Whether it’s a holiday season rush or a spontaneous busy season at work, we’ve all been in that place where we suddenly seem to have a busier schedule than usual. It can be overwhelming and stressful to handle a busier schedule when you already have a lot going on. We’ve talked to some seasoned experts on busy schedules to gain their insight on how to handle a busier schedule. Here are their top tips on handling the things life throws your way when you have a lot going on:
Don’t Skip Sleep
While it can seem like there aren’t enough waking hours in the day to handle the number of tasks on your list don’t try to extend your day by staying up late or waking up early to try and do more than you can handle. Sleep is an essential part of being able to do your best each day.
“When you’re young, and in college, you probably had an easy time staying up until odd hours to get something done,” says Omid Semino, CEO and Founder of Diamond Mansion. “The problem is, as adults, our bodies operate much better on a regular sleep schedule. Our weekends are usually just as busy as workdays, and even staying up late one night can throw off your entire week. Don’t skip sleep! If you don’t have enough time to do everything, you may need to reevaluate your commitments.”
When you have a lot on your plate, it can be a struggle to find time to eat. While it is easier to skip lunch or substitute it with a snack, your brain and body will function much better if you’re fueling them properly. Eating a balanced diet and taking the time to eat regular meals can help you manage that busy schedule.
“I know I’m guilty of grabbing takeout or skipping meals when I’m too busy to cook,” says Cesar Cruz, Co-Founder of Sebastian Cruz Couture. “Meal prepping is a great way to make sure you maintain a balanced diet throughout the week. Spend time on the weekend preparing food for the week ahead so you don’t have to worry about when you’ll have time to cook or be tempted to skip. Your body will thank you by allowing your energy levels to stay up where they need to be so you can handle a busier schedule.”
Choose an Organization System
Juggling multiple organizational systems can make your life difficult. As you learn to handle a busier schedule, observe what your natural inclination is toward organization systems. Are you someone who likes physical copies of documents and schedules, or do you need an app that reminds you of things that are coming up.
“It can feel weird to use an organization system for your personal and business life,” says Nabeel Abdullah, CEO of Sapphire. “However, keeping everything organized the same way through the same platform can really help keep your life in order. There are lots of different organization apps and programs out there, so you can experiment and find one that works for you.”
Create a Schedule
Creating a schedule is an integral part of handling a busier schedule. Even if you’ve had your exercise class on Tuesday at 6 PM for the past three years and you don’t think there’s any way you’d forget about it, put it on the schedule.
“As things get busier, it can be easy to forget something,” says Sean Doherty, General Manager of Box Genie. “Don’t underestimate the power of a schedule. There are apps that can sync your personal and work calendars so you can make sure nothing overlaps, or you can share them with a partner, so you know who’s going where on any given night. Try to also schedule free time or time for a mental break each day, too, so you don’t run yourself to the ground.”
You may run into a situation where you can’t do anything (and that’s okay). Don’t be afraid to ask for help or cancel a plan because you have too much going on. Learn to prioritize the essential events of your week and regularly check your schedule a few days out, so you know if you might have to push something off until next week.
“I had a really hard time with this concept when I first started handling a busy schedule,” says Lina Miranda, VP Marketing of AdQuick. “No one likes canceling plans, especially with friends. However, you’ll realize that if you don’t push that coffee date back to a day that was less stressful, you wouldn’t be your best self, and neither of you would enjoy the time together as much. If you need to cancel or postpone plans with someone so you can take a mental health break or finish that big project, it’s okay!”
As you’re scheduling things and working on making it through the week, make sure you’re setting realistic goals. There is a big difference between whether you can do something or should do something. Just because you could burn the midnight oil and push yourself to the limit to meet an aggressive deadline doesn’t mean you should.
“Know your own limits, time constraints, and other responsibilities,” says Miles Beckett, CEO and Co-founder of Flossy Dental. “For some reason, we’ve started to expect people to push themselves to their absolute limit to get things done faster. Faster doesn’t mean better. Know your limits and your abilities. Instead of committing to the earliest deadline, commit to a deadline where you know you’ll be able to turn in your best work.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
Boundaries are difficult to set. This is especially true with family and friends. Don’t be afraid to say no to a plan or an idea someone has. If you’re typically a take-charge person, this could also mean stepping back to let others lead or plan for something.
“Some people have a really hard time saying ‘no’ or handing over the reins when they’re starting to become overloaded,” says Cody Candee, Founder and CEO of Bounce Luggage Storage. “In the end, this is only going to frustrate everyone involved. It can make things take longer, and others are often blind to the additional stress you’re under due to work or personal life events. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ or step back from leading a project.”
Become an Intentional Planner
Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you can’t still do things you enjoy. Become an intentional planner by learning to schedule your ‘fun’ or ‘leisure’ activities far enough out that you don’t have to worry about not having time for them.
“Personal time and mental health breaks are important,” says Jae Pak, Founder of Jae Pak MD Medical. “While it may seem silly, book that coffee with a friend two weeks in advance if you need to. If your job or other life responsibilities are filling up your calendar before you have time to prioritize the things that help you recharge, you may need to become an intentional planner who schedules things like mental health evenings or hobby time into your schedule well in advance so you can do your other jobs to the best of your ability.”
Learn to Delegate
Delegation can be a really hard task for some people. If you’re a natural leader, you may not be used to the idea of handing off responsibility to others. This can be especially true if you work in a workspace that often relies on you to pick up the slack for coworkers or employees. Rather than handling everything yourself, learn to delegate tasks to others.
“Delegation is a bit of an art,” says Karim Hachem, VP of eCommerce at Maxine of Hollywood. “In the beginning, it can feel like the lazy or easy way of doing things. However, delegation is about making sure things can be done well and in the best amount of time possible. Even if that means you have to review something before it’ssubmitted or check in on progress, it’s still going to take a big load off of your shoulders.”
Ask For Help When Needed
This is another area that a lot of people struggle with. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re reaching the end of your rope and need help meeting some deadlines. Now, that being said, don’t wait until crunch time to reach out. Know your timelines and progress so if you start to fall behind, you can reach out with enough time for someone to be of assistance.
“I will be the first to admit that I hate asking for help,” says Melanie Bedwell, E-commerce Manager of OLIPOP. “But if you’re taking on a busier schedule, there will be some things during the adjustment period that you might need help with. Don’t forget that there are others around to help you out when you need them. Having someone else in your corner can really help you handle that busier schedule.”
Handling a busier schedule can be tricky, but hopefully, some of these tips and tricks will help you. While there’s no getting around some tasks on your schedule, learning to prioritize, say ‘no,’ and ask for help can really lighten the load. It’s also helpful to have a solid organization plan and calendar system in place as you navigate this new schedule. Finally, don’t forget that your health is a big part of how to handle a busier schedule. Eat and sleep right so that your body and mind are in top shape!
Indeed. (n.d.). How to manage a busy schedule in 13 steps. Career Development . Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/career-development/how-to-manage-busy-schedule
Young, J. R. (2021, December 10). Forbes Marketplace: 8 Time Management Techniques for busy people. Forbes. Retrieved September 26, 2022, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesmarketplace/2021/01/20/8-time-management-techniques-for-busy-people/?sh=26edbf0c61e5