How to Call a “Timeout” During Your Day

time-out-logoHave you ever been in the middle of such a chaotic day that you wanted to call a “timeout”?

Sometimes, life gets so complicated; we have plates spinning, irons in the fire, and our day is a runaway train we are trying desperately to catch up with. Many times I will find myself in the middle of a hectic, busy, crazy day and I feel like I have no time to even consider organization, goals, or routines. It’s especially on these days that we must take a moment to regain control.

Your mental health and productivity is at stake here. We are completely ineffective if we are running around, putting out fires, and getting majorly stressed. Taking a little time to call “timeout” and gain control can make all the difference in the world.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Get out of dodge. This will take an hour, and yes…you must make the time.  Find a place of solitude immediately.  If you must, go ahead and schedule the break on your calendar. If you are convinced you cannot find the time, get up earlier or leave work a bit early. Are you sure you can’t afford to make the time?  You sure as heck cannot afford to burn out…
  2. Write it down. If you have a systematic to-do list already, good for you.  If not, now is the time to make one.  Gather all your papers into one inbox (including post-it notes, phone messages, etc.) and process them, listing the tasks you need to do on your list or lists a la GTD.  Writing everything down is a huge first step.
  3. Map out your week.  You need some sort of regular schedule in order to get things under control. Schedule your regular tasks in blocks of time: email, calls, meetings, processing your inbox, planning time, writing, etc. Make some time first thing in the morning to map all of this out, hour by hour, on paper. This little bit of time you take to plan can make all the difference!
  4. One thing at a time. Are you a multi-tasker?  I know that I am.  Juggling a million things at a time will slowly make you crazy. Most likely you are not even being productive, so focus on one thing at a time.
  5. Limit email, voicemail, and texting. This is a huge step in order to claim your life back. Let others know when they can call you, or how often they can expect to receive responses to your emails. Check your email at a set time(s); no more than 4 times a day.  Let calls go to voicemail. You will lose your entire day if you are married to email. Be clear and upfront with others about your availability and the times when you cannot be disturbed. People will respect your time…trust me.
  6. Take time to reflect. Set aside a time at the end of the day to review what you’ve done, check off your to-do lists, update the lists with new items, put stuff back where it belongs, clear off your desk, and plan for tomorrow.
  7. Create routines. Routines are the best way to feel in control of your life. A morning routine and an evening routine are important to have at home.  Creating the habit will leave you feeling a lot less stressed.

Some carnivals I was featured in this past week:

Carn. of Financial Camaraderie at Thirty Six Months
Carnival of Financial Planning at The Savvy Scot
Yakezie Carnival at Financially Digital
Carnival of MoneyPros at Nickel by Nickel

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