When I first started learning how to manage my anxiety, I discovered pretty quickly that a routine, stability, and a lack of surprises is my optimum functioning environment. I’m pretty sure that my childhood had a lot to do with that.
My little brother is on the autism spectrum and a large amount of my childhood revolved around that. Consistency and routine were key, right down to the fact that his peanut butter sandwiches had to be made just right.
Everything had to run on a schedule or he’d have a meltdown. My mom was a single mom and a lot of the time she was working two jobs. I had a lot of responsibility to maintain that, from getting him ready for school to the consistency of his bedtime routine.
I remember being generally anxious from the age of 10 or 11 on. I’m not sure if or how much that situation contributed to the development of my anxiety but I’m sure it factors in somewhere.
I learned from a very early age that routine is good.
And in my early 20s as my mental illness spiraled out of control, I re-discovered that to me, routine and organization is a really important aspect of my life. When I am able to organize my life and plan everything around me – the overwhelm lessens.
I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes the scales tip in the other direction and I know that I can be too rigid and my sense of spontaneity leaves something to be desired but I’m working on that and I feel like I’m making a ton of progress!
A few months ago, I was looking for tools to help me organize my business and I discovered the awesomeness that is Trello. It’s a free website (they also have an app) and it’s all about organization. You can make lists and checklists and all kinds of fun stuff.
Then I noticed that instead of just planning out my social media and blog posts and emails – I was using it for a ton of other stuff. When I’d get overwhelmed with how I was going to meet a deadline and get the dishes done and make time for my friends and sleep – it became a great way to see everything so that I could focus on time management.
I decided to make a board for you all! It’s super cute and colorful and way more organized than what mine initially looked like, ha!
Let’s talk about Trello!
You need to create an account on Trello to use it but like I said, it’s totally free. P.S. I’m not getting paid to tell you how much I love it. After you create your account, click on this link, and then click on the button that says “Create Board From Template”.
Let me give you a quick guide! The board is called Blessing Manifesting Life Stuff, catchy name, eh? But when you create your board you’ll have the option to name it something different if you want.
So we refer to the whole thing as a board. Under that, there are “Lists” and here on this board, the lists are named Sunday-Saturday.
With me so far? We have one board, and then seven lists!
Inside each list are five “cards“. They’re named To-Do List, Household Chores, Self-Care, Personal Goals, and notes.
The cards are where the awesomeness takes place. Let’s say it’s Monday, so go to the Monday list and click on the “To-Do List” Card.
In the description box, you can write whatever you want. You can type in your list of to-dos or you can create a “checklist” which gives you the ability to create just that. I find it rewarding to tick a little box off.
You can plan out your days in advance or you can do the days as they come. You can also set deadlines for the really important stuff, add pictures, and best of all, leave yourself supportive comments. (I’ve totally done that!)
Tip: Archiving a list or a card on Trello is the same thing as deleting it.
I love that while I’m at work I can manage Trello on my phone and then when I get home I can use my desktop. It lets me bounce between them easily, which I can appreciate.
So that’s my little tip on how to manage life with less overwhelm and with more predictability.
So what about you? Do you thrive on routine or are you a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of person?