author, tips

Mastering the Art of Juggling: 5 Tips for Managing Multiple Commitments

Multiple commitments can be challenging to navigate! I know this first hand as I tackle motherhood, writing and University commitments. It’s important to keep on top of the things you’re doing and find ways to make your life easier and more manageable! Here’s 5 tips that have helped me to overcome my commitment anxiety and ease my life!

1. Use a Diary

I am a big advocate of using a diary. I find that if I don’t write my tasks down and don’t organise my day I get nothing done. Using a diary is a lifesaver for me and it helps me plan my life out and organise what I need to do and when things need to be done by.

I grab a weekly diary at the start of every year and slowly plan long-term goals out in the first week of January. Small weekly goals like ‘edit a chapter a week’ or ‘write a chapter a week’. It helps me to have a small goal to reach each week in order to meet larger goals by the end of the year.

I also outline my small daily tasks. Like which day to do laundry, which day to deep clean and all those nitty gritty details. Once University details are available I put in all my class times and due dates throughout the semester as well.

Throughout the year I then sit down each week with my diary and outline the tasks ahead for the week. Grocery shopping, meal planning, weekly writing goals, blog goals, etc. It’s helpful to sit down at the start of the week and outline what needs to be done. I find it helps me prioritise everything and know exactly what I need to be doing.

Of course, sometimes this shifts and changes. Just the other week my toddler came down with croup so a lot of my weekly tasks and goals were dropped. It’s okay for priorities to change like that and I feel more at peace being able to drop things when needed and put them back into my diary for the following week to catch up on.

2. Don’t Overload Your Plate

The life you have left is a gift. Cherish it. Enjoy it now, to the fullest. Do what matters, now.

Leo Babauta

This is often easier said than done. I, for one, am well-known to overload my plate and crash because I have too much to do. I’ve been learning over time to stop doing this and to take a step back. It’s hard but it’s so necessary.

I set small tasks each day so that I don’t get overwhelmed and break down. I set out times to work on University, times to be with family and times to do household chores. I break it down into small chunks that feel so much more manageable.

Sometimes life gets in the way, but breaking up the tasks into smaller goals really helps me to be able to push back my tasks and duties while still meeting my deadlines. If laundry has to wait a day or two then it has to wait, there’s bigger things that need addressing sometimes and you need to be able to pause and make sure you’re not doing too much at once.

3. Get Small Tasks Out of the Way in One Day

This definitely ties into the previous tip. Being a mother and also having other commitments is challenging. I find it so important to get household tasks done in one day so that I can prioritise the larger tasks throughout the week.

As I said earlier, I love using a diary. I’m very forgetful so I rely heavily on that diary to remember my tasks each week. I find that setting time aside to do the smaller tasks on one or two days really helps me to stay focused and centered.

I meal-prep on Sunday for the week ahead. This includes things like lunches, snacks for my toddler and easy meals to grab throughout the week. I usually take the weekend off writing commitments so it works for me to set some time aside to do this.

I usually set time aside on Monday to do laundry and change sheets and do a clean of the house. It resets me for the week ahead and I can focus so much better when things are clean and tidy. As I’ve said, sometimes things prop up and get in the way of this and I’ve come to a place where I can accept that and move on. Getting the small tasks out of the way definitely helps, but sometimes they needed to be pushed aside and sometimes an entire day ends up going on smaller tasks. Life is what it is and it is very unpredictable.

4. Prioritise Your Commitments and Adjust Where Needed

Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.

Stephen R. Covey

Tips 2-4 definitely all tie in together. It can be hard to prioritise commitment sometimes and even harder to adjust commitments you’ve set. Assessing the importance and urgency of each commitment is necessary in order to allocate your personal resources effectively.

For example, if I have a due date for an assignment coming up that takes priority over other tasks. I will always complete the assignment due soonest first as it is the more urgent one. Personal goals often take a backseat throughout the semester as deadlines for my classes are more important and urgent.

Setting a clear vision of your goals helps when prioritising. For me, my first goal is to graduate University and my second goal is to submit my book for publication. Both are incredibly important to me but my University is more urgent while I can take some more time working on my novel. I still set goals out in my diary for my personal priorities, but the more urgent priorities come first.

5. Take Breaks

Do something nice for yourself today. Find some quiet, sit in stillness, breathe. Put your problems on pause. You deserve a break.

Akiroq Brost

This is another tip that I honestly struggle with sometimes. The world we live in is so fast-paced and filled with deadlines and obligations. With the ‘hustle-culture’ surrounding you, it can be really hard to take a step back and prioritise your own mental health and physical well-being. But taking breaks is so crucial for your health and often helps you to meet goals and deadlines for effectively.

Continuously working without taking breaks leads to stress and burnout. We are not designed to work without stopping, our bodies and minds cannot cope with it. It’s so important to take time out throughout the day, and week, to slow down and rejuvenate. I take breaks throughout the day, whether it’s a break to play with my toddler or a break after dinner. During the week I always take a break on Sunday’s, I don’t do chores or work on anything on this day. It’s a day solely dedicated to resting my mind and body.

I step into Monday refreshed and renewed by doing this. My mind is always clearest when I take breaks and my productivity increases. Whenever I work without stopping, my mind wanders and I struggle to meet deadlines. Prioritising rest is necessary and will really help you to stay focused and meet your own deadlines and goals.

Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal—a commitment to excellence—that will enable you to attain the success you seek.

Mario Andretti
author, mental health, writing

Life Update

Life has been hectic so far this year! Time goes past so fast when you are busy and throw a child into the mix! I’m not working at the moment, but I’ve found so many ways to fill my time. Not to mention its hard to do anything when you have a loud, energetic, moving 8 month old!

I’ve made a huge decision regarding my University studies in recent months. I decided to drop my psychology course and focus on my true passion of writing. I do love psychology and it is so interesting, but a future as a psychologist is not my priority anymore and I do really want to do what I’m passionate about!

On that note, I have enrolled in a Masters of Creative Writing. It’s going to be hard, but I really wanted to focus on my passions and by pursuing the Masters I can always work at a University as a teacher. I think it opens up several opportunities in the future, when my son is older, and I’m eager to follow these opportunities.

I definitely did enjoy psychology, but not as much as I love writing. A friend of mine recently said, essentially, ‘just do it’ and it references a lot of things in my life. I tend to stay back in fear of failure or being noticed (which, as an introvert, is not ideal). But I need to just move forward and do what I feel to do!

Writing is my passion. I have been blessed with a talent for writing so I’m going to pursue this passion fully. I’m looking forward to see where this degree leads me! I also get to study at home, since it’s fully online, and I am definitely happy to stay home with my little boy and study while he naps!

author, mental health, Writing

It is Time For Some Self-Care

Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.

Lucille Ball

I spoke in my last blog post about my mental health. It’s always an important topic for me, not only as an aspiring psychologist but also as a human being. Mental health is often overlooked or pushed away, but it is such an important thing for us to consider.

I like to find ways to take care of my mental health. As someone who deals with GAD (generalised anxiety disorder) I know how hard it can be to make it through some days with a mental disorder. It’s important to take time out every day to focus on your mental health and take care of yourself.

I like to snuggle up with a good book, or my notebook, when my anxiety is high. It’s good to remove myself from my current situations and delve into fantasy worlds – either created by myself or someone else. It gives me an escape that I need when my anxiety starts to take over.

Self-care is so needed, especially in with our world in the state it’s in. I know my country is doing so much better than others, and we all need to take the time out and care for our mental health – whether your country is in lockdown or not.

It is so important to take time for yourself and find clarity. The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.

Diane Von Furstenberg

The most important aspect of my self-care is focusing on myself. It can be hard to focus on yourself in this day and age – you feel selfish for putting yourself first. But something I have learnt is that you need to be at your best to care for others to the best of your ability. If you’re not mentally well it is hard to support others.

I try to take care of my needs and care for myself. Whether that is taking a bath or staying in bed all day. It’s important to take care of my mind, body, and soul. I enjoy yoga as a way to take a breath and step away from all my worries. It focuses me on the moment and really helps alleviate those anxieties.

It’s important to find what works best for you and care for yourself and your mental wellbeing. Here is my basic list of what I tend to do for self-care.

  • Have a bath
  • Read a book
  • Exercise
  • Get in the sun for at least 15 minutes
  • Organise things (often my fridge much to my partner’s exasperation)
  • Meditate for at least 5 minutes
  • Do a sudoku puzzle
  • Use a face mask and hair mask (home spa)
  • Turn off social media

Obviously, these are just things that work for me and help me switch off and take care of my mental wellbeing. Find what works best for you and put your mental health at the top of the priority list!

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

Oscar Wilde
author, mental health, pandemic, Writing

Caring For Mental Health In This World

2020 was a rough year for a lot of people. Thankfully it wasn’t horrendous for me – I still had a job, I still had a house and a car and I had my health. However, 2020 was still filled with anxiety and uncertainty. It definitely was not an easy year, even if my year was better than a lot of other people.

A lot of people understand the stress and anxiety that many have gone through this year. Everyone’s story is different, and not everyone will understand why certain things caused you anxiety. It’s important to remember that your anxiety is valid and is a part of your own personal journey. Not everyone will experience the same thing.

“Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.” 

Joubert Botha

I make sure I continue to power forward each day and I try not to let the anxieties overwhelm me. It can be difficult, and there have been days where I’ve stayed in bed for most of the day, but I try not to let my anxiety dictate my life.

I may spend a day isolated because of my mental health, but I try to pick myself back up the next day and continue forward. I let myself feel my feelings, that’s why you have them after all. But I won’t stop everything and stay in bed for weeks on end. But, it’s perfectly okay to spend those days in bed or isolated at home. Sometimes you need it. Sometimes your mental health won’t allow you to do anything, so it’s okay to take care of yourself and isolate when you need too.

“You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared and anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a negative person. It makes you human.”

Lori Deschene

It’s rough at the moment being forced to isolate no matter what. Even the most introverted people need some escape, and it was extremely limited in 2020, and continues to be an issue in 2021. I love my home time and I love my alone time. I am very much an introverted person, but even I have been going stir-crazy in this isolating time. It’s been hard to keep a positive attitude, but I know there will be an end soon and the craziness will calm down.

I’ve neglected my writing a bit during COVID lockdowns, due to mental health, but I’ve jumped back on the bandwagon this year and I’m trying to find the motivation and I’m trying to push forward. It’s time to get my groove back and not let this isolating time beat me down anymore.

2021 will be my year. I will finish editing my novel in 2021. I will write a new novel in 2021. I will move forward and leave the chaos of COVID behind as best I can!

author, mental health, pandemic, Writing

Mental Health Struggles and Triumphs

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.”

Fred Rogers

I have had my fair share of mental health struggles. It has such a stigma, but there really shouldn’t be anything wrong with admitting you are struggling.

I have spent time on antidepressants and for a while I was seeing a psychologist every week. It’s sort of what spurred me towards studying to be a psychologist, although it wasn’t the only reason.

Mental health is not something to be ashamed of. So many people struggle with various mental health disorders and it needs to be less stigmatised. There is nothing wrong with you getting help or acknowledging something isn’t quite right.

I have experienced a few mental health disorders, and I do still struggle with a few. It’s a long battle to overcome your own mind, and it takes a lot of time.

“Anyone who has actually been that sad can tell you that there’s nothing beautiful or literary or mysterious about depression.”

Jasmine Warga

I have days when I’m good and days when I’m bad. It’s completely normal to feel this way. Ups and downs are normal and having days when you don’t want to leave your bed is also completely normal. As long as you don’t let it control you, it is okay.

Self Care Isn't Selfish Signage

It’s okay to struggle, and it’s okay to feel proud for doing small things other people find easy. Days are more challenging when you have a mental illness, and you just need to take it one step at a time. Take self-care steps and take time for yourself and your own health.

“Sometimes self-care is exercise and eating right. Sometimes it’s spending time with loved ones or taking a nap. And sometimes it’s watching an entire season of TV in one weekend while you lounge around in your pyjamas. Whatever soothes your soul.”

Nanea Hoffman

Mental illness is no joke and it is very real for so many people. It needs to be spoken about more, and small victories should be celebrated. You went down 5mg on your medication, celebrate! You have social anxiety and made it to a friend’s party, celebrate! You managed to get out of bed and brush your teeth, celebrate!

The small things are major victories when mental illness is at work, and those small things are so important when you are in those dark places. Hold onto those small victories and be proud of each step you manage to take, because they are something to be proud of!

“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.”

John Green