“I put no trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame.” - Psalm 44:6-8
Psalm 44:6-8 was my inspiration for this post, as well as conversations I have had with others. The bible verse speaks to the fact that God’s will is the reason why the things in our life happen - we 'win' because He wills it. If we were living according to your own our will and abilities, then we would fail to see the ‘victories’ we have experienced in our life. I think this speaks to another important point. You can't win by yourself. As well as asking for help, I'm a big advocate of creating systems.
People always ask me ‘how do you balance so much?’ and the truth is, all I do is create more systems to increase my capacity. I don’t trust myself to never make mistakes or to never have off days, so I create fail-safes that save me when I do inevitably mess up.
Don’t rely on yourself to have a good memory
“If it’s not in my calendar, it doesn’t exist” is the lifestyle I have adopted. I used to try and remember everything I needed to do in a week and unavoidably, I would find myself forgetting meetings and other commitments. I was constantly apologising and rescheduling. I did not have the luxury of getting a PA (and quite frankly, I don’t need one) so I decided to become more reliant on my calendar. My calendar is my right hand. I don’t start a day without consulting her and I don’t plan new commitments without making sure it’s okay with her. She organises me, even down to my planned breaks.
I will not spend too much time on this next point: write a To-Do list! Stop trying to remember what tasks you need to complete or what errands you need to run. Write it down on your notes. In a notebook. On a sticky note. Wherever you will see it. More importantly, prioritise the things on your To-Do list. That will elevate your productivity levels and your mood because you will do all the important things first.
Don’t rely on yourself to always be motivated
MOTIVATION IS A SCAM. This point could really be its own article. Motivation is fleeting. It may get you started once, but it will not be the reason that you continue. To combat this, you have to create systems in your life that will carry you through when motivation runs out. I won’t elaborate on each one because I don’t want this to turn into a 2000 word essay, but here are some examples:
1. Get others to keep you accountable
2. Always have #balance. You cannot be all work and no play
3. Start small and gradually improve. The trajectory is more important than the result
4. Set clear, SMART goals and deadlines for yourself. I use apps like Asana to help me day-to-day
5. Download a productivity app like Flora to keep you off your phone
Don’t rely on yourself to always be in a good mood
Life is hard and the pandemic has made it much harder. It is sensible to assume that something is going to try and ruin your mood. For me, personally, I put everything in God’s hands. I always start my day with the Word and/or some gospel because I am reminded of God’s glory …that there is nothing I cannot overcome with Him (can I get an 'amen'?!). That peace alone means I rarely have entire bad days. I also always try to always have something to look forward to, even if it’s an episode of my favourite programme, something I enjoy eating or even a catch up with a friend.
Most importantly, you need to have an outlet (or you'll pop). I journal regularly to make sure I’m always processing how I am feeling and the way I respond to things. For other people, it may look like regular voice notes and/or affirmations to themselves. Others create video diaries or express themselves in an array of ways. Do whatever works for you, but whatever it is …make sure you do it. You can’t trust yourself to be okay all the time.
Create more systems in your life. After you put in the work to create them, they will continue working hard so you don’t have to.