A Guide to Coping With a Busy Day

Coping with a busy day - Nial and Helen - Pikalily

We’ve had our fair share of busy days over the last 2 years here at Pikalily (not unlike most of you reading this no doubt). From the birth of our baby boy Lewis and watching him grow into a toddler, to our self-build project and getting everything moved into our new home, we often find ourselves sitting down and wondering where the day has gone! While we love being parents, and having Lewis has been the greatest gift ever, it certainly brings with it many busy days, and in some cases, busy nights.

Sometimes, a busy day will come with an advance warning: appointments will align or schedules clash, and you’ll know that a particular day of the week is going to be a hectic one. However, in many cases, a busy day can come from nowhere; what should have just been a normal day suddenly evolves, tasks begin to build up, and you suddenly feel like you’re running out of time.

The next time you find yourself facing a surprise busy day, here are a few helpful tips to navigate your way through it…

Assign tasks a level of importance

A busy day is usually characterised by new tasks continually being added to your to-do list. When this happens, it’s tempting to just add everything as urgent and attempt to get through it in one day – but it’s worth taking a moment to pause and see if this is actually necessary. This is something we’ve experienced as part of our self-build.

While everything could be urgent and a case of wanting things done yesterday, it really is worth taking a step back and prioritising your tasks. Organise them based on those that are simply a must do, and those that can be pushed back. A great model for this is the Eisenhower Matrix. More commonly used in business scenarios, the Eisenhower Matrix is a great way to decide what is urgent and what doesn’t need to be done. The video below gives a good overview of the Eisenhower Matrix.

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Sometimes you will realise there’s a task to do on a busy day, but it can actually afford to be postponed to a later date, and if that’s the case…

Postpone what you can

To handle a busy day, you need clarity, and that means quickly postponing absolutely everything that can be postponed. If you had intended to run an errand and new tasks have now cropped up, ask yourself if the errand can actually wait; does it really need to be done today, or do you just want to do it today? If it’s the latter, postpone it, and keep the day free for tasks that are time-sensitive only.

Take 15 minutes between each task

If you’re running from one task to another, driving from place to place and errand to errand, your stress levels will inevitably rise. To combat this, it’s important to take a break every time you complete a task, errand, or chore. This is something we tried to do quite a bit when doing work to finish our house, especially the interiors and decorating. Use this break to do anything you want. Perhaps you want to just chill out with some music or read a magazine / book.

Or maybe it’s a quick 15-minutes on your phone playing a game or checking Instagram (the Pikalily page of course). When it comes to gaming escapism, we (well, Nial) like to explore the endless world in Final Fantasy XV or dream of European success with Liverpool on Football Manager 2018.

Set a finish time

A Busy Day should have a definitive end point for you to focus on, so it’s important to agree with yourself a time when you will stop for the day. If this means leaving tasks undone, then so be it: do what you can to minimise any issues that may arise from the delay (for example, if you meant to send a birthday card but don’t have the chance to do so before your finish point, you could call the person instead), and then stop for the day. By knowing you have a definitive end point planned, you should find it easier to get through the day.

How do you cope with a busy day?

Have you got any tips for getting through a busy day? Share your best tips with us in the comments section below.

Until next time, take care.

Helen, Nial & Lewis


Welcome to Pikalily, an award-winning food, travel and lifestyle blog. We are Nial and Helen, a happily married couple from Northern Ireland, who share a passion for food and travel among many things. We became parents to our beautiful boy Lewis in 2017. Follow our adventures through the blog.

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