When I decided to stop longing for order and do something about it, I wanted to get the biggest gain for the least amount of effort. Was there a magic formula out there to give me more time with my kids, declutter my house, purge my junk, create creative storage systems, track my spending, file my paperwork, and curate my memorabilia? I read productivity books and listened to organization podcasts looking for the answer. The answer was....no. There are certainly many, many tools to use and frameworks to help us, but all of them have one thing in common - You have to DO the work!
Before I was ready to actually do anything, I needed to decide what it was I wanted to accomplish. I knew I wanted to get rid of the sense of dread I felt at the thought of some tasks in my life, I knew I wanted to spend less of my time cleaning my house, I knew I wanted to stop losing things, I knew I wanted more time with my kids and husband, I knew I wanted more of the feeling I had when I walked into someone else’s house that smelled good and had no clutter, I knew I wanted to feel in control of my finances, I knew I wanted a wardrobe of clothes that I liked and fit me. That’s all - - not too much to ask, right? Just that list in and of itself was overwhelming - where in the world would I start?
I consider the beginning of my journey to be when I sought wise council. I did this through working with a coach. Coaching was fantastic - I could just spew out all my frustrations, my fears and my shortcomings, and I learned about tools that I could apply in my own life. The biggest two takeaways from that experience were:
Boom, mic drop - I realized I was drowning in my own pool of expectations. I had asked myself, “Why can’t I do it all? Why can’t I work full time, commute 2 hours/day, keep a clean and orderly house, maintain a garden and flowers, be an involved and loving parent, a dependable volunteer, an active church member, a caring friend, a helpful daughter, a loving wife, remember to schedule and go to regular health care appointments for everyone in my family, arrange childcare and transportation for two kids, manage the family budget, maintain elaborate scrapbooks of all our family activities, plan said activities and vacations, read enriching books, keep up with a hobby, stay informed about current events, and assure that I had time for myself?” Why couldn’t I do all of those things?? Because it was IMPOSSIBLE for one human being to do all of those things to the level that I expected them to be done. I had to have help, and I had to be realistic with my time and set boundaries. Coming to that realization was life changing. I sincerely want you to come to that same realization. You are not a failure.
"Why couldn’t I do all of those things?? Because it was IMPOSSIBLE for one human being to do all of those things to the level that I expected them to be done."
If you’re like me, you can focus on a fraction of things you’re responsible for and do them REALLY well, but then the other areas of your life suffer. I would go on like that until the areas I wasn’t paying attention to were in real danger of being destroyed, and then I’d switch my focus - and it would cycle like that over and over again. It was exhausting. Eventually I learned to prune my responsibilities down to what really mattered to me and lower my own standards so that I didn’t leave any area of my life in total disarray.
I started with the hard part - the head and heart part What matters most to me? How do I get there? What/who can or should I eliminate from my life that is keeping me from what matters most? Where can I afford to lower expectations in my life? Once I got through that, I started thinking functionally. What could I do in my everyday life that would make me feel more ‘in order’? The answer to these questions are multi-faceted and broad and what inspired me to start this blog. I look forward to sharing some of these changes I made in my life with you in future posts. I'd love to hear your experiences about making changes that helped you feel more in control of your life - share in the comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A great read:
A woman with many roles in life who knows the necessity of keeping things in order!