Being a Type A person and not knowing how to say no is a recipe for disaster, let me tell you. As young women who have goals, ambition, and a lot of work to do, we often look for ways to work harder and harder to prove our worth, make a name for ourselves, bring home a paycheck, and more. However, if you’re anything like me, you often look around and realize you’ve bitten off a bit more than you can chew. So, when you find yourself in that situation, what are you going to do? Here is where to start.
1) Learn to prioritize
This is a must for everyone, but especially for those of us who have a full plate and an overflowing bowl and leftovers in the fridge. Learn to prioritize. Take note of deadlines. Know thyself and know thy work ethic. If it takes you longer to do school work, prioritize starting that before something else. If something doesn’t pay, put it at the bottom of the list, far below your salaried job. I like to take inventory of my commitments every few weeks and look at what is rewarding, what isn’t, what I can and can’t do during evening hours, and what I should be prioritizing for the week ahead to avoid losing my mind.
2) If it takes less than 10 minutes to do it, do it immediately
The little things add up quickly. Need to write that check? Do it right now. Put laundry in? Start it immediately. My rule is that if it takes less than ten minutes to do, I just do it immediately. This includes little things like a tweet for work, an email to a colleague, unloading the dishwasher, uploading my assignment to the classroom server, and more. If it takes longer than ten minutes, put it on your to do list and make a plan for when you can actually tackle that. On your commute? While you watch TV at night? But if it’s going to be a quick task, cross it off as fast as you can.
3) Outsource what you can
As much as we may like to pretend otherwise, we really can’t do everything, and some things are more important than others. That’s where outsourcing comes in. In our capitalist economy, you can bet that you can pay someone to do just about anything for you. If you are overwhelmed with work and school and still have to keep up with things at home, consider hiring a house cleaner to come occasionally, if that’s up your ally. I have my groceries delivered because it saves me a ton of time and physical energy to get to the store. Some people outsource their laundry, though I haven’t gotten there yet. Have I briefly flirted with the idea of getting a personal assistant? Yes, but I was mostly kidding. However, outsourcing is helpful and is key in the prioritization process. Think about the things that slow you down the most and look for ways to outsource them without breaking the bank.
4) Cut the fat
If you’ve got too much on your plate, scrape some of it off. Take inventory of your commitments, everything from paid jobs to volunteer work to freelance writing to church and regular trivia outings with your friend. Figure out how much of yourself you’re giving to each during the week and how much you’re getting in return. Does it pay well? As Marie Kondo would ask, does it spark joy? Does it better you as a person or a worker? Make some cuts. Cut the fat, as they say. Learn to say no, or learn how to jump shift, if you’ve got to.