The school year is in full swing. Mom life is in full swing. Blog life is in full swing, and I am trying to squeeze in a social life in the midst of everything.
This summer, I finally got my mom cave/man cave just how I wanted it, and I thought maybe I would finally blog on decluttering. I thought about explaining perfect spaces do not come overnight, how your home only comes together in small pieces over time. Then life happened, and I decided that I needed to focus on putting a permanent end to overwhelmed.
So instead of decluttering my home, I will be decluttering my schedule that I have somehow managed to fill to the brim. I leave white space, but then I fill it so there is never room for rest. As I read my devotion this morning, this statement stood out to me.
“One of the problems we face is that we work hard and then wait for the world to grant us the space to rest. But it never comes. I can promise you something: You are not going to magically find a time where your life slows down. Therefore, you need to deliberately practice rest now.” (Source)
So I decided today, that my schedule needs another revamp…because I refuse to live in perpetual overwhelmed…because I refuse to deliberately stress myself out…because I refuse to stay angry at God. If you are on that same journey – decluttering your schedule, decluttering your life, and overcoming overwhelmed – here is the plan.
1. Dump it all out
Write it all down. Get everything out of your mind. Brain dumping is so necessary to get out all those plans that plague you. You need to acknowledge them. You cannot create a new plan without a starting point. No task is too big or too small. Decluttering starts with acknowleding how large a mountain you plan to move one stone at a time.
I work for a company that speaks of “must do’s,” “could do’s” and “extensions.” A must do, in this case, is something you cannot eliminate without disrupting the structure of your the life you want to live. I “must do” laundry, although in my case not every day. Laundry is a “must do” on some days and “could do” on others. For my sister, laundry is a permanent “could do.” She “could do” it, but she hires someone to do it for her. Thus, “must do’s” are fluid. They are personal, and they happen on a case by case basis.
“Could do’s” are the items you would like to do but you may or may not make time for them today. I would like to clean bath tubs and toilets, but it may have to wait until it is a “must do” tomorrow. I would like to set up my bills to pay at some point today, but they stay in the “could do” column until I put them on the “must do” day. Just recognize “could do’s” are just that. Sometimes your overwhelm comes from all the “could do’s” you feel like you should have been able to get done. If it is not going to change the your TODAY, you are fine. Tomorrow can worry about itself.
“Extensions” are the tricky part. Sometimes you see extensions as long term goal. Re-tiling the bathroom shower tiles is an example of an extension item on my list. Yet, extensions can also be items you need to ELIMINATE! Some activities (and people) need a hard no. For your sake and the sake of your sanity…in order for you to overcome overwhelmed. I have had to say good-bye to Facebook groups, so long to some social media promotion that grows my blog, and farewell to talking about work at home. Do not confuse your extensions for your eliminations.
3. Less social media, more real life.
Decluttering your schedule requires a restructuring of your priorities. You have dumped and eliminated, but social media needed is its own beast. Your real friends who have moved away (or maybe you moved away) are on there. Your family is on there. And you want to be connected. There is no problem with that. Yet, you can let virtual connections replace the ones that are in our face every day. Ruthie (ruthiegray.mom) talks about taking time out daily to put the phone down. After work, I try to take at least one uninterrupted hour to place the phone in a specified area so I can focus on my reality. Social media will be there when I get back…when you get back.
4. Guard your thoughts.
Decluttering your schedule begins and ends in the mind. Your thoughts guide your actions. You can never rest and overcome overwhelmed when you are berating yourself for all of the things you are not doing…when you are berating yourself for being who you are. Speak life into yourself. Speak kindly to yourself. Pat yourself on the back when you meet your daily “must do’s.” Protect your peace. You cannot rest until your mind rests. When that old “go, go, go” mentality creeps in, replace it with a “slow, slow, slow” down mentality. Life is not meant to be rushed. It is meant to be lived.
5. Take life one day at a time.
I always thought I did this until I looked at my true thoughts. I remember getting through a large list of things, and instead of congratulating myself on a job well done, I would think, “what if I cannot do it again tomorrow?” I can stay an hour after school each day to tie up loose ends, but what about when track season starts? I can write every day right now, but what about later? The laundry is done now, but what else can I squeeze in now to make tomorrow less intimidating? What am I going to do when soccer season starts, and basketball season, and dance season?…
What does that have to do with today? What does tomorrow have to do with right now? Half of my overwhelm is coming from anticipation of tomorrow’s struggle when the maximum I can control is this moment. (And I use the word control loosely.)
All you have is right now, today, this moment. Decluttering your schedule includes recognizing that planning for tomorrow and controlling tomorrow are NOT one and the same. Overcoming overwhelmed comes when you accept that that the “daily bread” you received in prayer is good for today only (Matthew 6:11). You will need more when you go to God in prayer tomorrow.
I do not have all the answers. I am figuring this thing out like everyone else, but I am determined to declutter my schedule. I am quite aware that overcoming overwhelmed will not happen overnight but in small decisions made daily. It will require effort and overhauls in the way I currently think. I am going to get it wrong sometimes, and I am going to need grace upon grace upon grace. Yet, I refuse to live overwhelmed.
I will submit my lists, my “must do’s,” my “could do’s,” my worries, and my thoughts to One who has overcome all of it so that He can give me my daily bread. And I will relish the peace that the daily bread He provides is enough. He will take care of the rest.
“Give is this day our daily bread.”
How do you declutter your schedule? How do you keep from becoming overwhelmed?
Join me in my journey to declutter.
If you liked this piece, please feel free to share with your friends and family. Also, check out my other pieces on overcoming overwhelmed.
- How Working Moms Achieve Work-Life Balance
- Why I Stopped Talking about Work at Home
- Making Time for God as a Busy Mom
- Trusting the Process – Fake it Til You Make It