Do you stress over your busy schedule? Does it keep you awake at night? It’s possible you suffer from schedule congestion. If you adopt these 6 rules, you might find yourself less stressed, sleeping with fewer interruptions, and feeling more grounded.
One of the common themes I see in working with clients as a Sleep & Well-being Coach—particularly those looking to reduce stress so they can sleep better—is that they suffer from “schedule congestion.” Do you? Here are 6 ways to know:
- You move from one appointment/obligation/meeting to another, without any space between them.
- Your evenings are as booked as your days (sometimes expressed as “I have no free time” or “I have no time for myself”).
- You’re “doing” all the way up until it’s time to go to sleep.
- You’re frequently responding to interruptions, “fire drills,” and/or “emergencies.”
- You view taking care of yourself (e.g., eating, sleeping) as “a waste of time,” or procrastinate these necessary human activities.
- You frequently “flake,” or back out of commitments you previously made.
Of course there are other symptoms, but these are the ones I hear a lot.
So, what is there to do? How can you find space and reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm, when it seems impossible?
It’s often hard to “de-congest” right away, so you must begin in small ways.
I suggest you look at your schedule a month or so out, and implement these 6 “rules” as soon as requests for commitments during that month start coming in (from others and/or from you!):
- Whenever you accept an appointment/obligation/meeting, automatically block off 30-60 minutes afterwards. You may initially feel this is excessive, but I encourage you to try it. There’s a reason many scheduling tools offer this option!
- Ensure you have an evening with “nothing to do” at least 3 times per week.
- Don’t commit to anything on back-to-back evenings.
- Set a recurring alarm that goes off 2-3 hours before you plan to go to sleep. When the alarm goes off, shut off your phone, turn off all screens, and enjoy some real relaxation time!
- Schedule at least 1 hour/week on your calendar for planning your upcoming week, so your priorities are included first.
- Remember who you are: a human being. To function optimally, you must care for your mind-body system with recovery and rest. This is especially true if you are a caretaker for others.
If you adopt these 6 rules, you might find yourself less stressed, sleeping with fewer interruptions, and feeling more grounded.
If you try them for a time, and then stop (because you reverted to old habits, or your routine was disrupted) learn what you can do.
Here’s to having more space. 😉