There is so much going on. Projects at work piling up, laundry at home overflowing, dishes need to be washed, food needs to be cooked, e-mails need answering, the phones are ringing (cell, home, and office). Then there are the relationships. How to handle the boss/clients/co-workers, much less the significant others/children/family/friends who are all vying for your attention?
At times it can all seem like too much. As we seek to minimize the conflict, it is important to remember to both get things done and to maintain relationships within ourselves and with others. For individuals, it is important to engage in two behaviors: reflection and planning.
Reflection occurs when we allow ourselves time to just sit back and think about everything that is going on and to strategize how to deal with it. How many times do we just get up and hit the ground running? In our rush to check things off our list, how many of us take the time to consider all the possible tactics we could use and to weigh the consequences of each? Sometimes it is important to actually schedule thinking time.
Do you have a time slot on your calendar just for thinking? I would venture to say that most of us do not. A simple trick for this is to use your daily commute as a designated thinking time. Instead of listening to the radio, MP3 player, or books on tape, why not spend the first or last day of the work week driving in silence? You will have time to plan ahead or think back and come up with effective techniques to manage all the situations you are facing in life.
Planning refers to simply taking time to coordinate all your efforts, especially the logistics. What is the best route to take when running errands to minimize time and effort? Could you purchase your food for the week in one trip to the grocery store? What if you scheduled a set time to check your e-mails instead of stopping your work to read each one that comes in individually? Effective planning allows you to be more proactive about allocating your time and setting your own parameters instead of reacting as things happen. We often need to adjust plans as unexpected events occur, but it is easier to switch to a plan B when you have a plan in the first place.