So much has been said and written about life-work-family balance, it seems like we’d be done talking by now. Still, there are houses to run, careers to have, and children to feed. In that respect we will always be talking about doing it all — about life balance, also known by it’s not-so-loaded name: time management.
No time. No time.
When people call Get Organized Already looking for help organizing their homes, they are often reaching out because they don’t have time to organize, or they haven’t had time in the past years so their situation has gotten overwhelming.
How we spend our time is one of the primary contributors to how organized we feel.
If I make time in my days for things that are important to me– things that make me feel good– I feel organized. If I wake up with no plan and other people throwing things at me that they want done– I feel like a hot mess.
Let me drop a big secret about doing it all- you can’t. You can’t do it all. I can’t either. So, we need to prioritize the things we want to do and find happiness in feeling a little more in control of what we do each day.
If putting things away daily so you can relax without looking at a mess is a priority to you, you will do it. If looking at a mess in your home is a lower priority than other activities, you will not put things away for awhile.
And what is wrong with that?
I’m a professional organizer. I make a living helping people organize their homes and lives, and here I am saying it’s okay to not put things away. Of course it’s okay! It’s more than okay. I think procrastination is an unavoidable part of life.
Procrastination is a large part of our life-balance. And I’m not here to make you feel like a loser for not keeping a tidy house.
My goal is to get you thinking about what is working in your home. And what practices are not working.
I believe balance is when you feel good about your choices as an individual.
I believe balance is always shifting.
There is no cookie-cutter model for achieving a work-family-self balance in your life. Finding balance is like parenting. Everyone feels like they could be better at both things. But the reality is, the majority of people (including you!) are doing a pretty darn good job.
So, how do you start making time for more of what makes you happy?
First step- Give yourself some creditMake an “I did it” list instead of a “To do” list. Click To Tweet
When you collapse into bed at the end of the day, think about all of the tiny miracles you facilitated in the last 16 hours. You are accomplishing so many things each day! Some things you accomplish may be more important than others. More on that later.
Next step- What do you want to be doing?
Think about what sort of activities, people, and maybe even things you want more of in your life. What are your goals for the month?
- To be more social?
- To get more sleep?
- To eat less sugar?
- To clear out the guest bedroom?
Are there friends you haven’t talked to in years and they live 20 miles away? It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?! I do the same thing.
So take this time to think about those people. Take time to think about the tasks and activities that make you feel good.
You are going to feel push back from yourself. You are going to tell yourself,
There’s no way I am going to be able to clear out the guest bedroom. There’s no way I’m going to get around to visiting that friend. I’m too damn busy!
Think about them anyway. If you are a visual person, or someone who enjoys writing, write down these things that make you feel good. Sketch some ideas on a scrap piece of paper while you are in a meeting. However you notate the feel good things to yourself, see if you can allow your brain to stay there for a few minutes. Let’s call these people, activities, and goals your priorities.
Now look at your schedule for today and tomorrow. Are any of the activities in your days moving you toward your priorities? Are any of the activities moving you away from your priorities?
You know what I’m going to say, right?
Start cutting out things that aren’t top priorities and give your schedule room to breathe. What can you outsource or say no to this week?
Maybe you feel really awful cancelling activities other people are counting on you to do. In that case, try this experiment.
Imagine the situation was reversed. Imagine the person counting on you is supposed to do what you are doing, and you are counting on them instead.
Now imagine they backed out of the thing. How would you feel?
Hopefully, acknowledging those feelings will help you make a more objective decision about what you can actually cancel!
As Amy Pohler says, “Make ‘No.’ a complete sentence.”
Give yourself room to say YES! to the good stuff.
It’s okay if you don’t cancel anything this week. It’s okay if you cancel all of the things this week! Just try to start thinking about your priorities.
Next week I’ll get into some practical steps to help open up space on your schedule. For now, work on figuring out what you DO want more of in your one, precious life.