Tyler and I are in a really busy season right now and by busy, I mean "work focused." We're both just working a lot, ha! Our biggest goal right now is to pay off our student loans. If you googled, "average student loan debt," you might come up with a number that looks like this, $37,172. When I reference student loan debt I feel like most people think of a number like that. We've even had people ask us why we're so persistent in paying off our student loan debt. One of the biggest reasons why we're so persistent is because our number does not look like that. Our number looks more like three times that. The second reason we're so persistent is because we don't want to live tied to our student loans. The faster we get our of debt the better.
Getting out of debt has been the motivating factor behind our decisions, which is what has taught us discipline, time management, and balance. When we're in busy seasons it's easy to let overwhelm creep in. I'm going to share how we use time management and balance to reduce overwhelm.
THE MENTAL GAME
One thing that has been a game changer for me has been learning that overwhelm is a mental game. There have been times in my life when I have been crazy overwhelmed. Often times I get overwhelmed when I'm trying to do too many things at once... when I'm trying to think of every single thing I need to accomplish. Here's the tough part, it's our choice. We decide how much we take on, when we take it on and how we allow it to dictate our lives. There are definitely times in our lives where crazy life changing things are happening and things get overwhelming. But at the end of the day we are still making choices. When crazy life changing things are happening we can decide to say no to certain things, to say yes to certain things or change things to create less overwhelm. How we disciple our minds will help us over come overwhelm.
Time blocking means we're creating time blocks for specifics tasks we want to accomplish. I used to time block all the time but I struggled because I kept feeling overwhelmed. The reason I was overwhelmed was because even though I was time blocking I was thinking about what I needed to do next instead of focusing on what I was currently working on. I was trying to mentally do to many things at once.
These days I time block everything. Time blocking allows me to tackle lots of different objectives for lots of different goals. I block time to write posts, I block time to do photo shoots, I block time to work on social media, I block time for my to do list. I block time for everything and during those blocked times I don't work on or think about anything else. If you struggle with always thinking about your next task, time blocking might be a great exercise. When I'm working during my time blocks if I feel my mind wondering or getting distracted I verbally tell myself to focus, ha! It totally helps.
Multi-tasking goes along with time blocking. When you're working in your time blocks you're not multi-tasking, you're focused on one specific thing. Multi-tasking splits your focus and can cause overwhelm. I used to think multi-tasking was helping me to get more done, but it was just making me overwhelmed, ha! :)
Tyler and I never skip on sleep. I know that if I'm not getting enough sleep then I just don't function that well and my mind won't function well either. It's easy to get overwhelmed when a lot is happening which can cause us to want to stay up a few extra hours. But those things we're trying to accomplish, they will be there tomorrow. ;)
I was reading Entrepreneur a few months ago and they had interviewed a handful of entrepreneurs and how they are able to get so much done. One entrepreneur said he had spent a whole year writing a book and working 10 to 12 hours straight, no breaks. He then switched things up and added breaks throughout his day. He would write for a few hours in the morning and then go for a run. He would came back and write for a few more hours and then eat lunch. After lunch he would write a little bit more and then take a nap. After he napped he would write a little more and then eat dinner. Guess what? His book was finished in four months.
Our brains need breaks and so do we. Here is why I think the mental game is so important. If we take breaks but are still focused on everything we think we need to get done we will still feel overwhelmed. Take breaks and turn your brain off. ;)
OVOID TIME WASTING ACTIVITIES
Tyler and I don't watch a lot of TV. During the week we rarely have the TV on... ever, ha! If we're having intentional time for just the two of us, like dinner and a movie, then the tv is on, ha! We do our best to ovoid time wasting activities that don't move us in the direction of our goals. Another one for me is social media. I use social media for all things business related, and if I'm not careful I can easily fall into the social media rabbit hole, ha! I time block my social media which helps me stay on track and keeps me from wasting extra time.
Grace, grace, and more grace, right friends? We seem to be our own worst enemies. We grant grace to everyone but ourselves. Do you want to know a secret? I have had moments where I'm so overwhelmed that I emotionally feel like the world is ending. Growing up my mom started asking me, "is the world going to end." I would stop, say no, and it would click. The world isn't going to end if I don't get every single thing done. I don't have to have all the laundry done or the house clean. I simple have to grant myself grace.
In short, we maintain a balanced life and overcome overwhelm by; disciplining our minds, tackling one thing at a time, getting enough sleep, taking breaks, and granting grace. Life keeps us on our toes and will always throw us curve balls, but in the end we all have a choice. A choice to say yes. A choice to say no. A choice to change things up. We can do this friends. :) What are some ways that you balance life and overcome overwhelm? xoxo. Samantha
P.S. I moved "How to create a seamless photo background," to Wednesday. ;)