In a society where our daily lives can be weighed downed with stress, we must make choices and plan ahead of time to minimize this stress. Our choices to be complacent could start a snowball effect of unnecessary dilemmas. For example, an anniversary is coming up. You know that day is approaching. You can't figure out what to get, what to do or where to go so you unconsciously just keep putting it off. The day comes and now you have to scramble from making plans for sitters, re-arranging your day and having to manage many tasks instead of enjoying the day and focusing on the reason for the anniversary. You can also choose to do nothing and deal with a whole new set of misery (admit it - we all want to feel special enough for someone else to make an effort, even a simple one, rather that get a haphazard arrangement of street picked flowers as a last minute afterthought).
Easier said than done you are saying to yourself, but yes - it is easier to take a proactive approach to our daily routine. I feel it is necessary for sanity and it is also less stress on the pocket. Here are a few tips that may satisfy both:
Time management: Some may think it is too time consuming to jot down "to do" items of the day, but I find it helpful to look at a list ahead of time and make time slots of when I can do them throughout the day. A trip to the post office at lunchtime sure beats racing through traffic at 4:45pm before the post office shuts its door (and I have found that sometimes doors are already shut at 4:55 pm and pounding the door down does not do any good).
Deals: I like to look for deals for things that I need (proactive) and try not to impulse buy while doing so. Also, getting deals forces me to plan and schedule. I like to get my nails done, so when I see a special - I get it and schedule it on the spot. It's also a great way to do things with family and friends. I recently received great tickets for advance purchase to a concert that also was a present for a friend.
Planner: Whether it is electronic or a piece of paper, whatever will assist you to see your schedule even in a bird's-eye view is worth the effort. Jot down and make arrangements for annual physicals, dental cleanings for the family and oil changes. Also carve out some time for fun stuff such as a picnic breakfast, movie in the park, watching the moonrise or some type of outdoor event. Better yet, plan to combat stress by making a plan to exercise or get a massage.
'Stop and smell the roses' may be a cliché, but we just need a reminder from time to time to make sure that we at least make to effort to not have a harried, everyday life ladened with multiple extras that turn out to be more stressful than enjoyed.