I have had a many conversations in the past about feeling overwhelmed with all the things that need to be done in a day. I am talking all the life stuff and how you find time for it all. I hear all the time I do not have time to _______ fill in the blank. Many times that blank is workout, or eat healthy or even sleep.
I do not care what your life looks like, you could be a stay at home mom with 5 children, or you could be a working parent with 2 kids, or you could be like me a working wife that has fur babies. Are all lives and responsibilities may look a little different but the one thing we do have in common is a full schedule.
This week on top of all my routine nightly chores I did errands, worked out all 5 mornings, found time to go to church to get together with the sewing group for the first time, had a zoom call with my confidence group and even went to bed at 7:30pm the other night.
What is my secret, I prioritize things that are most important to me. I believe it was Mel Robbins that I heard say plan a quit time each day. I have started applying this to chores in the evening. I was starting to notice that I would get myself very stressed in the evening trying to do it all on my to-do list and would feel guilty if I did not get it all done. I sometimes would not go do activities I was interested in or invited too because of it.
I started each day picking things that I know need to be done each night which tend to be making supper, feeding the kitties, filling the humidifiers, packing lunches and scooping litter boxes. If there is extra time before my “quitting time” I do another task that is on the list but I never let it stress me out if I do not get to it. That may mean there is a lot of kitty fur on my floor, dirty dishes in the sink, clean dishes in the dishwasher and laundry in the dryer. It will all still be there when I get to it the next day, and I figure if God does not grant me another day if someones first thought is “did you see she left dirty dishes in the sink” I think they are the ones with the problems. Life is way too short and precious to care about dirty dishes.
The nights that I have an activity that I want to prioritize my list of things I get done maybe even smaller. My quit time may change and I may have to push my bedtime to accommodate. The key is to knowing what is the most important thing that needs to be done and let the others wait to take the pressure off ourselves that us women are very good at putting on ourselves.
Another thing that has helped me tremendously is knowing what time of the day I work best. I had always been a night person, but I have now changed to a morning person. Since I am a morning person it is also why I have such an early bedtime especially during the week. Working out, more specifically half marathon training is important to me. I have learned that the only way I stay committed to that and constant is to get my workouts done in the morning. Once my day is started it is much harder for me to get my working done, especially during the week. I am tired by the end of my day and if I put my workout off until then, I do not have as much energy during my day and I am too tired by the time I get home too get it done. So, I wake up some mornings at 4:15am to drink my coffee and have a little food before getting a workout in.
One of my biggest pet peeves has to be people saying I am to “busy”. We all have a lot of things going on in life, I do not know a single person who is not “busy”. If something is truly important to you, you will find a way. I have a full scheduled but for the most part I am in full control of it and if I really want to do something I will. I am learning to schedule time to get things done that are truly important to me and saying no sometimes when things do not inline with my goals.
As I said above, I am a busy wife that works full time, has 4 fur babies to take care of, a house to run with cooking and cleaning, at minimum a monthly infusion that is 3 hours and other routine medical appointments. I still manage to find time to see friends, spend time with my husband, attend bible study, write on my blog one time a week, working on writing my book, working out and work on my hobbies.
I am not perfect and have moments where I feel overwhelmed with that, I then remind myself that I am choosing to do all of these things and somethings on my schedule can wait. Even right now, I still have some Christmas decorations up, did not get them all down when I took the tree down a few weeks ago. I have so much dust in my house I could write my name in it and I currently have a load of cloths in the washer that needs to go into the dryer. I have prioritized that Friday nights will be my writing night so while I finish this post the cloths will be in the washer, I am sure they will still be waiting for me when I get up in a minutes. The dust will still be there tomorrow when I hope to have a little time after my run, and if someone wants to judge me on my nativity scene still being up they certainly can.
When I really sat down and thought about all the things that caused me so much stress, I came to this one simple conclusion:
I was the only person putting all the pressure on me.
I had no one to blame for all the pressure I was feeling but myself. I had no one telling me I had to do all of these things, in my head I felt that in order to be the best wife, cat mommy, and women in general I needed to do all of it every night and have this perfect house. Truth is this, the only thing I need to do is take care of myself first. If I do not take care of myself, then I will not have anything left to give to others.
I have added one other trick in the last few weeks. It is based on a concept in the book How to Get Shit Done by Erin Falconer. I believe she words is as the Big 3. I look at it as I am picking 3 big goals I want to focus on right now and that is all. Right now I am focusing on half marathon training, writing (which includes my blog and my book) and connecting with others (which I have been doing by going to bible study and sewing). For everything I say yes too I think if it is in line with these 3 goals and if its not, then I figure out if it is something that is worth making a priority.
So far it has worked well. I have been able to stay committed to getting weekly posts done and writing on my book weekly. I have been training by running 3 days a week, which going to bed early has helped my training. I also move things around and go to bed early different days when I know its week of bible study and I will be up later. Its all about balance and living a life that I am working towards things that bring me closer to my goals and bring me joy.
I am very glad I have made some of the changes I have lately and it has impacted me in positive ways so far. I have even been able to spend more time with my husband on the weekends while he practices his hobby and I do not feel guilty. I know I have the things done I need to for that day and can bring my crafting with and do something fun and relaxing guilt free.
One other thing that I forgot to message here and I think is so important. ASK FOR HELP! As women, for some reason we hate to ask for help. I think we get it in our head that no one can do it like we can. Get rid of that though right NOW! I learned a long time ago it does not matter if the dishwasher is loaded like I do it, all that matters is the dirty dishes are in the dishwasher. It is one less thing I have to worry about. You have to specifically ask too, if you are asking someone to do something save yourself the trouble and leave out the subtle hints. If you cannot read someones mind they cannot read yours. You want your husband to take the trash out, say to him hey babe can you please take this trash out. Use the exact words of what you want done so whoever you are asking knows what to do!
If you have something you can outsource by all means do that. If you hate cleaning, maybe you can budget and have someone come in and clean. I have thought about this, truth is though I enjoy cleaning. So, I have made the choice that I will live in a little bit dirtier house at times so I can get my writing done and still do the cleaning when I have time because it brings me joy. Never be afraid to hire help, especially if you can afford to.
Now I have a challenge for you. I challenge you to do what I do. Think of things that are causing you too feel pressure. If they are things that you alone are putting the extra pressure on yourself, see if you can find a way to lessen that pressure. Also, find 3 things that you want to focus on for your life that make you happy. Schedule those things and say no to all things that do not aline with those 3 things.
This may cause people to now understand why you do the things you do but that is okay. You live your life how it works for you and do what brings you joy. Do not worry about what others are doing or what they may think about you. You do you my friend and rock you life filled with JOY!