I try not to swear on my blog but my bestie sent that to me the other day and it perfectly sums up how we’ve been feeling about ourselves and life lately. And it made me laugh. ? I don’t think many of us are immune to feeling overly busy and like we’re failing to get it all done. There are always too many things to do, too many commitments, and too many other things we’d LIKE to fit in that we never get to.
For me, I’d like to get on top of my diet, again removing sugar and processed food (and sticking to it this time). We have a wedding in the Dominican Republic next spring and I’d like my legs to be cleared up by then (I have a skin condition that I’ve figured out is candida and therefore is brought on by sugar). I’d also like to get on top of our finances and pay off our debts, to be better about exercise and taking care of myself, and to have regular time to work on the blog and projects around the house. For quite a while now all of that has seemed like a nearly impossible task.
To make matters worse, I’m more prone to mistakes than I ever was before. I mess up dates, forget to do things, miss birthdays. I’m supposed to be the ORGANIZED one! Talk about feeling like a hot mess!
I’m happy to say, though, that I’m working towards a solution, albeit baby steps. As much as I want it all together RIGHT NOW, that’s not realistic. Trying to be successful in everything all at once…keeping up with housework and the blog, staying on top of finances, planning meals and eating healthy, working out, time with family, meeting commitments and somehow squeezing in time for things I want to do…is just setting myself up for failure. I’ve learned I’m a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to changing habits. (Not in other areas of my life, mind you. #aintnobodygottimeforthat) If I plan to start adhering to a specific diet tomorrow, for example, and midday I cheat and sneak some of my daughter’s Halloween candy, I’m likely to let that one mistake snowball into more sugar later…then some bread…and so on. I’m trying to teach myself to move on from that slip-up and get back on the wagon.
It’s been almost three months since I started working outside the home full time. I wanted to start my job with meals in the freezer, my house all organized, and generally just feeling “caught up”. That didn’t happen. Not even close. I continued watching daycare kids up until I had to start work, and my other commitments didn’t go away, either, of course. For the past few months, then, I’ve been trying to get into some sort of routine so that I could get on top of everything. This past week or so I finally felt like I was making progress in that direction. What am I doing different? Here are the main changes that I’m implementing that are making a big difference:
Getting up earlier
I know, I know. None of us want to do that. But the reality is that by the time I get home from work, I’m usually spent. Two nights a week I still have to run Faith to activities, and I sometimes have my own commitments in the evening. Aside from that, the evenings are when supper needs to be made, when I have the most time to take care of the house, and when I get to spend (a little) time with my family. When I was doing daycare and had to get up around 5:15 for a daycare child that arrived at 5:45, I got quite a bit done in those early morning hours before Faith was up and the other kids arrived. I enjoyed the quiet time to sip my coffee and check email, and managed to get quite a bit done in just a couple of hours. While I haven’t been 100% consistent yet, I can definitely tell a big difference when I do get up early.
My goal is to get up at 5:10. Not only do I have more time to get ready for work, which starts my day off better because I’m not so rushed and stressed, I also manage to make a healthy lunch and pack snacks, read devotions, take care of a little housework, and work on other things that need tending to, like the blog or bills. On days that I decide to snooze for an extra 20 minutes, I feel the lack of time. I am so much happier and proud, even, when I get up as planned and knock some things off my to-do list!
This is another tough one, but if you have more commitments than time and you’re not able to get to the things that bring you passion and joy, then it’s time to evaluate what can go. After months of debating and trying to figure out where I could cut back on my commitments, I finally decided to quit teaching Jazzercise. Though I will continue to go as a customer and generally love being an instructor, the few extra hours a week planning sets, learning routines and taking care of any other time commitments that went along with the job became something that I dreaded. Not only that, but I found myself thinking, “even though this took just a few hours, I could have spent that on…”(this, that or the other thing). Having one less thing scheduled is also going to be freeing for me, I believe. There’s a lot that I will miss, but it is my intent and hope that since I will be able to devote that time to things that are now higher on my priority list, that it will all be worth the trade-off.
Prioritize and do the least fun things first
Prioritizing time is always important in time-management, especially when you consistently can’t get things done. I try to do the things that have a deadline first, leaving things that I’d just “like” to get done for last, if there’s time. Having a master list for those items is helpful so that if you don’t get to a project for a while, you don’t completely forget about it. If you wind up having free time on a given day or weekend, you can refer to the master list to find a project that you’d like to accomplish. Oh what a joy it would be to complete my master list!
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain
The other thing I find helpful is to “eat frogs” as the saying goes, or do the things I least want to do first. When I know something has to be done but I’m particularly dreading it (or would rather do something else on my list), I try to do the dreaded thing first. Getting those things out of the way makes the rest of the day more enjoyable knowing that they’re done, and I can look forward to the tasks I’d rather do as the day goes on.
I’m going into my second full week after retiring from teaching Jazzercise and am very anxious to get into a good daily and weekly routine. Unfortunately I haven’t even been back to workout yet as I’ve been fighting some upper respiratory stuff that has primarily included a bad cough that just won’t leave. I have been trying to rest and recover, and figured I’d use that extra time to really get some things done, but eventually I’m going to have to figure out how to do those things AND get my workout in! Last week was largely devoted to completing a project for school (more on that later), so I’m excited to see what I can accomplish this week getting up early every day! I also have been trying out an app that I think is going to be really helpful, so after I’ve used it a while I’ll let you know what I think about that, too!