This week, my appointment schedule has jumped by 500 percent. Seriously, when it's not Medicare and Open Enrollment, I see 3-4 clients per week in person. This week, there are at least three days where I have five appointments.
And yet, this year, I feel a better about my schedule than I have in the past years. So what's keeping me calm? Here are five things I'm doing to keep my schedule from eating me alive.
Use a PlannerIt doesn't matter to me if you use an online or a paper calendar, but realize that you will accomplish more if you plan your day. Thinking that you will keep everything in your head is asking to forget an important deadline If you tempt fate, Murphy will show up at your door.
Personally, I use an Erin Condren planner. I write all my appointments in the weekly pages and use the monthly for my blogging editorial calendar as well as the deadlines for all the neighborhood association committees.
I also have a daily to-do list where I break my tasks down hour-by-hour. I also trying to only check voicemail 2-3 times a day instead of after every appointment.
Go to Bed on TimeIn my opinion this is one of the most important things we can do when we have a busy day ahead. Not only does getting enough sleep improve your brain function, it also helps reduce stress levels. Studies have also shown that we're more likely snack more when we haven't had enough sleep; stress eating is tempting enough as it is.
When my schedule is normal, I need a good seven hours a night. During Open enrollment, I try to go to bed an hour earlier than normal if not more. My mind needs extra time to rest and process so I'll be fresh in the morning. And my body is tested and true; if I don't get enough sleep, I will get sick. Ain't nobody got time for that.
One way that I track my sleep hours and quality of sleep is via my Fitbit Charge HR. The Iphone application or website will allow me to review how long I was in bed, how many times I woke up during the night and what percentage of my sleep was restless. Fitbit makes activity tracking easy and automatic.
Schedule your mealsThis goes right along with getting enough sleep. You HAVE to take care of your body, if you expect it to function well for you when the rubber meets the road. Starving yourself to get that last bit of work done isn't helping you be productive by the end of the day. And the same things going for staying hydrated.
So far, I have refused to schedule appointment during my lunch hour. I used to the be worst about getting busy and forgetting to eat. By the time, I'd get home, I'd be starving and angry, and I would have a splitting headache.
This year, I made sure there was plenty of food in the office. This way I know that I can at least make a sandwich if I don't have time to go home for lunch, but honestly, I'm making a point to leave the office for at least 30 minutes just to reset my brain before the afternoon appointments.
Keep your workout datesExercise reduces stress. Exercise increases brain power. Exercise helps you sleep better. I don't think I need to take this logic too much further.
I fly a desk at the office. And I'll tell you what last week, I missed both my jujitsu classes and my back and hips were killing me by the end of the week. I need that workout to loosen back up and be more relaxed. And all the blood flow helps with creativity so it might help me work through a tricky situation at work.
Indulge a little.Seriously, when life is coming at you from every angle, it's important to allow yourself some time for grace and indulgence or you will feel burned out. Just because things are busy doesn't mean that there shouldn't be time for self-care.
I will be the first to admit that I enjoy a glass of wine, a beer or a cocktail most evenings after a really long day at work, and a lot of chocolate gets consumed. This is the time of year when I buy good chocolate.
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I also make a point to spend more time pampering myself. I spend a little extra time with my makeup in the morning, which gives me a bit more confidence through the day. I'll do my nails more often, take a hot bath or get a massage from the Mister.
What do you do to beat stress when life gets crazy? What is your top trick to stay on top of your schedule?