I’ve been drawn to check out library books with titles like 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, Say Goodbye To Survival Mode and Zen Habits Handbook for Life.
There is definitely a theme here. I constantly feel like there is not enough time to get everything done. And you know what? THERE ISN’T! Not when you are simply trying to do more than any one person on earth should be doing.
As I first realized I was tackling just way too much in life, I started to try and figure out why I was in so deep. Was I trying to escape? Was I trying to prove something? Was I trying to find worth in things that I shouldn’t?
These are all very valid questions, and I’m sure it’s a little of all of the above, but instead of drowning in introspection, I simply got to work. Clearing, sorting, organizing, seeing results, fulfilling tasks, knowing that some of the things I was doing were for the LAST TIME. This got me moving in a positive direction, helped me see more clearly through every step, and now, just a couple of months later, I am in a much better place, sleeping more than I have for years, feeling somewhat healthy again (spiritually, emotionally, physically – all of it!).
I wanted to share a general plan with you – to start to clear the plate of the “good” stuff, and make room for the “God” stuff.
1st Step – List the things you are currently involved in – work, volunteer, household, activities for the family, hobbies & interests – what are you up to these days?
Caution: This step might make you dizzy or cause your vision to blur, but just – keep – going.
Mine looked something like this for Fall 2013 – Fall 2014…
Household – Cooking from scratch MOST of the time , couponing and shopping flyers, finding deals on EVERYTHING to lower expenses, most of the cleaning, gardening, child care (for The Youngest), dropping off/picking up boys from school, finances and budgeting, drive boys to many of their activities, drive hubby to work-related appointments (we have just the one car).
Volunteer – School field trips, help at school events, Parent Council, help with reading club, Co-lead a church plant for university students at the local campus (meets on a weekly basis through the school year), help to create vision for church planting in Northern Ontario, most of organizing for international mission trip and local mission trip with church (took two teams of 12 people on each trip), help out at Sunday school, help out at local children’s camps for 2-3 weeks in the summer, and a few other odds and ends.
Writing – Self-publish first book, maintain personal blog, submit bi-monthly articles for women’s magazine.
Hobbies/Interests – these really took a back seat during the past year… tried to get out for walks, sewed pillowcases for us and curtains to take on one of the mission trips (after clearing the dust off my sewing machine that had accumulated from years of neglect!), got together with friends for a women’s dinner every month for a while, attended a women’s conference out of town that I LOVED.
Other – administrate rental income for one property
That’s what I can think of right now…. there’s probably more… and I used to wonder why I had trouble sleeping!!
This step was actually really freeing for me – to see and understand that it’s not lack of time management skills or organization or motivation, it’s just trying to do too much all at once!
2nd Step – Ask yourself – Why? Why am I doing all these things? Are they truly important? Is God in this at all?
This is where the dizziness fades and the blurred vision clears.
If you can’t give a good answer to WHY? then you can let it go… seriously.
Like if you’re doing a ton of things because you should be or because others tell you they are important, it’s absolutely time to reevaluate. This is your time to answer to GOD and YOU – no one else.
3rd Step – Start to clear your plate – what can come off the to-do list?
Like I let go of growing my own vegetables for now and started ordering local food boxes instead.
Like I let go of trying to eat vegan and started making a few recipes for the family that are meatless instead.
Like I started to sort through the very long list of amazing volunteer opportunities I am involved in, and I’m learning to say no to even the good things. I’m praying a ton and asking God to guide me to only the things He’d like to see on the plate when it comes to volunteering.
Like I found an easier way of doing the household finances and budgeting that works for ME.
4th Step – Focus on what’s left on the plate – what does GOD want to keep on there? What do YOU want to keep on there?
Health is very important – my favourite work outs are not in a gym, they are outside in nature – a walk, hike, swim, bike ride, playing with the boys. So I started walking for about 30 -45 minutes almost every day (be it a hike up a hill with one of the sons to see the fall colours, or a stroll down the street with Hubby to the lake, or discovering new trails with a friend, or just a saunter by myself) and I feel much better, and life is much richer because of that one small thing.
Eating good food is very important. Learning the basics of eating well is NOT EASY when there are so many conflicting views out there. Time and again I am drawn back to food in its natural state, even full of fat (good fat) and calories (good calories), and learning to eat less food that packs more of a nutrition punch. And I’m trying a ton of new recipes with ingredients I have ON HAND (so no pressure to run to the store!). We are also learning to freeze and can and look for free sources of local food (we picked a TON of apples from trees in our neighbourhood this fall and Josh made lots of jars of yummy applesauce!).
Keeping a functional household is very important for all the members of Team Sklar to run at full capacity – I am learning to delegate much more, focusing on getting the basics done and realizing it’s OK to leave the rest until it’s really needed.
For me, writing/blogging is very important and is becoming more of a priority than ever before – and this is a GOOD thing! It’s not a distraction, it’s actually a huge part of what makes me tick! I am setting goals and deadlines that will help me see accomplishments with this area of my life, so I can know I am getting somewhere with all the words in my head and my heart.
And my love of words extends to reading books – I am doing this every day – even if only a few pages or a chapter each day – last night I started a book I’ve wanted to read for a while (Anne of Avonlea), only got 2 pages done before I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore, but it’s a start!
So… this is all a good start. A God start. I’ll keep asking Him for guidance as I go along on this new path of LESS and MORE. Less busyness and exhaustion and emptiness. More health, fullness, generosity.
Another part of my life that was due for some Crazy Change this year.
And it always comes back to Living in the Moments.