Busy-Day Hacks to Use When Everything is on Fire

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Keeping your head above water can be challenging when you’re having one of those days where everything feels like it’s on fire. But with these busy-day hacks, you can power through and get everything done. These tips will help you through the day without losing your mind, from streamlining your to-do list to taking breaks when needed.

Use a To-Do List

When everything is on fire, and you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be helpful to create a to-do list. A to-do list will help you focus on what needs to be done and avoid getting sidetracked.

To-do lists can be helpful for busy days because they:

  • Help you prioritize tasks
  • Keep you focused on what’s important
  • Help you avoid getting sidetracked

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try using a to-do list to help you get through your busy day.

I’ll mention several digital tools, but some days, you can’t beat a legal pad and some of your favorite markers or pens to make a list and check things off as you go.

Checking off things on your to-do list can give you a boost. According to the Trello blog, “When we have even a small amount of success, our brains release dopamine, which makes us feel pleasure, learn, and be motivated to repeat the actions that led to that success.” Neuroscientists call this “self-directed learning.”

Busy-Day Hacks for Work Tasks

It can be hard to know what to do when everything seems on fire. However, some busy-day hacks can help you get through it all. First, break down your tasks into smaller, more manageable pieces. This will help you focus and avoid getting overwhelmed. Don’t try to do everything at once. If possible, delegate or outsource some of your tasks.

This will help you have time to focus on the most important things.

Finally, stay positive and remember that you can get through anything if you take it one step at a time.

Take Breaks

When it feels like everything is on fire, taking breaks is essential. That way, you can return to your work refreshed and ready to tackle whatever is ahead. Here are a few busy-day hacks to use when you need a break:

  • Listen to music: Put on your favorite tunes and relax for a few minutes.
  • Call a friend: Catch up with someone you care about and take your mind off work.
  • Update your list: Sometimes, taking a break to organize your thoughts can help you be more productive when you start working again.

Take a Walk

Walking can help us clear our heads and refocus, even briefly. We can take some deep breaths and enjoy the scenery around us. Walking can also help to increase our energy levels so we can get back to tackling our to-do list with renewed vigor.

Studies have shown that walking can help reduce stress and improve your mood. So if you can find even 15 minutes to spare, go for a walk. And if you can’t get outside, walking around your house or apartment will do the trick.

Drink Water

While coffee (or whatever your preferred source of caffeine may be) can help boost your energy level, water can help improve your health and keep you feeling strong all day.

Water helps to flush out toxins, which improves your overall health. It also helps to keep your joints supple.


Let your team know you're tight on a deadline and won't be in the group chat much. This will help alleviate the guilt feelings and FOMO for messages. Check in when you can and let them know when you're caught back up, too.

If you're working at home, let the people in the house know that you've got to double-own on your focus today.

Sound-proof Yourself

One thing that helps me focus is white noise. I have a white noise machine I found on Amazon that helps me tune out everything: dogs barking, neighborhood noise, or someone else on the phone. A fan might work, too. Low-level ambient noise can help focus and creativity.

You can also try something like A Soft Murmor. It's cool because you can create a mix of sounds like wind, a coffee shop, or simply white noise.

Order a Healthy Lunch

Since your day will be crazy, set a calendar item to order your favorite healthy lunch for delivery. You won’t skip your meal or have to stop to make lunch.

When you plan to order, you don’t have the issue of starving at noon with nothing to eat and no time to make anything. This could lead to bad food choices.

Once your food arrives, you can leave your computer and have something delicious for lunch.

Set an Email Responder

If you know you’re going to need deep focus mode, snooze your email notifications with SaneBox. I’m guilty of checking my email too often; Outlook 365 recommended I check email less.

SaneBox helps me by sorting messages into folders like Do Not Disturb. I can schedule OOO messages, which helps me stay organized and let people know I won’t respond to emails until Monday or at a specific time. SaneBox’s AI removes unimportant emails from your cluttered inbox and moves them to the appropriate folders, learning from mistakes.

Super efficient!

Create Boundaries with Settings

Turn off notifications that might distract you!

According to Wired, On “macOS, the notification settings follow the same approach as on iOS. If you open up the Apple menu and choose System Preferences, you'll find the options you need under Notifications & Focus. Select an application on the left from the Notifications tab to configure its notifications (sounds, alert style) on the right.

Switch to the Focus tab, and you can set up rules about which notifications can come through at which times.”

Set your technology to help you succeed and become more productive with each choice.

By the way, you should have separate notifications for after-work and weekends, so work notifications, emails, or texts don’t hit you when you’re off the clock: boundaries, my friend, boundaries.

Are you setting proper work boundaries? 🤨

Digital Tools to Help You Stay on Track

  • Trello
  • Notion
  • Use a timer on your phone to schedule breaks.
  • Notes – I love to use my Notes on my phone, and it syncs everywhere
  • Canva – I use folders to organize my projects and assets.

What are your best tricks for staying afloat when everything seems on fire? Please share with me in the comments.

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