Life can get pretty hectic sometimes. Between work responsibilities, social responsibilities, and the constant roller coaster ride that is social media, our days can feel like a disorganized, jumbled mess. At least, that’s how my days have been feeling!
Recently, I read an article by Eric Barker titled “7 Ways to Not Feel So Overwhelmed All The Time”. One section of this article in particular stood out to me:
John Robinson is the leading sociologist who studies time use. His colleagues call him “Father Time.”
Looking at time diary studies he shows that globally we all have more leisure time than ever.
He insists that although most Americans feel they’re working harder than ever, they aren’t. The time diaries he studies show that average hours on the job, not only in the United States but also around the globe, have actually been holding steady or going down in the last forty years. Everybody, he says, has more time for leisure.
So why do we feel like we’re overwhelmed even though we’re not? Partly, it’s because our time is so fragmented.
Switching between checking email, making dinner, watching TV and finishing that report is more mentally draining than doing one at a time.
“It’s role overload,” she explains. “It’s the constant switching from one role to the next that creates that feeling of time pressure.” When all you’re expected to do is work all day, you work all day in one long stretch, she says. But the days of the mothers she studied were full of starts and stops, which makes time feel more collapsed.
This constant changing tasks and attempt to multitask is exactly what I do all the time. I think of everything I need and want to do, and try to do it all at once. I find myself frequently opening multiple browser tabs, for example, because I’m afraid if I plunge into one task I’ll forget about another. The other tabs are just a reminder, I tell myself. In reality, they are just a stressful distraction.
So how can you deal with this? One way I’m starting to tackle my hectic multitasking is by journaling. Specifically, I’ve begun using the Panda Planner. The Panda Planner is part daily/weekly/monthly planner, part gratitude journal.
There are monthly, weekly, and daily sections of the planner. In each, there are spaces to fill out your basic schedule, as well as setting goals, prioritizing tasks, setting intentions, and framing all of that in positive and constructive ways. No wallowing allowed in this planner! It forces you to think of what has gone right, and if you’ve faced setbacks, it forces you to think constructively about how to improve in the future.
So far, I’ve really enjoyed using my Panda Planner. I use it first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening, instead of my old habit of getting sucked into social media on my phone. That in and of itself is already an improvement!