The month of May felt like utter chaos to me. The festivities around a family member’s wedding kicked off with a roaring bang, I was offered a job at a local hospice after spending one morning there as a volunteer, and I was waiting to hear back from my university about the result of my thesis, checking my e-mail almost five times a day. All in all, life felt like it was completely out of my grasp.
To re-establish order, I made three big changes and while they may seem obvious, they helped me put life back into perspective, and made me feel infinitely better.
The first big change I made was to say no. If your planner, like mine, is overflowing with birthdays, parties, appointments, work and social events (and you still need to fit other life-related tasks in), then the best thing you can do, right now, is to say no. Say no to meeting those friends for dinner even if you haven’t seen them in a while. Say no to watching your neighbour’s kids on the one night you have off. Say no to being on that new committee. Before you commit yourself to something new when your life is already feeling too busy, say no.
While guilt and disappointment sometimes rear their ugly heads when you’ve got to turn something down you would’ve otherwise said yes to, I’ve found that, in busy periods, saying no leaves me with time – even short, little pockets of it, found in the unlikeliest of places – and that’s important when you’re trying to regroup and find a little room to breathe.
I also took the time to copy down any commitments that were floating around elsewhere (my phone, an e-mail, Facebook) and transferred them into my Erin Condren Life Planner*, so I had a complete overview of the upcoming weeks ahead.
The second big change I made was to reset. I cleaned my kitchen, cleaned out the fridge, wiped down the counters, washed and put away all of the laundry, and generally polished and tidied my home until it was, again, the way I wanted it. If anyone’s interested I can do a separate post on how I fully reset my home – just let me know.
Next, I wrote down all of my open loops and collected them in a physical inbox tray that is now in the corner of my temporary desk upstairs. I dealt with all of the niggly, needs-attention-now-items right away and I now select one open loop from the tray at a time, and only move onto the next one when it’s finished.
Resetting my home and my mind has helped me feel calmer and more in control.
The third and final big change I made was to simplify, well, everything. For example, while I’d normally make a monthly meal plan, finding a moment to sit down with all of my cookbooks and plan out our meals just proved to be impossible. So I make meal plans for the week, and adjust as I go along.
I simplified my work make-up routine, so that it only consists of three items and takes five minutes to do. I started planning my outfits for the days I’m in the office, so I’m not scrambling to check that I’ve washed that blue tee the day of. I unfollowed several hundreds of Instagram accounts that didn’t feel inspiring to me anymore. I’m also going to streamline my Pinterest boards, merging and creating sub-boards so that things aren’t divided so arbitrarily.
There are other things that I’d still like to simplify, and I’ll tackle those as I go along.
So the three big steps I took to re-order my life – saying no, resetting and simplifying – helped me free up time and made me feel less like life was running rings around me. What do you do when too many things are going on at once in your life?
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