting off “that one thing” because you’d rather have fun. Albeit a doctor’s appointment, essay with a deadline slowly approaching, or an overwhelming task you can’t quite conceive, you need to decide if these are worth passing up for whatever else you’re wanting to do. Besides, they’ll stay in the back of your mind until you check them off. Think about the long-term pros and cons.

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#4 Make Time for You (5–10 mins/day)

I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but I’m reiterating it: you must always find time for yourself. Read a book, close your eyes, take a nap, go sit in the park or even stare at a wall. Give your mind a break. Still don’t think you need to? Let me put it into workaholic terms: we all know the pinwheel of death (Mac) or the hourglass of despair (PC)—either the computer will shut everything down and lose your work, or push through the commands, which is not good for the hard-drive.

Think about your mental breakdowns or moments of extreme stress as similar instances. The pinwheel and hourglass only appear when the computer is asked to do too much at the same time. When we try to do too much, stretch ourselves too thinly, we ether end up doing less of a great job than capable or exhaust ourselves into a stress-vortex.

Fortunately, unlike the computer, we can take a step back before self-destruction happens and refresh ourselves in the middle of a process. Take advantage of your human qualities, let yourself process.

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That’s about it! It will only take an average of 20 mins/day to change your life, to keep calm under the pressure of the world.

It’s easier than you think to follow these steps.

Right now, make a vow to yourself you will try at least two of these things before the end of the week. You will see a difference in your attitude almost immediately.

Cheers, friends!

Have any other tips? I’d LOVE to hear them! Comment below or submit through the Illustrated Interviews tab. 🙂


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