Does your life feel like – One Big Juggling Act?
Do you spend your days going around in circles?
Between preparing meals, helping with homework, attending ball games, dance recitals, laundry and grocery shopping you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel with no way of escape.
And sadly, these are just few of the MANY things required of you in a normal week.
Often, when people think of clutter, visual clutter is what comes to mind.
However, one of the most crippling forms of clutter facing most people today is cluttered calendars and schedules.
When you look at your calendar – paper or digital – does your heart to race a little?
And you think “How on earth, am I going to get all this done?”
Trust me – You Can and I am here to help.
While we are still in the beginning of this new year, I’ thought I’d share with you a few strategies I’ve found helpful in my own life as well as my clients over the past 20 years.
You’ve taken the first step – by deciding to read this post. Not that what I have to say has any magical powers – I’m sure when you get to the end you will realize you’ve heard it all before.
But I challenge you to let THIS TIME be different. Don’t just read but TAKE ACTION on what you read.
Baby steps are all I ask. You are worth it.
Take a peek at your calendar/schedule and ask yourself what one thing if completed (or not completed) would have the most impact your life – Today and Tomorrow?
That is where you put your FOCUS. Until that One thing is completed – Don’t worry about the other things on the list. (I realize you can’t always do that “one thing” the second your feet hit the floor – but you get my drift – Your “IT” has to take precedence over anything you’re able to accomplish in the day)
Once, you’ve followed me for a while you will realize … We don’t do Overwhelm!! (Sorry, I don’t mean to cause all you grammar experts to have a heart attack) 😉
Does that make you breathe a little better? I hope so.
It’s time to take control of your life, rather than allowing ‘life to control you’ – You deserve it, and so does your family!
I’m just going to assume that since you’re still reading you acknowledge a cluttered calendar is causing you stress – But where should you start?
Start by ‘stopping.’
- Stop over-committing!
I know that sounds a bit harsh…but, it’s ‘kinda like being in debt – it won’t go away until you stop overspending.
Well, it’s the same with your calendar…you will never gain control over the stress in your life if you say – Yes – to every project or activity that comes your way.
It’s better to do a few things well, than to do a lot of things – not so well! 🙂
* Instead of making a list of 20 (plus) things to accomplish in one day — which we both know is impossible to accomplish – And, immediately sets you up for failure and a feeling of overwhelm.
What’s should you do?
Moving forward, Make a List of the THREE most important things you need to accomplish – TODAY – (no carry over to tomorrow – because the goal is to stop the feeling of “being behind” all the time.)
Once you get in the HABIT of only working on (and completing) a few things each day – You will be amazed at the sense of accomplishment you feel and how quickly the stress will go away.
* Each evening before heading to bed – look over tomorrow’s calendar and Prioritize the 3 most important things you need to accomplish (not necessarily the 3 most urgent) and then tomorrow make sure you do those things FIRST before adding your next 3 things.
The same goes for your child – Remember, they’re just small adults and trying to do too many things at once overwhelms them also. Take sports for an example – they will never truly excel at any sport if they try to participate in all of them at the same time.
Help your child choose one activity or sport per season to be involved in.
Yes, you read that correctly…one not several. The same goes for you…find One thing you love to do and “commit” to excelling in it.
We are a society that hates making decisions but if you want to be “fully present” in this journey called life…you must make some choices (even tough ones.)
I am all for team sports (they are so great for your child on so many levels) but if your family never gets to sit down to a meal together “as a family” you are over committed (sorry but there is no other way to put it.)
- Create a Family Calendar
The key to good communication is having ONE centrally located calendar where everyone jot down their appointments, activities etc. It’s ok to keep individual calendars however, unless you live alone – you need ONE calendar that has everyone’s appointments listed on it.
This will go a long way in keeping communication problems at bay.
Nothing adds stress to your day like finding out at the last minute that you are supposed to be at a PTA meeting and a work-related conference at the same time.
- Don’t try to fill every minute
I know it’s tempting to write down EVERY SINGLE activity you’re supposed to do in any given day (just so you can cross it off — come on, you know you do — I get it — I used to do the same thing) …but trust me… looking at everything at once creates mental overwhelm.
Leave space on your calendar to catch up. Give yourself a buffer of 15 minutes several times a day.
- Make lists
Keep a notebook (I call this my Brain Dump book) nearby for everyone to write down things they need to do or items that need to be purchased. Refer to this book when you are making your daily “To Do List.” and choose one or two per day. This is so much easier than re-writing your To Do List – EVERYDAY.
Create master lists for things you do often, no reason to keep re-doing the same lists repeatedly.
As you start taking these baby steps to gain control of your calendar and your schedule you will be amazed at how much calmer you will feel.
While I listed FOUR ideas…Only FOCUS on ONE until it’s ingrained in your life so completely that you don’t ‘even have to think about it’…then and only then do you ADD number two.
Clutter (yes, that includes mental clutter) affects every area of your life: your relationships, your wallet and your health – That means, TODAY is a GREAT Day to start taking the necessary steps to eliminate all forms of clutter in your life.
There is JOY in a life without Clutter – Both – Mental and Physical!
Until next week 🙂