: My Unconventional Advice To Fit It All In

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Dear Melissa,

I know you don’t “do it all” but… HOW vị YOU vày IT ALL?

How bởi vì you manage being a wife & a mom and homeschooling six kids (six?? I have TWO and I have no time!) & doing everything else, like having friends, or getting work done, or doing stuff just for you?

How vì you find time for everything that matters?

How do You vày It All???

I want lớn ask you a question, my friend. Stick with me here.


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Do you remember the fairy tales where an Evil Witch would phối for our hero an Impossible Task? If you can bởi this Impossible Thing, she would say, you may marry the princess, or you may pass through the forest, or you may live. Did you ever read those?

No?

Okay, let’s go Technicolor: remember in The Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy wants lớn go trang chủ to Kansas? Remember what the Wizard tells her? He gives her her own Impossible Task. She just has to bring back the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West or die trying, that’s all! No biggie.

Dear friend, vày you see what we’ve done? We’ve become the Wizard of our own lives—and the Dorothy. We’ve given ourselves an impossible task. That’s why we can’t bởi it all.

We’re convinced that everyone else is doing it, though, so we keep looking for the magic bullet that will let us get things done. But there is no magic bullet, because it would take ACTUAL MAGIC to do it all.

I don’t have magic.

I don’t think we need magic lớn live our lives well. That wouldn’t make sense. We must be able to lớn be the people we’re meant khổng lồ be without using a time-turner or exploiting a glitch in the matrix.

But the world does kind of conspire against us on this one. There are always, always going to be more good things—maybe even more necessary things—to vày than there are minutes in a day.

At no point will a Time Fairy appear, wave a wand, & create xuất hiện afternoons for you to bởi all the things that matter. We have to be our own Time Fairies. (So I guess we are kind of magic, in this analogy.)

I don’t have all the answers, & I absolutely don’t bởi vì it all. But even if you don’t vị it all, you still have to bởi SOME things. So how bởi you get lớn all the things you vì chưng want khổng lồ do? Let’s talk about that.

Make an Enough List


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I used lớn fall into bed every night super aware of every single thing I had left undone. I would lie awake thinking, There’s never enough time! There’s never, ever enough time. When I finally started listening to myself, I realized I had to lớn find another way of doing things.

Now, my first, best plan for taking care of my most important things is always my Enough List. (Some people hotline this priority management instead of time management.)

Instead of making a to-do danh mục of EVERYTHING, I make a danh mục of just the three things that will be enough for today. Those get my attention first. Everything else can happen around the edges of those three things. I’m okay with not getting to lớn everything—because if I don’t, I’ll still know I gave my attention to lớn what mattered most khổng lồ me, & that has to be enough for today.

Do Everything Less

Some of my girlfriends used to meet up for a beach day once a week with all their kids. They would invite me every week, and every week I would think, Maybe this week I can make it work! Nope, maybe NEXT week! Okay, maybe the week after…

Spoiler alert: it never worked the week after, either. It just didn’t fit alongside everything else in my week.

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For awhile, I felt like a terrible friend, because the story in my head is that I have to vì chưng all the things that matter, all the time. Being a friend matters, so I thought I should be available all the time. If there were six of me, I could probably make that work! But alas, I have only one self & no clones.

This one took me awhile to lớn wrap my head around, but I promise it is true: You can do everything a little bit less, & it still counts.

Can I spend a day at the beach with my friends once a week? Nope, not going to happen. I can’t bởi vì it. What I can do is meet up for coffee once a month or so, and text and thư điện tử in between. But guess what? We’re still friends. I don’t have lớn be a friend in person all day, every day. Small và imperfect still counts.

Match Your Activity to Your Energy


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When my older kids were small, I would bởi vì creative work after I put them to lớn bed. But they got older và so did I, và their bedtimes got later, và now if I try khổng lồ write after they’re in bed, I just kết thúc up staring at the screen, typing and deleting the same words over và over again.

Some things (diaper changes, toddler meltdowns, deadlines) you can’t schedule. But for everything else that matters lớn me, I get lớn choose how và when khổng lồ make those things happen—and choosing the right time makes a huge difference in what gets done.

Instead of managing my time, I try khổng lồ plan around my energy. I focus on creative work, for example, at times of day when my brain is actually turned on. If I plan lớn write when I write best, I get more done, faster.

It’s not perfect, but matching my activities to my energy cấp độ is the closest I’ve come to scheduling magic.

Ditch the Guilt

Making time for everything that matters—even coming close to lớn making time for everything that matters—means saying no to lớn pretty much everything else.

That means you’re going khổng lồ say no to good things, và saying no means you’re going to disappoint people.

I wish this wasn’t true, because I hate khổng lồ disappoint people. (I may have a teeny little tendency toward people-pleasing.) But it’s part of the deal, as far as I can tell.

Right this moment, I’m disappointing my kids by saying no to lớn taking them out for ice cream. Actually, at most hours of the day I am disappointing at least one of my kids by not taking them out for ice cream. It’s an ongoing sort of request.

Disappointing people feels awful. Và yet… you can trust other people lớn handle their own feelings. You’re going khổng lồ disappoint people, but you are also going to lớn be true to lớn who you were made khổng lồ be. I don’t know about you, but that is a trade-off I am okay with.

And Then: Kindness

You’re never going lớn arrive at the place where everything is perfect, you have exactly enough stuff for minutes in the day, và now you can stay there forever amen. (Or at least, I have never reached that state of perpetual-time-for-everything-that-matters nirvana.) It’s an ongoing negotiation of priorities and people and needs and desires & sleep. Or desire FOR sleep. Or both.

So pay attention to lớn your priorities. Pay attention lớn your energy. Pay attention lớn your expectations. Pay attention to your feelings. But give yourself grace for all the ways that reality refuses to cooperate with your best intentions, too.

Because the other option—the Find Extra Hours In Your Day option—does not exist. That task is impossible, & you don’t need any more impossible tasks. Tell the wizard to come out from behind the curtain & retire already.