Life is always busy for all of us. But once in a while, you come up on an exceptionally busy week that seems to suck the life out of you before you even get into it! Whether it is exam time at school, tax season at work, or production week for a show you’re a part of, everyone occasionally experiences these bursts of extreme busyness in one way or another.
I’m heading into one of these weeks right now. I’ve got a major family event, complete with a carnival and an live production, coming up on Thursday, and it is going to be non-stop work from now until then. And because I don’t want the busyness of this week to cause me to regress in any way, I have had to think about how to set myself up for success.
In doing so, I have identified five steps that I believe will help me get through this week in one piece. I’d like to share them with you today, in hopes that they will be helpful for you as well!
1. Plan ahead.
Your first step is to plan ahead. If you go into an unusually busy week without a plan, chances are you will find yourself unravelling at the seems within a day or two. But if you spend some time making a plan in advance, you will be able to maximize your productivity and set yourself up for a successful week.
Plan and prep some meals for the week so that you don’t have to come up with something on the fly. Make a list of all of the commitments you have coming up and map out how you will juggle them all. Think through what you need before you leave the house each day to eliminate having to take unnecessary trips home because you forgot something! And don’t forget to schedule in some breaks throughout the day and enough time to get the precious sleep you will need to get through the week!
2. Be realistic and prioritize accordingly.
After you have made your plan, consider how realistic it is and adjust accordingly. On paper, it may look like you can fit in a trip to the gym every day, but in reality, this might add more stress to your week than it relieves. The point here is that you need to know yourself and know what you can handle. If you don’t think it is realistic to fit everything in, decide what your top priorities are and cut the items that didn’t make the list. Remember that this is an exceptional week, and once things slow down again, you can get back to your regular routine.
3. Be disciplined.
Now that you have your plan and priorities in place, it’s time to show some good, old-fashioned discipline. If you decided that getting enough sleep was a top priority for you this week, then make sure you stick to the plan and get yourself to bed at a reasonable hour. If you are a person who needs your morning quiet time to keep yourself in a healthy mental or spiritual space, then take the necessary steps to ensure that nothing else encroaches on this time. Making a plan only makes a difference if you stick to it. So until you get through this unusually busy week, make sure you practice some discipline!
4. Expect Curveballs and be flexible.
The reality in life is that almost nothing ever goes completely according to plan. Expect to come up against some curveballs this week, and be willing to bob and weave with them. Being disciplined does not mean being rigid. It’s important in life to be flexible enough to change the plan when something comes up. Halfway through the week you may realize that your expectations were unrealistic, and this can be a curveball in and of itself. Again, be willing to adjust the plan to accommodate your needs.
5. Have compassion.
Finally, show yourself some grace. Even if you fall off the bandwagon on day one and have a total mental breakdown, don’t be too hard on yourself. Recognize that you are up against considerable demands and an extraordinarily busy schedule this week, and cut yourself some slack. Give yourself permission to skip something you had prioritized in order to keep yourself sane. And make sure you take time to show yourself a little bit of love.
Remember, this week won’t last forever. And if you’re finding that your schedule looks like this more and more often, maybe it’s time to consider slowing down for a little while. Wishing you all the best as you navigate your busy season!
What have I missed? What do you do to set yourself up for success when your schedule is out of control?