Hey love – how often are you feeling overwhelmed these days?
I was having lunch the other day with one of my dearest friends, and she expressed a frustration that I've heard countless times from clients, friends, and my own brain.
This friend is running her own healing business, working a job that sucks her mental and emotional energy, being an awesome mama to an adorable little dude, working on her own healing, and trying to otherwise function and do all the things we're expected to do. Like you know, eat and have a home and get to the yoga studio and spend time with friends and invest time in her marriage and all of that.
And it's understandable that she find herself thinking, How the hell am I supposed to get it all done?
Another friend talked to me last week about how she knows what she needs to do, but she can't seem to find the time – and it feels like the only way she'll be able to find the time is by sacrificing time with her kids or husband.
The recurring theme that I hear over and over again is this: there's not enough time in the day, and something has got to give.
And I'm here to tell you guys: I hear you. And I want to share one of my best tools for stopping the overwhelm and making time for what you love.
See, I believe that most of us spend big chunks of time on things that aren't important and/or don't have a high return on that time investment. This can be in business and in our personal lives – return on investment (ROI) is a useful tool in both arenas. But the things is, most of us aren't all that clear on where exactly our time is spent on a regular basis. Even if you use a calendar or planner, how often do you stick to that completely? And how much time is left unaccounted for. Can you clearly lay out where each half hour went in your day? And how those tasks made you feel?
So here's the deal - you need to know where you're starting at in order to make a change. To start getting control of your schedule, track your time for a week. Be really diligent about this – you can print out a week of the Passion Planner for free and track your time in half hour increments. How much time is spent commuting? Eating? Cooking? Cleaning or doing other household chores? How much time is spent complaining about work? Venting about other frustrations? Watching tv? You get the idea.
Once you've got a week's worth of data, we get to start analyzing. I love any chance to color code, so from here break out some different colored markers or highlighters and create a coding system. First step: mark the items that bring you true joy. Think of this as the life changing magic of tidying up your schedule.
Now grab a different color and mark the items that you really have to do. In my ideal world, we'd all be doing work that lights our souls on fire, but it's not practical or responsible for me to tell all of you to run out and quit jobs you hate. So mark the work, errand and house tasks that truly must be done. Start to question yourself here though - as a reformed perfectionist myself, I've learned that making the bed every day is not truly a must do. Do I like when it happens? Yes. Is it okay for me to let it be when my husband makes it in a way that's not nearly up to my standards? Also yes. We're marking the truly MUST happens here.
Now look at the rest of your schedule. What's taking up space in there that doesn't have to happen and doesn't bring you joy? Can you get rid of that? What would be a better use of that time? Are there any blank spaces you can fill in with joy-filled or productive activities? Are there 10 minutes a day when you can squeeze in some meditation? (You guys know I had to throw that in there.)
Hold on to your schedule as a reminder of where your time blocks are – you can even print out a new weekly spread and mark out your open blocks. Keep that somewhere you'll see it daily, and start using that newfound time to do more of what you love. Enjoy guilt free time with your family, friends or just yourself (more on that in an upcoming post). Meditate. Treat yourself to a massage. Grab a Redbox and do a home movie night with your partner or bestie. You have so many options – choose your own adventure! And whatever you do, make sure it bring you joy.
Want more details on how I apply this tool on the regular, and how I teach it to my clients? Join my private FB group and tune in to my next masterclass – it's happening Thursday, July 27 at 6 pm eastern.
In the group I hold two live masterclasses a month where I share my best tools to live your happiest life. And it's free. Join us!