How to keep on top of it all

This is a massively relevant post to me right now. Learning the lessons so you know how to keep on top of it all when you have a bad day is so important. Yesterday I had a bad day. I was feeling overwhelmed with everything I had to do and it was all going wrong. You know the kind of day, we all have them.

Not only am I in the process of planning a new workshop (the awesome The art of getting published: creating styled shoots which I am SO excited about), but wedding season has well and truly hit, I have editing to do, emails to reply to, blogs to write, features for other blogs to write, sample albums to design for venues I’m recommended by, my next Love Your Camera workshop to arrange, a life to plan and small child to run to school and back and clubs and back, a husband to try to spend time with and oh…a million other things that need doing. Plus, the thing that sent me over the edge yesterday, I thought I had lost my regular childminder. The woman without whom we would be hopeless. The woman who enables me to do weddings, shoots and generally work on days when my husband is working (ie monday to friday)! I think you get the point. It was a bad day.

How strange then, that I woke this morning feeling amazing and ready to take on the world again. I went to bed last night, let all the events of the day go and told myself ‘tomorrow’s a new day, it will all work out’. This is all well and good, and that did help (I’m a big believer in thinking positively and being proactive). But the big reason that today is a better day was for a few things I did when I was having my ‘bad day’ that helped set me up right. The things I have learned to do, even when I have occasional dips, that will help me to keep on top of it all.

• Chat to someone, then let go. Don’t keep it bottled in, festering about something that is bothering you is never good. Talking to someone who you trust, who understands and who will give sensible advice (or just listen) is a great way to help when you are having a bad day. Sometimes you just need to have a rant, get it off your chest and then you can move on. Please, do this in private and only to someone you trust. Don’t go crazy sharing your bad day all over social media. It can very easily backfire. But do remember to move on. Your attitude and how you approach a day makes a huge difference to how you feel. Positivity breeds positivity and likewise with negativity.

• Make a plan. I’m a supremely organised kind of person and a bit of a control freak so I like to have a plan. When it all feels too much, work out what you need to do and break it down. Make a plan for your week or your month so you know what needs doing and when you are going to do it. Then stick to that plan! Here’s how to prioritise:

  1. Does it need to be done immediately? If it’s not massively urgent or isn’t something that will assist in other tasks you need to do then its not a priority and doesn’t need doing straight away.
  2. Do you actually need to do this? Sometimes we take on things to help others, or agree to do something out of the goodness of our hearts only to regret the decision later when it takes us away from the things we really need to do. In this case it’s fine to say no to something. It might be something you do out of habit. In which case look at why you are doing this. If it’s not helping with the other work you are doing or making you feel good about yourself then it’s time to let go.
  3. Break it down to smaller tasks. Smaller, quicker things to do will always seem less daunting to do than the large task that makes climbing Everest seem like a doddle! Can you do one small task every day or every week that will work towards the big task?
  4. Just get it done. Sometimes we put off tasks because they maybe aren’t as fun as something else to do, or we feel a bit daunted by it. If its something small, that will take you 10-15 minutes to do, just get it done. It will be a weight off your mind to get this sorted. Especially if its something you have been putting off.
  5. Focus on one thing. When you have a million things to do it can sometimes be tempting to try to do lots of things at the same time, just so you can feel like you are getting more done. This rarely works and you end up half doing lots of things and probably getting yourself in a bit of a tizzy. Set aside time to focus on one thing at a time. For example, I have days where I am just doing editing, days when I am just doing blogging and I set aside time to answer emails and do my social media posts.
  6. Have a goal & then congratulate yourself. For most of us having a goal to reach can be a really positive thing to aim for. Whatever you want to achieve, be it small or big, set yourself a goal and give yourself something to look forward to when you have done it.

• Learn to delegate. This is been my lifesaver. For many years I tried to do it all on my own and it is hard work. In fact, I would say it’s impossible in the long term if you want to run a successful business. There are many things you can pass on to someone else to help with. There are things that don’t require your personal attention, tasks that are time sucks or the things you least enjoy doing. From a business point of view that could be admin work, accounts, photo editing or album designing. But it’s just as easy to outsource some of the more domestic tasks such as cleaning your house or getting someone in to keep your garden looking tip top. Delegating tasks that you don’t need to do can give you more time to concentrate on the tasks you want to do.

• Give yourself some time. We all know exactly how this works. You are so busy doing all your work tasks that your social life or anything that is fun and none work related goes out of the window. When you are feeling overwhelmed with it all it can be a great idea to step back and give yourself some space. Plan an outing with friends, a date with your other half, a trip to the cinema or even just an evening to watch your favourite TV show. Making time for yourself outside of work will give you the escape you need to see things more clearly and help you feel less overwhelmed.

This is pretty much what I did yesterday. After a stressful start to the day I slowly worked through everything. I listed priorities, I delegated tasks that could be passed to someone else and I gave myself the evening off. I sat on the sofa with my husband and watched Better Call Saul. And yes, it definitely helped me get past a pretty horrible day. Today I started the day with a plan and I was back my usual positive, ‘lets get out there and make things happen’ attitude. I knew what I wanted to get done overall and I have my big tasks broken down into smaller ones that I will be doing over the next few weeks. Oh, and thankfully our childcare nightmare has been sorted. Phew!

Hope this helps and gives some tips on how to keep on top of it all. Remember, even the worst days are only fleeting and will pass. Be kind to yourself and make your own life easier by taking it a step at a time.

Thanks for popping by

Fiona x




One thought on “How to keep on top of it all

  1. Alice says:

    Thank you for that, Fiona. This really helped. I generally don’t have bad days as such but I do often feel unstructured or unproductive although I and doing loads and am trying to get used to being self employed and a mum, and a wife and a friend and and and as you said above. So it is always so nice to know you are not alone.


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