Priorities and learning to set boundaries is vital if you want to thrive in life. Many people wear the badge of ‘being busy’ as a sign of accomplishment, when actually they are doing more harm to their bodies and health.
I know from experience, I would proudly try to juggle all the balls in life while slowly wearing myself out. I thought I was the master of multi-tasking and then some!
I am older and wiser now and realise the importance of setting priorities and accepting what is important in my life.
Setting boundaries isn’t just exclusive to mothers or career people. Grandparents should also set boundaries so they don’t become the regular babysitter for their grandchildren. I offered to mind my grandson weekly and when my daughter travels, because I wanted to and fortunately, my daughter never takes advantage of me. However, sometimes grandparents feel they have to give up their life to help their children and feel guilty if they aren’t available all the time. It all comes down to choice and setting boundaries for what is suitable to your lifestyle.
How can we thrive if we are being pulled into different directions which require our attention?
In her book ‘Mastering the Mean Girl – the no-BS guide to Silencing your Inner Critic’, Melissa Ambrosini suggests we ‘Stop the Glorification of Busy’ and embrace the ‘ebbs and flows of life’.
No matter what stage of life you are, there will always be responsibilities or obligations that are fighting for your time. Instead of trying to find the magical balance in life, Melissa suggests that you need to go with the flow. You need to include flexibility as life can throw curve balls to many well-laid plans.
To avoid becoming over-whelmed and suffering ‘burn out’ you need to put together a plan which should also include time for yourself.
Women, especially, suffer from feeling guilty if they take some ‘me time’. However, what use are you to your family, friends or employer if you are constantly battling against time to fit everything in and never taking a break to just breathe?
5 tips to Prioritize and Set the Boundaries so you can Thrive
1. Learn to Say No
This doesn’t come easily to many of us as we want to please or help others. However, not having the ability to say ‘No’ without feeling guilty will add to the stress and anxiety in your life as you try to do it all. Trust me, I know from experience. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been stressed out because I simply couldn’t say ‘No’.
When asked to do something – Ask yourself how important this is to you, your family and the person asking? Will the world end if you say ‘No’ I can’t help? Rate the importance of the request and weigh it up against your current commitments. It is hard to say ‘No’ but people will understand because we are all busy.
The worst thing you can do is say ‘Yes’ and not deliver or it affects your health or your relationship with your family.
2. Ask for help
Don’t feel inadequate if you ask for help. It isn’t a sign of weakness and certainly will take the pressure off. Remember you don’t have to take on the responsibilities of the world.
3. Take time out for yourself – Self-care is important!
Make a ‘date’ with yourself and put it in your diary. If you have a family, discuss this with them and explain that you need to take some time each week or preferably each day, just for yourself. Even if it isn’t daily, it must be regular and this time is YOURS to do whatever brings happiness, relaxation and enjoyment. Getting up a little early to a quiet house each morning and taking time to breathe, reflect and feel gratitude can start your day well. You might prefer to go for a walk in the early morning or do some mediation and yoga.
4. Turn off Technology
Don’t let technology rule your life. Take time away from laptops, social media and your smartphone and do something of value for yourself. Spend more quality time with your family, go for a walk and enjoy nature, listen to music, chill out and watch some TV, read, meditate or do some yoga – anything that takes you away from technology for a period of time. It really is within your control. Oh and keep your mobile phone and laptop out of your bedroom!
5. Eat your frog first
This phrase is from Melissa’s book and is actually from a book called ‘Eat That Frog’ by Brian Tracy. So what does it mean? Melissa suggests using an online task management app called ‘Things’. Every morning you do a ‘brain dump’ into the app with all the tasks you need to do. Then you rate them into three categories:
- Tasks you don’t like, but are important (the frogs) – these are the tasks that usually promote procrastination as you don’t really want to do them. Dealing with the ‘frogs’ first thing in the morning means you are able to tick them off the list and move onto more enjoyable things in your life. Not dealing with them keeps them hanging over your head like a cloud – so just get in and deal with them.
- Tasks you like and that are important
- Tasks you like but are unimportant
Of course, I’m a list girl so I quite like writing down what I need to do or achieve during the day. Whatever works for you is your choice. It is a matter of getting all the things whirling around in your head onto paper and then working out the level of priority for each one.
Do you try to keep all the balls in the air? What can you do today to Prioritise and Learn to Set Boundaries?
In my next post in the A to Z Guide to Thriving, I’m discussing ‘Q’ is for Quality not Quantity – 5 areas in life where Quality trumps Quantity I do hope you will join me.
You might also like to check out my Over 50 & Thriving series. In this series, published every Thursday, guest writers give insight into what ‘Over 50 & Thriving’ means to them.
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