Five tricks to staying in control

Have you ever looked around and felt everyone was more in control than you?

Portrait of a business woman on a good working dayLike other women are more organised, healthier, less stressed and just generally on top of things?

How do they do it?!

I was contemplating this question today while munching on an apple, my only real concession to healthy living for a while, it has to be said.

The apple represented to me not so much my healthy approach to life but more the guilt of knowing that I hadn’t been looking after myself very well for what seems like months.

The gym card has been getting dusty from lack of use and the dog thinks a long walk is down the village and back again.

Why is it that I can’t seem to find the time to do these things anymore?

And then it occurred to me, it’s because I’m too bloody busy doing everything else like managing a charity, overseeing a significant refurb project and running a household.

Looking around, it seems that everyone else is just as busy, but while some seem to glide along, others struggle to keep their heads above water.

Once again, how do they do it?

What is their secret, these uber-organised svelte creatures that seem a million miles from me?

On closer inspection I can see that they use a combination of creative thinking, good planning and self awareness.

None of us are a blend of Florence Nightingale, Nicola Horlick and Ghandi but we can probably pick up a few techniques and traits from them to help us through the week without losing the plot.

With this in mind I have come up with a bit of guidance for myself that will hopefully help me keep those plates spinning without feeling massively guilty all the time about not having done everything perfectly.

Be prepared. Yes, after 40 something years of life I have finally realised that my dad was right about at least one thing. Being properly prepared is the key to a quiet mind, even if to me this means being two steps ahead of everyone else. Find what works for you and stick to it. You’ll sleep so much better at night.

Accept that nothing in life is perfect. Not even rainbows. And don’t beat yourself up when you realise that you can’t be, either. I’m not advocating a laissez-faire attitude, just be kind to yourself when something doesn’t quite match up to your original unrealistic expectations. Even better, revise them down in the first place.

Know that a kind word and deed will always come back to you in spades and quite often when you need it most. I’m not suggesting that you use compliments to sweeten people up, more that I believe in karma and what goes around comes around. So make sure that it’s going to be good rather than a kick up the bum.

Learn to recognise what you’re good at and what you’re not and surround yourself with people who complement your unique and amazing skills. And then learn the art of delegation or at least how to scratch people’s backs effectively.

Understand that achieving a work-life balance isn’t just for softies, it’s essential for everyone. If you can’t find time for yourself, your family, your friends or your interests then you will quickly burn out. Your body has a nasty habit of stopping you in your tracks when you don’t listen to it and it can take a long time to get going again. You may also find your friends list gets quite small and you forget what your family looks like. Trust me when I say that a spreadsheet does not make a good bedfellow, even if they don’t hog the duvet or snore.

Looking at this list, I obviously still have a bit of work to do but you know what they say – self awareness is the first step on the road to improvement.

Fiona White

About Fiona White

I'm Chief Executive of Community Lincs, a rural community development charity that helps Lincolnshire communities and individuals to identify and achieve their aspirations through research, community development, training and community empowerment. I've worked in the voluntary and community sector for 14 years. I have two teenage children, one husband, a dog, a guinea pig and seven doves, all of which keep me extremely busy, but I still manage to find a bit time for my hobbies of sailing and gardening.