It’s hard to maintain regular life routines during your busiest weeks. Whether you work at home or in an office, everyday tasks fall off your to-do list, stress creeps in, and you likely aren’t getting as much sleep as usual. That’s why it’s important to find balance during these times, whether you journal for a few minutes before bed or hire a dog walker for the week. Here are a few simple ideas to help you create balance in your life without leaving any work tasks unfinished.
Give Yourself a Reason to Leave Work
It’s easy to work late when you have nothing to do in the evening. Instead of falling into the trap of working until midnight, give yourself something to do by making plans ahead of time. If you know you have a pottery class at 7pm, and you already paid and signed up, you’ll leave earlier. You’ll also be forced to make time for you, which is critical during busy weeks.
Here are a few great reasons to leave work at a reasonable time:
- Taking a class (cooking, fitness, dancing, etc.)
- Getting a massage
- Having dinner with friends
- Going on a date
Involve someone else wherever possible to keep you accountable. If your plan is to do yoga at home, you’re more likely to bail because no one else is counting on you to follow through.
Delegate in Your Personal Life
You may be used to delegating tasks at work, but what about in your personal life? During your busiest weeks, you may need to take some tasks off your plate at home so you can get through the extra work you’re dealing with in the office. Here are a few simple ways to take simple tasks off your plate for the week.
Use Wash and fold laundry service: Did you know that it takes 100 minutes to do one load of laundry? That time may not be available if you’re stuck at the office or in front of your computer. Instead of re-wearing dirty clothes or buying new ones, use a wash and fold laundry service. Most now offer same-day cleaning and will text when they’re done so you don’t have to worry about checking in. You may also be able to take advantage of corporate dry cleaning, if it’s available through your company.
Outsource tasks to a virtual personal assistant: Online services like Fancy Hands now make it easier than ever to outsource random tasks as needed. A personal assistant service may sound excessive, but you can use them for simple tasks like calling the post office or picking up your dinner. See Fancy Hands’ most common requests and don’t forget about other services like Taskrabbit, which provides similar help.
Hire a dog walker: Rover found that one of the most common reasons for missing dog walks is a “busy day at work,” yet 79 percent of dog owners feel their dog should be walked twice a day. On your busiest weeks, this may be you. Don’t let your pooch suffer. Instead use a dog walking app, or a local service, to keep your dogs moving when you can’t be there to do it yourself.
Leave for Lunch
Lunch is an easy excuse to step away from work for 30 to 60 minutes. If you don’t have extra time in the morning or at night, this mid-day break can be exactly what you need to decompress. If you’re doing a lot of individual work, set up a few lunch dates with friends so you can socialize, taking your mind off work and allowing you to enjoy interaction with others between solo working sessions. Be sure to set a specific time, and even add it to your calendar, so you’re less likely to cancel.
Take 3 Deep Breaths
When we’re stressed, we start to take fast, shallow breaths—and this only feeds the stress. The American College of Cardiology explains: “Being anxious tightens the muscles that help you breathe, and this makes you start to breathe faster. As you get more anxious, your breathing muscles get tired. This causes even more shortness of breath and more anxiety.”
During busy weeks, take time to tune into your breathing throughout the work day. Notice if your breathing feels shallow and fast. If so, take three deep breaths. “Deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes a state of calmness,” explain experts at the American Institute of Stress .
To make sure you’re taking deep enough breaths, put your hand on your belly. Feel the rise and fall and focus on you breath as you slowly breathe in and back out again.
Journal Your Gratitude at Night
It’s easy to get caught up in the stress of work and forget about the many reasons you have to be grateful. Journaling for just a few minutes at night, even if you only list three small things you’re grateful for, can help ground and center you before another long day at work.
Not only does this help you find balance during busy weeks, but journaling about your gratitude has also been shown to improve alertness, determination, attentiveness, enthusiasm and energy, according to Yale . All of these will help you navigate your busiest weeks more successfully.
To make it easy, keep a journal by your bed or use a mobile app if that’s easier. Build it into your routine for the week and dedicate whatever amount of time you have, whether that’s 3 minutes or 30 minutes.
Find Balance During Busy Weeks
Don’t let a busy week throw your whole life out of whack. Instead, use these simple tips and ideas to create balance in your life, without letting important work tasks go undone. You’ll feel productive and successful while managing stress and taking care of the important tasks in your personal life.
BIO: Jessica Thiefels has been writing for more than 10 years and is currently a full-time writer and business owner. She loves supporting and connecting with other powerful women whenever she can, whether she’s networking or writing. She’s been featured in Forbes and Business Insider and has written for Reader’s Digest, Lifehack, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @Jlsander07 and connect LinkedIn .