Getting your life in order: The destressing hack you probably need

If your ‘life admin’ is getting out of hand, the GYLIO movement could be just what you need to ease stress and improve your wellbeing.

Each semester, students at Queen’s College at the University of Melbourne are given a week to consider how they can manage their academic workload, their physical and emotional health and day-to-day life.

Called GYLIO Week – Get Your Life In Order – it helps students take care of “life admin” so they can clear their mind and focus on their studies.

Students can use the week to pay bills, do laundry and catch up on necessary but mundane chores. They also use the time to exercise and pursue new interests.

What is GLYIO all about?

The GYLIO concept is not only helpful to students.

Setting aside time to focus on niggling tasks can help anyone get rid of what some researchers call “attention residue”.

This is the idea that having a long “to-do” list is distracting and creates stress.

“You want to do everything and be everywhere but that’s an impossible task and you will always be dissatisfied, stressed, disappointed and frustrated,” says psychologist Dr Tim Sharp, founder of The Happiness Institute.

Get proactive, not reactive

Not setting aside time to do “life admin” means it hangs over us and puts us in reactive mode, explains organisational psychologist Dr Amantha Imber.

“It’s easy to react and respond to requests from other people or emails, but when we are in auto-pilot we don’t make the best and most productive choices,” says Dr Imber.

“GYLIO time switches you into being proactive and thinking about what you need to do, what matters most and your goals.”

Top tips to get your life in order

Don’t buy in to busyness delusion

We all have the same number of hours in the day but some use those hours more wisely, says Dr Imber: “Rather than saying ‘I am so busy I don’t have time’, recognise that as an excuse.”

Track your time

Track your activities every 15 minutes for a week.

“It’s tedious but you may be surprised at how you actually spend the 168 hours in your week,” says Dr Imber. “It gives you a bird’s eye view of how you allocate your time.”

Have tech-free time

“A lot of time can be wasted with technology,” says Dr Sharp.

“Real-life interactions are important and so is spending time on health and relationships. “Technology and social media should facilitate a great life – not be a great life.”

So build tech-free time into your GYLIO time.

The GYLIO rule of one in 168

Dedicate one of the 168 hours a week to GYLIO time.

“Block it out in your diary, make an appointment with yourself and use that time to do the jobs that are weighing you down and to focus on priorities for the week ahead,” says Dr Imber.

Wake 10 minutes earlier

Fit GYLIO time into your daily routine by setting your alarm ten minutes earlier and use those precious minutes to work out how to best use your time.

Written by Sarah Marinos.