Recently, I heard Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed, speak about her book at a Her Corner Speaker Series event.  She spent an amazing hour discussing her book, outlining key takeaways, and enlightening the audience about two important issues: 1) why we are so overwhelmed and 2) what can we do about it.

We all know that when we are overwhelmed and pulled in multiple directions, our brand suffers. Our brand and our reputation become overwhelmed. We can be stressed, short-tempered, miss deadlines, and not deliver the stellar product
or service we aim to provide to our clients or customers. Believe me – our family, friends, clients and customers notice. And, what they notice is that the quality they are used to experiencing is diminishing in value. This is not the brand message we want to send out into the marketplace!  Luckily, Brigid shared 10 thoughts on what we could do to be less overwhelmed.

Brigid shared three core elements people need to be happy: love, work, and play. Most of the time, we are all focusing on work with love and play falling slightly behind in importance. The reality is that when people can achieve consistency incorporating these three areas into their lives, they can create more of a balance.

Brigid outlined 10 ways to find the time necessary to incorporate the three major elements of happiness into your life. When you can identify pockets of time and use those pockets efficiently, you can begin to create a happier life.

10 Ways to Find Time for Work, Love, and Play

You can create happiness by starting here:

1. Pause. Disrupt the Business.

Recently, since this talk, I have taken more time to deliberately play and enjoy my
family and friends. A self-admitted workaholic, this task was not an easy one,
but WAS a very rewarding one.  During a moment of “pause”, I asked my
four-year-old if he knew how much I loved him and told him that I was sorry I
had to work so hard. His answer was, “Mommy, I know you work hard, but you love me harder”.  That moment of “pause” was well worth it.

2. Be Aware of the Pressure of Cultural Ideals – Uncover Biases.

The Ideal Worker and the Ideal Mom are discussed quite a bit in Overwhelmed.
These “ideals” are big drivers of why and how men and women perceive their roles in the workplace and at home.  Becoming aware of the pressure that these “ideals” can have on someone is an important step to moving beyond biases into a happier place.

3. Set Your Own Priorities. Create a Network of Support.

The best example I can give of a great support network is Her Corner. This amazing group of women entrepreneurs has enabled me to have a support group that really pushes me, comforts me, makes me laugh, and helps me learn, all while enabling me to help others, too. There is no judgment. There is only support with how we  can all help each other set and achieve our own goals.

4. Mind the Gap. Plan. Do. Review.

A core component of achieving the happiness we seek is to test ourselves and learn as much as possible, being willing to adapt our lives along the way.  Maybe try entering that 5K you’ve been thinking about or just meet an old friend for coffee to catch up on your lives.  When we plan an activity and do it, we need to review how it made us feel. Remembering that feeling and adjusting our lives to make room for progress is an important step.

5. Flip the To Do List. Joy First. Stuff Later.

Look, we all have to do lists that never end. So guess what? We will never have time for joy or leisure if we wait until our to do list is done. So FLIP it. Have fun, and then, get to the to do list. Maybe not all of the time, but on occasion, rock your own boat. This may not be easy for some of us to master, but when we work in time for fun it may even inspire us to accomplish that to do list more efficiently
and effectively.

6. Set Common Standards. Share the Load.

The sixth way to find time involves asking the family to help more. Yes – it is
hard!  Sometimes, we want to redo what others do. However, we have to let go a bit and let others help in their own way. Maybe every day you load the dishes and your partner takes them out. Or, maybe instead of baking cookies for school you buy them. Stop trying to be sooooo perfect and bend a bit. When we share the load, we expand the opportunities for happiness by creating a space when we aren’t so overwhelmed.

7. Chunk Your Time and Work In Pulses.

This concept of working in 15, 30, 45, and 90-minute blocks is awesome. Set aside
time of no more than 90 minutes to accomplish one task. Stop the crazy
multi-tasking. You will be amazed that you can get more done with better results by “chunking” your time.

8. More Is Not More. Find the Sweet Spot.

Recognize what you can do and when you need to just say, ”no.” More might mean more work, but not more love or play. So understand when more is a good thing.

9. Schedule PLAY. You Deserve It.

Brigid discusses the importance of taking a moment to schedule time to play. She
explains that going outside, doing something you love, smiling, and having fun
can be powerful links to happiness. Other people can’t do this one for you.  You have to be in charge of designating the time you need to recharge.

10. Shorten Your Time Horizon.

Shortening your time horizon means making your list of priorities achievable in a short amount of time. By being able to accomplish your list quickly, you increase
your chances of not becoming overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed along with Arianna Huffington’s book, Thrive, have really helped change my perspective on work and play, and they have armed me with information, so I can challenge this world of busy-ness.

Remember to pause,