We all go through periods of life when we’re unusually busy.

Whether it’s a few hectic days around a deadline at work or a few sleepless months after the birth of a child, there are stretches of time when our normal routine is disrupted and we’re left scrambling, trying to get everything done in far less time than we’re accustomed to.

Invariably, we neglect some area of our life: diet and exercise, family time, a hobby or three, our finances, or keeping a clean house. And most of us feel bad about it. We should be able to do everything, right?

No. When you’re swamped, something has to give. No matter how far you follow the time management rabbit hole (and I’m in there pretty deep), you’ve only got 24 hours each day. When the pressure’s on, something will be neglected. The key is to choose what to neglect.

Decide in advance: the next time you’re extraordinarily busy, what should be left undone? Eating well? Time with family? Probably not. What about keeping the house spotless or the garden watered? Personally, I’m willing to sacrifice in those areas in order to ensure higher priorities still get some attention.

What’s most expendable in your daily life? Can you think of 1-3 activities that you could let slide for a few days or weeks if necessary? I encourage you to give it some serious thought.

Life is messy, and when you’re unusually busy, something’s not going to get done. By choosing what to neglect, you can keep your top priorities where they belong and reduce feelings of guilt at the same time.