12:19

Juggling Life

When you have a to do list longer than your arm, sometimes the easiest thing to do is nothing at all. Staring at a long list of daunting tasks and not knowing where to begin is a scary prospect, and I know that sometimes it's much more simple to place that list in the back of your mind and watch yet another episode of that TV show on Netflix. But ultimately that list is only going to be more daunting when you try to readdress it. It's not going to get smaller on its own, and although it may seem like there aren't enough hours in the day to complete everything you need to do, avoiding it all together is never going to help you achieve your goals.


When I was 16 I started to suffer badly with stress. I struggled to get the balance right between revising for all my different subjects whilst still maintaing far more extra curricular activities than I could possibly manage to squeeze in to my already hectic life. I'd like to say that as I got older I got better with managing my commitments, but if anything I am more over committed now than I have ever been, my ability to take on far more than I can handle is one of my greatest downfalls. What I have got better at however, is how I organise my mind and my life in order to deal with all these different deadlines at once. 

My mum once taught me something called 'elephant burgers' (bear with me, I know it sounds like the weirdest concept, but it is something I absolutely credit for my ability to juggle so many commitments at once.) She told me that if someone told you you had to eat an elephant you'd never be able to manage it, the task would seem huge and you would have no idea where to start. If you just delved straight in and tried to eat it all with no plan you would just end up overwhelmed and unsuccessful. However, if you began to break your elephant down into small and manageable elephant burgers, it is much easier to comprehend as you are no longer staring at one giant task, but twenty more feasible smaller tasks. The point of the story is that if you just stare at the list of things you have to get done you will never find a way to approach it which doesn't fill you with dread. However, by breaking everything down and creating smaller timescales and deadlines for yourself it will be much easier to complete everything in time. 

Remember, stress is not what happens to us, it is a response to what happens to us and response is something we can control. It's not your workload that's breaking you down, it's the way you've chosen to carry it. Learning to adjust that load is what makes all the difference. Worrying about workload or deadlines or exams will not make them go away, but it will stop you from appreciating the good things. Time is yours to do what you wish, and remember there is always time to chase your dreams.

A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well.
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34 comments

  1. Such good advice! It really is all in the way you carry stress. People who try to carry everything at once are going to be worse off than someone who can stop, take a breath, and break down that to-do list. Wishing you the best in breaking down that elephant!

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  2. I find writing things in lists and ticking them off gives the greatest sense of achievement. Also realising when you NEED a break x

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  3. Great post! I definitely struggled in High school with getting everything done on time, and I can admit now that I have and probably always will be someone who stresses.

    I used to find lists an amazing way to get things done, but when the list is never ending, it can be a bit overwhelming. I know the best thing for me is to set aside one project at a time, and focus on it until the job has been completed x

    www.sheintheknow.co.uk

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  4. Aww, Amy! This post really touched me! xx

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  5. Great post - this is awesome advice and something a lot of people could use :)

    Abby
    www.champagneplans.com

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  6. Such a fantastic post Amy and what a great bit of advice from your mum - I'll definitely be taking that one with me! I'm terrible for letting stress get the better of me, especially with all the wedding planning I've got on my plate lately. I can see that elephant burgers are going to go a long way to helping me out, if not making me laugh above all. Good luck with juggling life and I hope that you get everything managed successfully xxx

    Kirsty - Effortlessly Excessive

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    1. aw thank you so much! good luck to you too lovely xxx

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  7. Great post! It love your mom's advice...it's amazing how much we can accomplish when we take just one step at a time. Thanks for always sharing such wise words. I'd love if you'd comment back...I recently shared some great advice I received at a very hard time in my life:
    http://www.teajambread.com/2015/02/the-best-advice-i-ever-received.html

    xo,
    Ashley from Tea with Jam and Bread

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  8. LOVE the quotation about diamonds! Breaking up huge tasks into smaller tasks is exactly how I've been managing my schoolwork lately...still learning and trying not to procrastinate but it's so hard! Thanks for the great advice + that perfect quotation!

    Mandy

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  9. I like writing all of my thoughts and goals in the notebook, i find this really helpful to achieve my aims :) thank you for "elephant burgers", very simple but very important thing!
    xx, marinasirmais

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  10. This will really help me, because I have been stressing a lot lately because of my upcoming exams!

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    1. good luck with your exams lovely xx

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  11. Great post, I'm such a procastinor, and always leave everything to the last mimute ,will definitely remember elephant burgers now though xxx

    srndpts.blogspot.co.uk

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  12. I can really relate to this. I always get so stressed but a lot of the time I just put the pressure on myself cos I always want to do better than I am doing already.

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    1. I am the exact same! i think it is definitely something that a lot of people struggle with xx

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  13. Absolutely true, real good advice!

    -X-

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  14. The 'elephant burgers' concept is really cute and helpful. I'd like to keep that mind since I'll be starting our finals in a few weeks. Thanks for this post. It's so inspiring. :)

    Life With Antlers

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    1. its the cutest thing isnt it! aww good luck xx

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  15. Your blog is AMAzING .. And so neat :D love it
    makeupforlunch.blogspot.com

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