When all is said and done, all of us have to deal with various daily tasks, duties, and chores regardless of whether we are really in the mood to do them or not.
For parents, in particular, there are always going to be plenty of things that need to get dealt with for the sake of the kids, on a regular basis – and it’s not exactly straightforward to just take some time off when things become a bit too stressful.
But when you’re dealing with your everyday duties, chores, and obligations – whether that means investigating a great home warranty deal, or going grocery shopping – there are always going to be ways of dealing with things that are a bit more stressful, and other ways of dealing with things which are a bit less stressful.
Here are a few tips that might help you to stay on top of your daily tasks in a less stressful way.
Use a habit tracker, and focus primarily on getting each day right, one at a time
A lot of people end up generating tons of excess stress for themselves, by focusing constantly on the future and trying to tackle and embark on a wide range of long-term projects at any given moment.
While it’s obviously important to have a sense of where you want things to go in the future, and of the appointments that you will have coming up, however, it’s often not necessary – or even helpful – to spend too much time obsessing over future events in this way.
Instead, simply using a good calendar app to track your appointments, maintaining an awareness of key things that you have to focus on, and then bringing your attention primarily to what you need to do each day, in the here and now, can be very effective.
In particular, using an effective, fun, and visually appealing habit tracking app can help you to make sure that you are consistently getting things done as and when you need to each day, without allowing yourself to become overwhelmed by the perceived need to perfectly anticipate and control future events.
Recently, various people have written about why focusing on daily habits can actually be a much better idea than focusing on long-term goals.
The writers James Clear and Adam Alter argue, for example, that goals naturally cause you to feel unsatisfied and disempowered until you reach a point where you have achieved those goals – which may not happen for years or may never happen for one reason or another.
But others also point out that both “winners” and “losers” tend to have the same goals, and that the difference between them seems to have a lot more to do with the everyday habits they engage in, and the direction those habits move their lives in.
To cut a long story short, if you can focus on just trying to get each day right, one at a time, you are likely to get plenty done, while feeling significantly less stressed.
Don’t create extra work for yourself – let go of tasks that aren’t ultimately very meaningful or important
If you naturally have plenty of very important daily tasks and duties to deal with – which all parents do – it’s especially important that you don’t create extra work for yourself by filling your timetable and to-do list with assorted tasks that ultimately aren’t very meaningful or important.
In order to try to be as productive and in control as possible, many people get into the habit of creating extremely long and ambitious to-do lists for themselves and end up only ever crossing off a few items from those lists on a regular basis.
Not only does this tend to cause feelings of guilt and frustration at not having achieved more, but it generates excess stress, as you will always feel – at any given moment when you’re trying to relax – but you should really be doing something productive instead.
For those tasks which are genuinely meaningful and important to you, you will typically be wise to fit them into your routine somewhere. But whatever else you do, try not to create busy work for yourself. You also deserve to relax from time to time without being hounded by a sense of laziness.
Use an effective system for tracking and managing your to dos, instead of just putting everything on a huge list
Huge to-do lists are, unfortunately, pretty common – but having one massive list to look at and work on can naturally feel very overwhelming, and can create plenty of stress, rather than helping you to feel more in control.
Assuming that your to-do list has to have a large number of different items on it, it’s important to use an effective system for tracking, managing, and organizing your to-dos, so that you can move forward with a sense of purpose, direction, and balance.
Some people find that the analog Bullet Journal Method is a very helpful way for them to deal with and categorize various to-dos. Other people prefer the more “executive” approach of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” method, which involves a system of organizing different to-dos by category type, identifying “next actions,” and much more.
Whatever kind of system you end up gravitating towards, make sure that you have some way of compartmentalizing and handling your to-do list so that it doesn’t end up feeling so overwhelming.
Maintain routines that give structure to your day, and that help to keep you on the right track even when you’re not feeling like it
Our daily routines, and our environments, naturally end up having a major impact on how we feel, and on how driven we are to get certain things done or to be consistent with particular habits and behaviors.
If you don’t have any set morning or evening routine, for example, and just sort of stay in bed until whenever, you’re obviously not going to be at the top of your game, and you’re likely to find that your daily tasks and chores end up getting away from you and that you end up feeling significantly more stressed out as a result.
Coming up with certain daily routines that you stick to consistently, and that can help to give your day a sense of structure and rhythm, especially during periods of time where you naturally feel quite stressed and overwhelmed, can be a great help.
To the best of your ability, support your active and busy lifestyle with good sleep and nutrition
It’s often easier said than done to get enough sleep each night – never mind enough good sleep – but it remains the case that if you are able to be well-rested for the most part, and to eat good nourishing food, you will tend to be significantly more energetic, productive, and better at managing stress.
Changing your routine so that you get into bed a bit earlier, maintain fairly consistent sleeping and waking times, and always have well-balanced meals available to eat, can be very helpful for your sense of wellbeing and for your emotional resilience.
Give yourself little breaks and treats to look forward to each day
Giving yourself little breaks and treats to look forward to each day – even if that just means reading a few pages of a book in the evening, or watching an episode of a fun TV show – can help to make your everyday routine significantly less stressful, while also helping to keep you motivated in situations where you otherwise “aren’t feeling it.”